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Anatoly Shariy, who recently starred on a Catalan separatist TV channel, voicing false accusations against Ukraine, has further confirmed his affiliation with the Russian intelligence.
Russia has long been implementing a large-scale campaign to have their assets penetrate the Western media space — tailoring these assets’ emigration, bribing local actors (experts, news agencies, and outlets), as well as financing and investing in return for favors, which can also be attributed to actual bribery.
As a result, today, practically in any country within the European Union a pool of Russian assets have been formed, including experts, information resources, public figures, movements, and sometimes the entire political parties defending Russian interests and being directly involved in circulating Moscow’s propaganda that harms both the EU member states and their partners. And this is exactly the plot of Russia’s destructive efforts — to compromise and disorganize.
ATthe other day, one of such Russian assets came into a spotlight as a symbiosis of a corrupt pseudo-expert and a TV channel that is just as corrupt. This is about a pro-Russian blogger Anatoly Shariy who has for years been directly handled by Russian special services, and a Catalan TV channel TV-3, the mouthpiece of local separatists.
Shariy, who is currently living in Spain in a posh villa estimated at EUR 1 million, was invited to tell the Catalan audience about the “rampant neo-Nazism” blooming in Ukraine. At first glance, why would a niche audience of viewers living thousands miles from Ukraine even be interested in anything about Ukraine? Why tell them these boogeyman stories thickly powdered with lies and manipulation, like anything Anatoly Shariy “reports”?
In fact, the use of the “foreign media” element plays an important role in Russian psyops as part of brainwashing. While local consumers of information might doubt what their domestic media tell him, they harbor more trust, at the subconscious level, in foreign sources.
To this end, Russia has for years been forming across Europe the mentioned pool of experts, journalists, and media who would endorse Russian propaganda from their respective platforms. At the same time, Russian media may refer to the reports by these foreign actors to try to prove own point.
What we’re having here is a multi-level circulation of certain narratives: “We informed you first, and now Spanish, German, French, or any other foreign media confirm what we’ve told you.”
In turn, the propaganda narrative claiming “neo-Nazism” in Ukraine has long been part of a Russian hybrid warfare toolkit, aimed to compromise Ukraine in the international arena. However, the problem for the Russian special services is that the neo-Nazi elements actually present in Ukraine are scarce, outlawed and quantitatively comparable to the same groups present in any other European country. In turn, today it is Russia that is the cradle of modern neo-Nazism, where its adepts enjoy government patronage.
For example, it is no longer a secret that hundreds of neo-Nazis from all over the world have undergone combat training at the Partizan center, located just outside St. Petersburg. The facility was run by the Russian Imperial Movement (RID). It provided its members with everything required to study the tactics of urban warfare. Many of the “trainees” later emerge in various hot spots around the globe, including as part of the Wagner Private Military Company.
Incidentally, founder and leader of a U.S. paramilitary neo-Nazi group The Base, Rinaldo Nazarro, who fled to Russia hiding from the FBI over his homegrown terrorist activity, now resides in a luxurious apartment in St. Petersburg facing no charges from local law enforcement.
Moreover, a prominent Russian politician Dmitry Rogozin, who has roots in the neo-Nazi groups, is now their patron and curator.
This might seem too off-topic, but it only demonstrates the extent of the spread of neo-Nazism in Russia and its handling by the Moscow government. Now let’s get back to a sudden collaboration between Mr Shariy and the Catalan TV-3…
Shariy’s appearance came amid the ban Ukraine imposed on Putin ally Viktor Medvedchuk’s NewsOne, ZiK, and 112 TV channels, all of which had been spinning Russian propaganda and whose favorite guest was precisely Anatoly Shariy. Since these platforms have lost the lion’s share of their influence, Russian puppet Shariy was deployed to spread his word on the Catalan separatist platform, which is also in the focus of Russian intelligence.
TV3 is the main TV channel of the local public broadcaster Televisió de Catalunya. It is funded by the regional autonomous government, Generalitat de Catalunya. The outlet operating at the expense of taxpayers’ money has surfaced in multiple international scandals.
The channel was accused of being inconsistent with the principles of impartiality, pluralism, and neutrality. The Spanish government criticized the channel for being a political tool for the Catalan nationalist sector and for failing to reflect all differing opinions on the issue of national identity in Catalonia.
The channel openly supports separatism in Spain, regularly providing airtime to the movement’s leaders, including Oriol Junqueras, a Catalan historian, academician, and politician who openly called for the region’s secession. Speaking on the air, he would incite people to riots and criticize the Spanish judiciary system.
TV3 is regularly quoted by Russian and pro-Russian propaganda outlets such as Zvezda.ru, inosmi.ru , and the one in Ukraine — Strana.ua. Also, Russians often use the Spanish channel as a primary source for further releasing own material. In most cases, it is twisting and manipulation that the said TV channel preaches, and this, in turn, is exactly what Russian platforms need.
In fact, the channel is one of the main platforms for pro-Russian politicians in Europe. Both Catalan politicians and public figures used the platform to openly call for the recognition of the Ukrainian Crimea as part of Russia.
During turbulence in Catalonia, Russian media actively span the channel’s reports in own information space to back their narrative of “active separatism” in Europe and draw parallel lines with the situation in Crimea.
As for Catalonia’s attempt in 2017 to obtain independence, it is worth recalling that the Russian media were actively helping their Catalan comrades. A massive team of Russian journalists were deployed in the region, and a special brigade was working across social media to spread the “right” messages about the separatist unrest. In general, all these resources aimed at supporting Catalonia’s intentions to withdraw from Spain constituted the main combat potential of Russia’s GRU military intelligence in the media domain.
Russian military intelligence supported the “revolution” in Catalonia, pretty much copying own moves during the onset of the occupation in Crimea and parts of Donbas, with elements of a foiled coup in Montenegro.
The Spanish National Court, as well as the General Information Commission of the Spanish National Police, are confident that Unit 29155 of Russian military intelligence provided support to separatists in destabilizing Catalonia. The said unit has also come into international focus over their efforts to destabilize Moldova, the poisoning of Bulgarian arms dealer Emilian Gebrev, the coup attempt in Montenegro, and the Novichok nerve agent attack on the Skripals in Salisbury.
It is also known that one of the GRU operatives, Denis Sergeev, who works under the alias “Sergei Fedotov” and who is also the third participant in the Skripal poisoning, regularly visited Barcelona, including September 29, 2017, two days prior to the “referendum”, which points to a coordinated effort.
In particular, it is known that the Russian side offered the Catalan separatists, in addition to financial and information support, some armed assistance, which they prudently rejected.
As riots were unfolding in Catalonia, Russian journos came in who had long been performing assignments in the interests of the GRU. For example, a special correspondent with the KP outlet, Daria Aslamova, who disseminated Crimea and Donbas narratives in the Catalan wrapper: “We want to be heard!” — an analogue of the Russian propaganda cliché “Hear out Donbas!”
It should be recalled that Daria Aslamova has been blacklisted by Ukraine, Turkey and a number of other governments as a foreign spy, an exposed agent of the Russian military intelligence. In 2017, holding a Croatian passport, she was flying to Chisinau via Bucharest. But she could never made it out of the airport upon arrival as she failed to confirm the purpose of her visit. At the same time, Aslamova was addressing immigration officials in Croatian, claiming that she had forgotten Russian!
Daria Aslamova’s husband, Croatian journalist Robert Valdeca, is also a Russian asset in Croatia, who is also engaged in acts of provocation within propaganda projects throughout Europe. For example, it was he who was provoking clashes on religious grounds in Paris, putting up posters in support of Kremlin-funded National Front, led by Marine Le Pen, in the city’s Muslim quarters. It is he who regularly appears on Croatian television slamming criticism on EU migration policies. Also, he took direct part in the attempts to shelter a fugitive Croatian general Ante Roso in the south of France.
That is, it wasn’t a journalist who was deployed to cover Catalan riots for the Russian media but — let’s say as it is — an exposed spy from the GRU’s elite pool.
Now, while everything is pretty much clear with separatism in Catalonia, vehemently backed by Russian military intelligence, whose invariable goal since Soviet times has been to destabilize the West, then what about Anatoly Shariy?
In 2020, open source data revealed that Anatoly Shariy was being funded by Russia. As of that time, he owned real estate in Spain, Luxembourg, France, and other EU countries, worth a total of EUR 18 million.
In this context, it’s rather strange how come EU tax authorities European Union have not asked the guy where all those assets came from, exactly.
Moreover, all real estate Shariy acquired was paid for via a New Zealand-based offshore firm, which he, too, owns. It is worth noting that transactions of this kind always balance on the verge of legality. Unbelievably, though, Russian assets all over the globe has been widely using this very scheme for more than a dozen years already, to legalize, or, more precisely, launder the money to cover clandestine expenses.
That is, not only does Anatoly Shariy pursue systemic work in media space promoting the narratives of Russian psyops, he also serves as a laundromat for the Russian intelligence, ultimately ensuring money inflow for special operations targeting the Bloc and implemented on its own soil.
As for the current situation, it isn’t surprising that, as soon as Anatoly Shariy, the undisputed Kremlin asset who has settled in the EU, at the same time contributing to Russian intelligence efforts at multiple levels, spoke on the Catalan separatist TV channel TV-3, which also plays an important role in the information projects tailored by the GRU, was then widely cited by platforms earlier exposed for their ties with the Russian military intel.
Recently, the SBU security agency in Ukraine revealed that a number of Telegram channels had been destabilizing the country, circulating fake news and misinformation, calling for the toppling of the existing constitutional system, and threatening the country’s integrity. These channels are supervised and administered by the Russian GRU. And, again, almost all of these platforms span Shariy’s gig on Catalan TV-3.
By the way, it is worth noting that the ultra-right groups in Catalonia actually oppose separatist sentiments and in 2017 it was the ultra-right Spanish organizations that even raided the TV-3 channel protesting their deceitful and destructive broadcasting.
This is precisely the moment where the radical groups, which Russian military intelligence usually tries to subjugate, went against the Russian-backed project. And it is not surprising that the topic so painful for the Catalan separatists was echoed by a wannabe “expert” Anatoly Shariy.
So let’s take stock. A Kremlin asset, Anatoly Shariy, enjoying his life in the EU while pursuing systematic subversive efforts in media domain, as well as money laundering for Russian intelligence plotting to destabilize the European community, as well as to physically eliminate certain European citizens or persons who have fled from Russian persecution, stars on a Catalan separatist TV channel, spitting accusations against Ukraine.
Of course, Catalonia could imagine itself an independent state within Spain for all it matters, but Spanish laws do apply on its territory so any subversive activity against the country and the EU in general must be suppressed. And in this case, I believe, Anatoly Shariy’s stunt on TV-3 with false accusations TARGETING Ukraine should receive at least see the reaction of Ukrainian diplomacy. The best option though would be Spanish or international law enforcement taking firm action.
After all, Anatoly Shariy who has “found refuge” on Europe’s body is by no means a blogger but a malign tumor of the “Russian world”, whose only aim is to sow chaos and destroy stability.