Another proof of the fact that the pro-Russian lobbyism in Europe is generously funded by the Kremlin emerged the other day thanks to the U.S.-based BuzzFeed News, which published an explosive recording of secret talks between deputies of the right-wing Lega Nord Party, headed by Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, and Russian officials.
The recording of the conversation, which took place in Moscow's Metropol hotel in October 2018, contains information on Moscow financing the Italian party through a scheme involving oil deals with the Italian company Eni. It was about using money from discounts worth dozens of millions.
Actually, this kind of exposure can bring very serious consequences, because not only is such funding a violation of Italian electoral legislation, it also creates the first, clear and obvious precedent for non-confidence in the government, which came to power in collusion with Russia. But, let's look at this situation a bit closer.
The thing is that BuzzFeed is an online outlet that has long been affiliated to Russian intelligence and, if you remember, it is this medium which released that fake gem claiming that Donald Trump called Crimea "Russian" territory. Besides, that fake story was spun right when the "Crimea is Russian" narrative was vital for distribution in the media space.
But, in this case, BuzzFeed didn't make up fake news. Instead, it provided a recording of the real conversation. But, the question arises, where the American edition could get that tape. Moreover, it's the tape from the Metropol hotel, which has long been monitored first by the KGB, and now...
And here's where the puzzle becomes clear!
Through the leak dumpster BuzzFeed, the tape was exposed by the only agency that could possibly make that recording at the Metropol Hotel, the FSB! Moreover, this leak directly affects the GRU military intel, who are in charge, including of Russia's external political contacts.
As we know, GRU operatives achieved good results in promoting populist and radical views in Europe. Right-wing and left-wing parties and other populists rose very well on the tide of the issue of refugees to Europe, provoked, incidentally, by the full-scale Russian military intervention in Syria, as well as a series of terrorist attacks in the EU committed by the so-called "ISIS." Although I've already written who has been financing those ISIS terrorists and where they got their weapons from. And don't you forget about the "Yellow Vests" thing in France, which has traces of the Russian security forces' efforts. At those protests, Russian mercenaries from Donbas and pro-Russian talking head were spotted at those protests, too.
Taking into account the fact that international contacts with Russia's puppets are not the prerogative of the FSB, it is obvious that in this attack on the GRU, the important role was played by the SVR, which has long paired with the FSB to crush on the GRU.
The tandem of the SVR and FSB has long and systematically been delivering blows on the GRU to cut off the military from international operations as much as possible and as a result, to have government financial flows allocated for their own needs. And this latest setup is very favorable both for the FSB and the SVR, because the two agencies provoked another international failure of the GRU, no less in scale than the fiasco of the Skripal poisoners in Salisbury.
By the way, even this seemingly “funny” story with Petrov and Bashirov, in fact, was a response by the FSB and the SVR for the arrest of their operatives at the end of 2016. Back then, at the request of the GRU, the head of the 2nd Department of the FSB Center for Information Security, Colonel Mikhailov, and his staff were arrested. The operatives had supervised the Shaltay Boltay hacker group who penetrated Vladislav Surkov's email and also leaked to the internet the list of GRU agents working abroad .
By the way, in this context, it is worth recalling that just a week before the BuzzFeed report was released, a group of FSB officers were arrested for robberies, in particular for a raid on the Metallurg Bank, from which RUB 140 million was snatched. Here is another interesting point: the bank belongs to the former GRU operative, Yuriy Karasev.
So the Kremlin towers are swinging harder with each time.