Pro-Russian sentiments play a key role in today’s reality, Ukraine’s Antikor anticorruption portal has said in its report into the Ukrainian head of a Polish NGO who was recently expelled from the Schengen Area.
Antikor said that the Kremlin manifested its own fears and recruited spies by financing shows such as Sleepers, a “scandalous” Russian television series by director Yuri Bykov about spies from the West inside the Russian Federation’s government organisations.
The plot of Sleepers follows foreign spies who were deployed but remain dormant while they wait to be assigned to a mission, Antikor reported.
The portal reported that a clear example of Russia’s recruitment of its own sleeper agents is Lyudmyla Kozlovska, a Ukrainian national who until recently was the president of the Open Dialogue Foundation, which aims to protect “human rights, democracy, and the rule of law in the post-Soviet area”.
The Open Dialogue Foundation was founded in 2009 and focused its attention on the largest countries in the region, namely Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine, with offices in Warsaw, Kiev and Brussels.
Who is Kozlovska?
Lyudmyla Kozlovska is from the city of Sevastopol on the Crimean peninsula, which was annexed by Russia in 2014, Antikor reported. It was after that event that she became a Russian citizen. A social activist, in 2004 she took part in the Orange Revolution, which followed Ukrainian presidential elections that were allegedly marred by massive corruption, voter intimidation and direct electoral fraud. In the following years, she headed a campaign to withdraw Russia’s Black Sea Fleet from Sevastopol.
Antikor reported that she is married to Bartosz Kramek, a Polish national and political and social activist who chairs Kozlovska’s foundation’s board. He last year published 16 suggestions for fighting the Polish government, which included not paying taxes.
Antikor claimed that Kozlovska was sucked into the Russian Security Service’s recruitment machine as a result of blackmail, humiliation and pressure put on people close to her, particularly her brother, Peter Kozlovsky.
The portal reported that Kozlovsky started doing business in Crimea in the late 1990s and early 2000s, expanding constantly, and “mafia-esquely” took over Mayak, a manufacturer of lighting for Russia’s navy.
The Russian Security Service pressured Kozlovsky, which led to his sister’s recruitment, Antikor said, adding that Mayak was subsequently removed from a blacklist that was drawn up after Russian separatist soldiers arrived in Crimea.
The portal claimed that Moscow has always considered Crimea a site for military operations, which means it needed well-trained personnel to infiltrate the pro-Ukrainian community.
Kozlovska had been prepared to fill that role, with her having claimed credit for a number of pro-Ukrainian achievements to help create her cover, Antikor reported.
For instance, she claimed to have opened Ukraine’s first library in Sevastopol at the age of 13, Antikor said, adding that the library had in fact been set up 1998 by Ukrainian diaspora and that there was, in fact, no evidence of Kozlovska’s connection to the library.
Antikor also reported that Kozlovska claimed to have been part of a radical opposition organisation during the Orange Revolution, but that the organisation’s activists rejected the claim.
After the annexation of Crimea, the dismantling of the Ukrainian state on the peninsula required operatives working in the Ukrainian mainland, which Kozlovska did, according to Antikor, under the Open Dialogue Foundation, which focused on “trendy” issues such as patriotism and the defence of human rights.
Antikor reported that the foundation had three divisions: the Open Europe Group, which supports Ukrainians with visa applications and residence permits; the Silk Road Bureau, a business consultancy; and the foundation itself with its main aims.
Kozlovska’s brother, who is tied to Russia’s armament industry through companies such as Mayak, but who also made money from the sale of real estate, which resulted in residents being evicted, is a major sponsor of the foundation, Antikor reported.
Kozlovska’s brother donated PLN 1.6 million (EUR 370,000; USD 430,000) in the period from 2012 to 2015, which accounts for 70 percent of the foundation’s income, Antikor added.
Antikor reported that Kozlovsky’s business activities in Crimea and Russia stood in direct opposition to the values of the foundation, adding that this was also the case regarding Kazakh politician Mukhtar Ablyazov and Russian businessman Nail Malyutin, both of whom the portal claimed Open Dialogue helped save from extradition to Russia.
The portal also alleged that, before the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea, Kozlovsky was a sponsor of a number of Ukrainian political parties, but that his associates threw their support behind the Russian Party of Pensioners for Social Justice, which in 2017 said it would back Vladimir Putin in presidential elections in Russia in 2018.
Antikor claimed that it has seen a document from the Ukrainian Prosecutor-General’s Office which said an investigation had been launched into Kozlovska on suspicions of treason, cooperating with terrorist organisations and financing terrorism.
The portal added that the Open Dialogue Foundation might become the subject of an inquiry in Poland.
A number of Polish members of parliament alerted authorities to improprieties at the foundation, after alleged links between Open Dialogue and the Russian Security Service were revealed and after the organisation was in 2014 issued a licence for non-lethal weapons trade with Russia, Antikor reported.
The portal added that Kozlovska did not renounce her Russian citizenship and remained a Russian passport holder.