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The key department of the federal bodies of the Russian executive power for the development of international relations bears the long name of the Federal Agency for the Commonwealth of Independent States, Compatriots Living Abroad, and International Humanitarian Cooperation (Rossotrudnichestvo).
Rossotrudnichestvo was founded in 2008, but it is the successor to the All-Union Society for Cultural Relations with Foreign States (VOKS) of the USSR, which has existed until 1958, and then changed its name several times.
The agency, directly subordinate to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, is engaged in promoting a positive image of Russia abroad, supporting the Russian language, and carrying out cultural work with compatriots.
Rossotrudnichestvo has an extensive network of branches, i.e. 97 foreign missions, of which there are 73 Russian centers for science and culture in 62 countries, and 24 representatives in embassies in 21 countries, and is a convenient cover for the intelligence and sabotage activities conducted by the Russian special services.
In the USSR, communications with foreign states were traditionally with the competence of the state security, starting with the OGPU Foreign Department in the 1920s. In the post-Soviet era, this situation has not changed much, therefore Rossotrudnichestvo can be considered a departmental branch of the FSB with full confidence.
One of the offices of Rossotrudnichestvo, the Russian Center for Science and Culture (RCSC) in Nicosia, was opened in the USSR in 1978. The main declared tasks of the RCSC are the development of bilateral cultural, humanitarian, scientific, and technical cooperation with the Republic of Cyprus, as well as the work to promote Russian culture and popularize the Russian language.
The RCSC holds many cultural events on various topics in Cyprus, such as classical music concerts, Russian theater seasons in Cyprus, free courses and lectures for compatriots. Recently, the processions of the «Immortal Regiment» have been taking place and the Victory Day has been celebrated extensively under the patronage of the RCSC. During the coronavirus pandemic and quarantine, the cultural center in Nicosia has mastered a new form of work, online tea drinking and gatherings.
The common features of these events are the gray soviet-Russian bureaucracy, the squalor of performances, «balalaikas-matryoshkas», complete futility, and obvious abuse of budgets for the benefit of the event organizers.
At the end of 2016, the work of this state-funded institution revived slightly and became a little more diverse; more events are being held, Russian «stars» are invited, and new forms of work with compatriots have emerged.
Alina and friends
The revival of the RCSC work in Nicosia is associated with the appointment of a new Chairperson of the cultural center, Alina Radchenko, in October 2016.
The RCSC Chairperson in Nicosia, Alina Radchenko, has an impressive background; she is a PhD in Political Sciences and an economist, having a degrees from the Moscow State Law Academy and the Russian Academy of Civil Service. Radchenko worked as an advisor in the Department for Humanitarian Policy and Public Relations of the Department for Internal Policy of the Presidential Administration of the Russian Federation, advisor to the First Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, and headed the staff of the Russian Public Chamber.
Alina Radchenko also worked as a Deputy General Director and General Director of OOO “Severstal-Invest” in Nizhny Novgorod.
According to our sources, Radchenko received her appointment at the RCSC in Cyprus thanks to the patronage of the former head of Rossotrudnichestvo, Lyubov Glebova, with whom the RCSC Chairperson maintained close relations. The same sources reported that Radchenko allegedly has several more patrons in Moscow, thanks to whom she still maintains a strong position at her office and exercises influence at the work of the Russian embassy in Cyprus, although many officers of the diplomatic department strongly dislike it.
One of Radchenko’s patrons, according to our sources, holds a high position in one of the Russian special services. They say that the RCSC Chairperson has close friendship and joint business with him in Cyprus.
The second patron of Alina Radchenko is a State Duma deputy who, according to our source, also used to be an officer of special services. Now he holds the post of the deputy of one of the key committees of the Russian parliament (the name of the deputy is known to the editorial office).
As our informant said, this State Duma deputy in civilian clothes bought the Russian-language Cypriot portal of real estate and news last year. The new owner from Russia is said to have invested substantial funds in this asset for its promotion and rebranding.
The Russian Embassy in Cyprus, as well as the local pro-Russian party, the EOP, regularly exploit the services of this portal to promote their views, stories, bogus stories and to disseminate the filter bubbles among the Russian-speaking residents of Cyprus.
Apparently, the post of the RCSC Chairperson in Nicosia brings good dividends to the Russian civil servant, Alina Radchenko.
According to our information, Radchenko has properties in Cyprus in different cities, which she rents out. According to a source from her entourage, these houses are registered in the name of Alina Radchenko’s mother, a Cypriot citizen Vera Yakovlevna F.
Another house in Limassol, as reported by the sources, has been sold by Radchenko recently. Her brother Sergey, a former employee of LUKOIL-Cyprus, allegedly lived in this house for some time. Now he has moved to Bucharest and works for LUKOIL-Romania, while his wife Tatiana works at the RCSC in Bucharest.
Meanwhile, Alina Radchenko permanently resides with her daughter in a service apartment in the premises of the Russian Cultural Center.
It is noteworthy that the cleaning and repair of the Radchenko family’s property is carried out by the RCSC staff.
Dead souls and illegal immigrants
As we found out, the staff of the RCSC in Nicosia comprises about 20 persons.
According to informed sources, in addition to the two seconded officers of the Foreign Intelligence Service, the staff of the RCSC in Nicosia employs citizens of Ukraine who, according to our sources, have been living in Cyprus for many years based on a visitor’s residence permit without the right to work in Cyprus.
Further, the funds required to extend the residence permit are allegedly transferred to their bank account from the Swiss account of an influential Russian businesswoman. Since these funds do not actually belong to Ukrainian applicants for a residence permit, it seems that the information provided to the Cypriot migration authorities is not entirely correct.
Also, the RCSC in Nicosia employs two sons of a Russian businessman who maintains close relations with the cultural center chairperson.
According to our sources, one of the businessman’s sons is only registered in the RCSC staff, but does not appear at work in the cultural center. As we were told by the same sources, the absent employee is regularly paid a salary, which, according to our information, is allegedly received by the RCSC director. Besides that young man, according to our information, there is at least one more “dead soul” in the RCSC, namely Radchenko’s former driver.
Besides, according to our information, a married couple of Georgian citizens is employed by the Russian cultural center. They have been working at the RCSC for a long time as service personnel, and live in the cultural center building. According to sources, this couple stays in Cyprus illegally, without any permit.
Cyprus Daily News sent an inquiry to the RCSC Chairperson in Nicosia to confirm or deny the above facts, but no response was received at the time of publication.
«Medved» opera and a cellist
Under Alina Radchenko’s guidance, the RCSC in Nicosia began to hold more events, that’s a fact, but ultimately acquired an unsavory reputation.
At the end of 2018, the first opera in Russian in the history of the island, “Medved», based on Chekhov’s play was staged by the RCSC in Cyprus, with the participation of Alina Radchenko.
According to the oral agreements, the RCSC had to pay EUR 17,800 for the work of conductor Yannis Hadjilouis and his orchestra. As far as we know, the money for the opera has never been paid to Cypriot musicians.
We possess a letter from the conductor addressed to Alina Radchenko, in which he reminds the RCSC Chairperson about all the agreements.
Also in April 2019, at the invitation of the RCSC, the Russian cellist S. came to Cyprus. He was offered to give two concerts and promised to pay a half of the proceeds from ticket sales. The RCSC arranged the trip, accommodation, and meals.
As the musician told us, during the tour he indeed was accommodated in the RCSC apartments, where Alina Radchenko also lives, and fed in a cafe for employees. After two concerts in Limassol and Nicosia, the cellist was owed about EUR 200 from ticket sales, which he was paid at first, but then seized, allegedly by Radchenko’s order.
Further, musician S. was billed for accommodation in the RCSC premises, for meals, and for printing tickets for his concerts.
The witnesses of this ugly story told that the center administration allegedly replied to the musician’s timid references to the fact that the arrangements were different and that he did not have money for a return ticket as follows: “go out to the central street of Nicosia and play for passers-by for alms, then use the proceeds to pay a debt to the RCSC and buy a return ticket.»
It must be said that the cellist in Cyprus still lucked out. The pianist with whom he played at the concerts and who witnessed this shameful incident intervened. She told to the RCSC Chairperson that such behavior was unacceptable and demanded that the honestly earned money be returned to the invited musician.
However, the money was never returned to him. Outraged by the situation, the girl withdrew several hundred euros from her personal account and gave them to her fellow musician.
Before the musician left for Russia, the RCSC management prudently obtained his signature on a letter of gratitude to the RCSC and a renouncement of all claims.
Procession of «Immortal Regiment»
A special place in the RCSC’s work is occupied by the organization of the celebration of official Russian holidays in Cyprus. When the «Immortal Regiment» event organized by Russian compatriots appeared in several cities of Cyprus, its organization was quickly intercepted by the RCSC in Nicosia.
In recent years, the RCSC decided to monopolize the right to hold this march and did everything to remove and prevent local activists from holding this event on their own. An activist from Larnaca told us about this. According to her, the main reason for persistent attempts to take control of the organization and conduct of the «Immortal Regiment» procession is the desire of the cultural center to control the budgets for this event, which come both from the procession sponsors and from the Russian budget.
Shaman tambourine and cacti
As we were told by sources close to the RCSC Chairperson, Alina Radchenko, the plants serving as the raw material for the production of the banned psychotropic alkaloid mescaline allegedly were and are being imported into Cyprus using the diplomatic mail of the Russian Embassy for their personal use by the cultural center chairperson. We were told that Radchenko is allegedly a passionate fan of the San Pedro cacti, which she uses to satisfy her aesthetic needs.
Actually, the use of diplomatic mail for smuggling substances by the Russian diplomatic mail does not evoke much surprise – Russian diplomats have been repeatedly convicted of such activities. The most famous case is the confiscation of 500 kilograms of cocaine by the Argentine police at the Russian embassy in Buenos Aires. The special piquancy is added to this story by the fact that, as the media found out, the private board of the secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, Patrushev, came for cocaine from Moscow.
Why the RCSC Chairman in Nicosia, Alina Radchenko, prefers these particular plants that need to be imported by diplomatic mail, and not some other cacti that grow in abundance in Cyprus, would remain incomprehensible, but for one curious fact.
According to our sources, Alina Radchenko has been practicing shamanism enthusiastically for several years: she summons spirits, asks them for good luck in business and new endeavors, “imposes” curses on her enemies, “looks” into the future and, most importantly, tries to “influence” the events that should happen in the future.
Note that the consumption of mescaline obtained from a cactus is a prerequisite for shamanic rituals. Only with the help of hallucinations caused by the psychotropic mescaline a person falls into a state in which she begins to see spirits, reptilians from Nibiru or lionheads from Sirius and others.
According to some of our sources, at least once a Buryat shaman came from Russia to Radchenko in Cyprus. A young shaman from Olkhon Island was staying at one of the houses on the seashore registered in the name of Radchenko’s mother, where he has been teaching the practice of effective summoning of spirits and the technique of using a champagne tambourine to the RCSC Chairman for more than a month.
Since then, according to eyewitnesses, the shaman tambourine has been kept in Radchenko’s apartment, and she uses it regularly in shamanic rituals when it seems to her that in this way she can influence a particular situation.
By the way, there is nothing surprising in the fact that the Orthodox Russian civil servant Alina Radchenko practices shamanism. Recently, the Russian political and business elite have been using shamanic rituals with great pleasure.
According to political scientist Valery Solovey, the top leadership of Russia is massively committed to shamanism and has been actively resorting to occult and magical practices in recent years. According to him, this craze of the Russian elites is also seriously affecting the decision-making process in the Russian government.
The Russian authorities became interested in these practices in the early 2000s, after Putin and his entourage became disillusioned with Orthodoxy. The Orthodox elders, unfortunately, could not predict future events for the Russian elite and, most importantly, could not influence or change the future.
The Russian elite allegedly began to look for an opportunity to influence the future by resorting to the higher powers through intermediaries, such as shamans, sorcerers, and magicians. There commenced their massive import to Moscow from the most remote corners of the planet, i.e. from the jungles of the Amazon and the Gobi desert, from the icy deserts of Chukotka and the mountain gorges of Buryatia, from Mexico, Alaska, Peru, Chile, Mongolia and many more. They are taken to Moscow by business jets, perform a ceremony, receive fabulous royalties, and then are taken back to the jungle or desert.
With their help, Russian top officials are trying to find ways to solve complex problems. The socio-political instability of the modern world, the instability of Russia, plus the increased uncertainty of the Russian establishment in the future is pushing the Russian establishment to search for quick and effective solutions. Hence the passion for esotericism and occultism.
The hallucinogen mescaline, used in shamanic rituals, is a natural alkaloid, the use of which leads to an increase in serotonin level in the body, which, in turn, leads to a failure of thinking processes and a weakening of brain activity, and then to various forms of schizophrenia. The person is undergoing a mental shift. The consumption of alkaloids leads not only to schizophrenia but also to personality degradation, but people who consume alkaloids do not notice this, since they stay in a shifted reality.
In this state, people make political, economic, and management decisions. However, especially alarming is that the ruling elite of Russia, due to the consumption of alkaloids and the general enthusiasm for the occult and magic, is in a special state of mind, shifted from reality, at the group level. This means that even if there are people in the Russian elite who do not practice occultism and do not consume mescaline and other alkaloids, they are forced to adapt to the group mentality and style of behavior.
Therefore, the actions of the Russian authorities in the normal world are often perceived as strange, incomprehensible, and sometimes just wild.
Russia was and remains a feudal state, where, as has been the custom for a long time, slaves obsequiously copy the behavior of their masters and re-transmit it along the chain. It is well known that lower ranks in the Russian power vertical demonstrate servility to their superior bosses, but express contempt and behave rudely towards subordinates.
Therefore, it is not surprising that Alina Radchenko, imitating the officials from the top leadership of Russia, is passionate about shamanic rituals and ceremonies, collects houses by the sea, probably uses her official position for personal gain, and behaves contemptuously with «slaves».
It is difficult to imagine a better candidate to “promote” a positive image of Russia abroad and to “establish” cultural contacts in the host country.