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Russian fund spends €100,000s on propaganda to affect legal cases in EU, leaked docs show

Russia’s Pravfond channels funds worldwide for legal aid and propaganda, influencing court cases and media, leaked docs show. It notably financed the defense of assassin Vadim Krassikov in Berlin and supports propaganda outlets like Euromore, Der Standard reports.
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Office of the Foundation for Support and Protection of the Rights of Compatriots Living Abroad in central Moscow. Photo:
Russian fund spends €100,000s on propaganda to affect legal cases in EU, leaked docs show

Russia distributes hundreds of thousands of euros worldwide for legal aid and propaganda operations, impacting international legal proceedings and shaping media coverage, Der Standard says. Leaked docs show Russia funded a Berlin assassin’s lawyer, using the obscure Pravfond foundation most active in Germany and Austria.

Leaked documents obtained by Danish broadcaster DR and reportedly reviewed by media outlets like Der Spiegel, ZDF, Der Standard, Le Monde, and The Guardian reveal how Russia has utilized an obscure foundation called “Pravfond” to distribute hundreds of thousands of euros worldwide for legal aid and crude propaganda as part of influence operations.

Russia’s “Foundation for Support and Protection of the Rights of Compatriots Living Abroad,” commonly known as “Pravfond”, was established in 2012 by a Russian presidential decree. It operates 34 legal aid centers in 22 countries, including one in Austria opened in January 2023.

Pravfond has faced sanctions from the EU for pursuing “foreign policy goals of the Russian government” and spreading Kremlin propaganda. Several members of its leadership have ties to Russian intelligence services, Der Standard wrote.

Notably, the leaked files reveal that Pravfond funded the defense of Vadim Krassikov, the convicted assassin in the 2019 murder of Georgian asylum seeker Zelimkhan Khangoshvili in Berlin’s Tiergarten. Despite denying any links to Russian authorities, documents show Pravfond paid Krassikov’s prominent lawyer Robert Unger substantial fees, potentially over €300,000, according to the report.

The documents also indicate Pravfond’s role in financing alternative propaganda outlets like Euromore after the ban of Russia’s Sputnik and RT in the EU. In Austria, Pravfond’s legal aid center operated by an anti-Ukrainian activist calls for recognizing Crimea as Russian territory, according to Der Standard.

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