Leonid Slutsky is known not only for accusations of sexual harassment by journalists. He is the main "foreign policy" deputy in the State Duma, responsible for the international direction. Expanding Russian influence in the world, Slutsky behaves almost as strangely as when dealing with journalists. According to the materials of the Dossier Center investigation, Slutsky secretly brought the singer Enrique Iglesias to Russia along with a team disguised as volunteers, and the Russian Peace Foundation, headed by Slutsky, sought funding in the United States.
Financial ties with foreigners are the worst of the troubles for Russian opposition politicians, independent journalists or human rights activists. Worse is only recognition as an extremist through the courts. Legislation on foreign agents is growing, multiplying by new criteria of guilt, and soon few Russian citizens will not fall under the status of a “foreign agent”.
But it seems that there are people and organizations that are reliably protected from such accusations. In order to quietly beg for money from the Americans and not be afraid of the stigma of a "foreign agent", you need to be a pro-government "patriot" and a conductor of the Kremlin "soft power" in the international arena.
The Russian Peace Foundation (RPF) has nowhere more closely connected with the state. He considers himself the assignee of the Soviet Peace Fund. Since the Kremlin got carried away with creating instruments of "soft power" to promote their interests abroad, the fund has become one of such instruments, along with Rossotrudnichestvo, the President's Office for Foreign Policy and other state structures. Since 2002, the chairman of the board of the RFM has been State Duma deputy Leonid Slutsky (who has been heading the Duma committee on international affairs since 2016).
RFMs should be formally funded through donations. There is not a lot of information about donors. One of the possible financial sources was the ex-governor of St. Petersburg Georgy Poltavchenko. According to the Dossier Center, in 2018, when Poltavchenko was still headed by Peter, Slutsky asked him to allocate 10 million rubles to the fund for activities.
Representatives of the fund were also looking for money from the Americans. According to the Dossier Center, in February 2018 (just as the scandal was raging in connection with the accusations of sexual harassment of Deputy Slutsky), people from the RPF met with representatives of the US Republican Party and the leadership of the American non-governmental organization United States Institute of Peace). On the Russian side, the negotiations were conducted by Slutsky's deputies Anatoly Salutsky, in charge of the American direction, and Elena Sutormina.
The Russians and the Americans discussed funding the International Committee for Understanding and Accord between the Russian and Ukrainian Peoples, created with the participation of the Slutsky Foundation. In the report following the meetings with the Americans, it was said that the "Institute for Peace" is ready to support the RPF initiative if it sees steps to improve Russian-Ukrainian relations.
"In particular, the emphasis was placed on whether Russian civil activists will be able to lay flowers at the monument to Taras Shevchenko in Moscow on May 9 this year, which could be used to counter radical groups in Kiev," Anatoly Salutsky and Elena Sutormina wrote following the results trips to the USA (the report is at the disposal of the Dossier Center).
The performance indicator was chosen as a strange one. It is not entirely clear how laying flowers at the Shevchenko monument on the eternally deserted embankment in Moscow could have significantly improved Russian-Ukrainian relations and, moreover, inflicted damage on some "radical groups in Kiev." Nevertheless, flowers were laid at the monument, only not on May 9, but earlier - on March 9, on Shevchenko's birthday. It is not known whether the Russians ultimately received the American grants they were looking for from the RPF.
The fight against "American influence" in the world and, at the same time, the desire for American money is not the only contradiction in the behavior of Russian conductors of "soft power".
As you know, the theme of the Second World War, the fight against "falsification of history", various "vilification of memory" and "denial of the role of the Soviet people" have become one of the main themes of Russian politics - both domestic and foreign. Inside the country, people are fined for a photograph of Hitler's cap from a military museum, and in all seriousness criminal cases are opened on German war crimes almost eighty years ago. In the foreign policy arena, the Kremlin and the Foreign Ministry constantly talk about "the inadmissibility of revising the results of the Second World War," and tirelessly denounce Ukrainian nationalists.
At the same time, representatives of the German ultra-right party "Alternative for Germany" (AfD) are the permanent European partners of the head of the foreign policy committee of the State Duma of the Slutsk and the Russian Peace Fund. According to the Dossier Center, on January 23, 2018, an official letter signed by Slutsky was sent to the head of the consular department of the Russian Embassy in Germany, Konstantin Nefedov. The deputy asked the consul to issue double visas for 90 days for two German citizens, AfD members - Alexander Gauland and Beatrice von Storch. The purpose of the trip was listed as "socio-political". Gauland is one of the co-founders of AfD. He is famous for his statement that the Germans can be proud of the exploits of German soldiers in the First and Second World Wars. Because of these words, a wave of indignation arose in the press - it was the mention of the Second World War that caused a negative reaction. Later, Gauland was forced to clarify his position. He had to say that the Nazi system itself, regardless of the soldier's fortitude at the front, was criminal.
However, an ordinary Russian in his country for the words about "heroism" of a Wehrmacht soldier would immediately become a figurant of an administrative or criminal case - excuses and clarifications would hardly help him. But the scandalous German partners of Slutsky were warmly received in Moscow, although the media chose not to advertise their visit.
AfD members in Moscow are forgiven for statements about the Wehrmacht, because they really want to have this party as a conduit of their influence in Europe. AfD does regularly speak from a pro-Kremlin position. The same Gauland speaks in favor of lifting the sanctions against Russia, and the German press calls him "Putin-Fershteer", that is, the one who calls "to understand Putin." The leader of the party's youth wing, Markus Frohnmeier, visited Crimea, and Russian officials in charge of the foreign policy bloc were involved in developing a strategy for Frohnmeier's victory in the German elections.
According to the Dossier, with the assistance and patronage of the RFM, other European ultra-right politicians of a pro-Kremlin orientation also came to Russia: Kai Gottschalk (from the same AfD), the leader of the French National Front (now the National Association) Marine Le Pen, her a relative of Samuel Marechal; and Pavel Gamow, a Swede of Russian origin, a member of the right-wing Swedish Democrats party. The latter came to Russia at the invitation of the Slutsky Foundation to observe the elections in 2017. In Russia, Gamow disgraced himself: he demanded that the inviting party pay his bills for drinking, pestered a woman of the same party. As a result of the trip, the "Swedish Democrats" expelled Gamow from their ranks.
The Dossier Center, as part of its investigation, identified several dozen European friends of the Kremlin who had visited Russia at the invitation of Slutsky and the RPF. The Dossier Center has at its disposal invitations written on behalf of Slutsk to the names of MEPs, politicians, bankers, businessmen. Most of the documents indicate the standard goals of the visit: "participation in negotiations on the implementation of humanitarian and charitable programs of the Russian Peace Foundation."
According to the Dossier's source at the Foreign Ministry, such invitations can be used to establish communication between European politicians, whom Moscow is interested in, and the Russian special services.
Among the guests of Slutsky there are also characters who are far from big politics and spy games. As it became known to the Dossier Center, in September 2013, the deputy petitioned through Igor Golubovsky, who worked as the Consul General in New York, to issue visas to a group of twenty volunteers. These volunteers allegedly gathered in Russia as part of the Russian Initiative program to help orphans. But, unexpectedly, among the volunteers were singer Enrique Iglesias, his musicians, dancer, as well as the singer's financial director and tour manager.
The Dossier Center was unable to find any mention of Iglesias' concert in September-October 2013 in front of Russian orphans. But he often performs at parties in front of Russian political and financial elites.