Leonid Volkov announced the suspension of public activities
Oppositionist and chairman of the board of the International Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBC) Leonid Volkov announced that he was suspending public social and political activity.
Before that, Volkov admitted that last October he signed a collective letter addressed to the head of the European Foreign Affairs Ministry, Josep Borrell, to lift sanctions against the management of “Alfa Group” – Mikhail Fridman, Peter Aven, Herman Khan and Alexei Kuzmychev.
The text of the letter was published by the former editor-in-chief of Ekha Moskvy, Aleksey Venediktov. The document, in particular, states that the shareholders and managers of “Alfa Group” have always emphasized their political impartiality, and the corporation itself was built without the participation of the state.
Volkov calls Fridman a man who is known for his liberal position and a friend of the murdered opposition politician Boris Nemtsov. In addition, it is mentioned that Friedman and his partners sent ten million dollars to support aid to Ukrainian refugees. Part of the funds, according to Volkov, went to provide humanitarian aid in Buche, Gostomel and other regions of Ukraine that suffered from the invasion of the Russian army.
“This letter was a big political mistake. Worse, by doing it, I exceeded my authority – I signed it not in my personal capacity, but on behalf of the organization. I did not notify my colleagues, and therefore I framed them,” he wrote Volkov in a telegram.
“I had the feeling that the situation at that moment (against Putin’s defeated army and discord in the Russian elites) was critical, and that it was possible, having created a precedent, to start a chain reaction of publicly condemned wars and a split in the Russian elites. I was wrong.” clarified the oppositionist.
Volkov apologized to his FBK colleagues and noted that he would soon discuss further cooperation with them.
The day before, Venediktov published another copy of a collective letter addressed to the European Commission with a request to lift sanctions against the top managers of Alfa Group. It is dated February. Under the letter, among others, are the signatures of Volkov, as well as the management of the TV channel “Dozhd” Natalya Sindeeva and Vera Krychevskaya, oppositionists Alfred Koch and Leonid Gozman, journalists Sergey Parkhomenko and Leonid Parfyonov, businessman Evgeny Chichvarkin, economist Vladyslav Inozemtsev.
Volkov wrote on Twitter, that his signature is “photoshopped”. Venediktov noted that the oppositionist still signed the February letter, but did so remotely.
A few days before the publication of letters with a request to lift restrictions on Russian businessmen, Navalny’s associates released an investigation in which they talked about embezzlement from the budget of the Moscow program “My District”. Aleksey Venediktov was mentioned in the investigation among pro-Kremlin activists and bloggers.
Investigators pointed to Venediktov’s laudatory posts about Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, similar to the texts of propagandists, as well as his comments about electronic voting in the mayoral elections in the fall of 2021. The editor-in-chief of “Ekha” then headed the public election monitoring staff. He recognized the results of electronic voting, although independent observers reported numerous violations.
According to Navalny’s associates, Venediktov through his personal firm received at least 680.5 million rubles for the publication of the supplement to the magazine “Dilettant” – “My District”. This money, allegedly directed to the creation of the magazine, ended up being cashed out at ATMs, according to the investigation.
Venediktov admitted that his company “Obrazovanie — XXI vek” actually received money from the mayor’s office, but the project turned out to be unprofitable for him personally. In addition, the contract was terminated after the Ministry of Justice of Russia declared the journalist a “foreign agent.”