Pro-Putin NGO Pushed Green New Deal, Protested Keystone XL Pipeline
March 9, 2022, March 9, 2022
Pro-Putin NGO Pushed Green New Deal, Protested Keystone XL Pipeline
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with the head of Russia's Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, a big business lobby group, at the Kremlin in Moscow on March 2. (Mikail Klimentyev/Getty Images)
By John Rossomando | Wednesday, 09 March 2022 06:53 AM
President Joe Biden's continued dismissal of domestic energy sources during his first year in office likely played right into the hands of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has allegedly been providing covert active support to "green energy" activist groups around the globe for years in a bid to keep the U.S. — and, more importantly, Europe — addicted to Russian gas.
Former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen warned in 2014 that Putin was funding certain "green" groups through far-left organizations as part of the Kremlin's "sophisticated information and disinformation operations."
These Russian subversives targeted hydraulic fracturing — fracking — which is used to extract oil and gas from otherwise difficult deposits. Putin condemned fracking in 2011, saying it was "associated with significant environmental risks, in particular the hazard of surface and underground water contamination with chemicals applied in the production process."
The Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung (RLS), based in Berlin, has advanced Putin's agenda on both sides of the Atlantic. It opposes fracking in the U.S. and in Europe and has endorsed the "Green New Deal." It also backed climate action and supported ending the Keystone XL pipeline.
But many RLS leaders previously worked for the dreaded East German secret police, the Stasi, or were leaders of the Cold War-era East German Communist Party. Stasi informants played a key role in promoting the climate of fear that kept East German society under control.
East Germany's former ruling Communist Party, now known as Die Linke (The Left), created RLS in 1990 on the eve of German reunification. RLS's global head, Dagmar Enkelmann, belonged to the East German Parliament and was a member of the ruling Socialist Unity Party, as Die Linke was known before the Berlin Wall fell. Die Linke has been historically enthusiastically pro-Putin, and RLS remains its policy organization.
It's funded by the German government and has ties to numerous far-left groups around the globe, including in the U.S., such as the Democratic Socialists of America and the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
Gregor Gysi, who helped open the RLS's New York office in 2012, has reputed Stasi ties.
Gysi allegedly informed on his legal clients to the Stasi and a bloc in the German Bundestag expelled him in 1992 for seeming to defend the Stasi. He sought to keep remaining Stasi archives under lock and key following reunification because it would have "extremely unpleasant results not only for [Die Linke] but for the Communist Party of the Soviet Union as well."
Gysi visited the New York office most recently last June. He headed the SED (East German Communist Party) when it rebranded itself as the "Party of Democratic Socialism" in December 1989.
Kerstin Kaiser, RLS's representative in Moscow, worked for the Stasi and wrote reports for the KGB in the 1970s. Kaiser also has been a participant in the German-Russian Petersburger Dialog that former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder established with Putin in 2001.
The Petersburger Dialog is a powerful influence on German acquiescence to Russian interests; Schroeder is close to Putin and recently was nominated to the board of directors of Russia's state gas company, Gazprom. Viktor Zubkov, chairman of the Russian coordinating committee of the Petersburger Dialog, serves as chairman of Gazprom. Zubkov is regarded as a central player in Putin's oligarchy, dating to the early 1990s when the two worked together in St. Petersburg.
Kaiser isn't the only RLS participant in this Petersburger Dialog. She is joined by Andre Brie, another RLS leader and former Stasi employee. Brie's brother, Michael, also belongs to RLS and worked for the Stasi. East Germany's last Premier Hans Modrow is an RLS member, and the RLS manages his foundation, The Hans Modrow Stiftung.
Modrow had close KGB ties, including to KGB Chairman Vladimir Kryuchkov, who ran the Soviet spy agency during his tenure as Dresden Communist Party boss. Modrow supervised the dismantling of the Stasi together with Werner Grossmann, the now late former head of East Germany's external spy agency the HvA. He received the Order of Friendship from Putin in 2017 and remains embittered toward former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev for allowing the collapse of the East German regime.
As a young KGB major, Putin supervised a local Stasi office in Dresden, while Modrow was the local party boss. Putin crony and ex-Stasi agent Matthias Warnig, who currently runs the company behind the Nordstream 2 pipeline, represented Modrow's government during reunification negotiations with West Germany. Like Putin, Warnig served with the Stasi in Dresden while Modrow was the party boss. Warnig also is a past participant in the Petersburger Dialog.
Warnig also was an adviser to Christa Luft, a former Stasi informant and the last East German communist Economic Affairs minister, after the Berlin Wall fell and before the communists lost power. Luft is a current RLS member.
After the dissolution of the Stasi in 1990, sources say that many of its agents and assets joined the KGB, which today is divided between the Russian Federal Security Bureau (FSB) and Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR).
Rep. Randy Weber, R-Texas, who cosigned a 2017 letter warning of Russian support for anti-fracking efforts, told Newsmax that RLS's Stasi and Russia ties were a "smoking gun" for Russia's effort to influence the green movement. A 2018 report by the House Science Committee found that U.S. fracking posed a serious threat to the Kremlin's energy agenda and that it was pulling out all of the stops to disrupt U.S. energy markets.
But he said RLS represents only one aspect of Putin's propaganda campaign.
Weber and former Science Committee Chair Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, wrote of similar Russian-backed propagandistic activities on climate and the environment in a 2017 letter to then-Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
"Recent news reports reference a 'U.S. intelligence community's [Office of the Director of National Intelligence] report on Russian activities in the presidential election' that contains 'clear evidence that the Kremlin is financing and choreographing anti-fracking propaganda in the United States,'" the letter stated.
Even former Secretary of State and Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton acknowledged that Russia propped up "phony environmental groups" to oppose fracking.
These environmental groups worked to the benefit of Russia and its state gas company Gazprom and were actively working to sway popular and governmental opinion, the congressmen said in their letter.
Democrats dismissed the concerns at the time, but Weber defended them to Newsmax.
"Those documents that were cited came from 'social media' companies; they weren't made up," Weber said. "This was, and is, the clandestine form of cyberwarfare, because the Russians are using social media."
Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram reportedly were able to tie accounts promoting anti-fracking messages to a Russian company in St. Petersburg. Weber noted the Russian government created the company for the "sole purpose of deceptively using various social and traditional media platforms to advance their propaganda."
The Russians managed to make 9,097 posts against fracking across multiple social media platforms in 2017 alone, with the aim of influencing the voters and elected officials, Weber said.
But the Berlin-based RLS group takes this online Russian propaganda campaign to the next level and into the real world. Weber said he was surprised by RLS's penetration of the U.S. political system.
RLS representatives from its New York office organized a delegation of pro-Putin European left-wing political parties to go to an April 2018 CPC conference that also was attended by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who posed for a photo with the representative of the Greek pro-Putin party Syriza.
The fact they were able to connect with Pelosi speaks volumes about RLS's reach, Weber said.
RLS's New York office organized a "Mapping Socialist Strategies" seminar in August 2014. The talk discussed "strategies against the Keystone XL pipelines" and Canadian tar sands among other topics." RLS funded a report in 2014 called "Global Shale Gas and the Anti-Fracking Movement. Developing Union Perspectives and Approaches" written by Trade Unions for Energy Democracy. The paper detailed strategies in use against fracking by unions.
Numerous videos produced by or funded by RLS promote the Green New Deal championed by progressives in Congress. Its YouTube channel includes a series in support of the legislation and its London office funded a series of video discussions of the plan that included Labour leader Jeremy Corbin and Noam Chomsky.
It has also become increasingly active in North America.
RLS's New York office joined with a network of far-left organizations — including the ANTIFA-linked Sunrise Movement — in 2019 to promote the Climate Strike in New York City. It held a "Beyond Gas 2019" summit on the other side of the Atlantic in Brussels in May 2019 to discuss ending fossil fuels.
In 2020, RLS joined with the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation to fund a $745,000 project to advance the Green New Deal. The project was run by EDGE Funders Alliance, a "community of 320 donors, foundation officers, trustees and advisors in more than 30 countries" that funds far-left political agitation groups around the globe.
Last year, a Canadian environmentalist group called Vancouver EcoSocialists recommended that its members participate in an organizing seminar sponsored by RLS that featured labor organizer Jane McAlevey.
RLS representatives also co-organized a Labor and Jobs project with the DSA Ecosocialists in April of last year.
"It never really was about protection from climate change," said Irina Tsukerman, a Soviet-born human rights lawyer and commentator on geopolitics. "It's all about power … Putin was stationed in [Dresden] as part of the KGB, and we have seen how they have evolved their methods from climate-related terrorism to using climate change to make money and being in control."
She added: "And Biden is part of it."
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