It’s interesting to see how much time and evidence Europeans actually need to shift from a state of “denial” at least to a state of “acceptance” if it’s about Russia setting up a network of assets who not only are able to influence the ongoing processes in European countries, they’re even capable of doing some really alarming stuff.

Kremlin’s “useful Italians”

In the meantime, according to Italian Vice-PM and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, the one who was previously spotted sporting a T-shirt with the face printed of Russian President and commander-in-chief over all those “Losharik” submersibles and the like, it’s Ukrainian “neo-Nazis” who are to blame for all the troubles of the good old Europe. “The intelligence services told about a Ukrainian group that was plotting an attempt on my life,” Salvini said, commenting on his sick fantasies.

Salvini’s law enforcement subordinates have denied claims that a certain “Ukrainian group” threatened Salvini’s life, thus confirming that their boss could fall into a state of feverish delirium. The news was broken by La Stampa, which also provided some more interesting details. The newspaper wrote that behind the word “intelligence” that referred to the source of a tip about the assassination plot stood a former secret agent of the Soviet KGB. At the same time, the actual investigation of Salvini’s hysterical suggestions led to the discovery of a massive arms cache in the Northern Italy’s Turin, where law enforcers even found an ready-to-use air-to-air missile. Well, I’ll get to that cache in a moment. Anyway, the very information about the cooperation with the “KGB guy” of such a senior official as vice PM and head of the law enforcement agency should become a matter of interest to the Italian security agencies. As we know, no one “retires” from the KGB.

In general, it was the classics of Russia’s information provocation, which span the topic of “Ukrainian neo-Nazi killers with an air-to-air missile” across media platforms as Russian intelligence and propaganda cheered on. Nothing new here: “European values” and all that…

So, with the major help on the part of Salvini’s friends from the Kremlin and the vice-PM himself, Italy turned into a springboard for discrediting Ukraine: first, in one of the most pro-Russian Italian provinces of Lombardy, a Ukrainian National Guardsman Vitaly Markiv was tried and sentenced for a period longer than the prosecutor actually requested, and then they found the real missile.

Why? Puzzle pieces are coming together. Let’s make a little effort and help European security agencies figure things out.

Italy vs Markiv

The sentence in the “Markiv case” is 24 years of imprisonment – more than it was requested by Italian prosecutors, who also seemed surprised by the verdict. We shouldn’t get into the intricacies of the biased trial, we just hope it will be reviewed by the court of appeals. Still, there are some questions left unanswered.

Andrea Rocchelli, a photo reporter who died in a Donbas shelling, had stayed on the line of conact without any accreditation, i.e. illegally, being accompanied by Russian human rights activist Andrei Mironov, who has a very peculiar fact in his CV: in 1986 he was convicted on charges of “anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda” (Article 70 of the Criminal Code) and sentenced to 4 years in prison and 3 years of exile, but in February 1987 he was released on pardon. How many human rights defenders convicted in 1986 on “anti-Soviet” charges were released in early 1987? I’m not blaming anyone. It’s just that the situation with Rocchelli and Mironov doesn’t look too surprising if we look at it through the prism of the mechanisms of how Russian special services work.

However, it’s even more interesting, why such a verdict was ultimately passed. By the way, this could indicate a direct threat to Italy’s national security. Forget corruption and focus on the fact that Russian propagandists have so densely occupied the European media market in their segment that they are already able to influence the opinion of jurors, and that’s a fact. Perhaps, they quite sincerely stuck to the agenda imposed on them from the outside about “Nazis”, “crucified boys”, and all that bulk of trashy Russian fairytales, which the Russians spin worldwide in huge volumes and on a daily basis, to create in people’s minds an alternative picture of world events that would fit Moscow.

Earlier, with the help of the Forza Nuova (New Force) party in Italy and newsbreaks it created, the Russians were promoting the topic of the “migration wave”.

“New Force” of Russian special services

The party, which is the Italian element of the Kremlin-bought ultra-right pro-Fascist European movement, which also includes the British BNP, the Spanish Alternative, the French National Front, the Flemish Interest… as well as Jobbik, Attack, and Falanga… the list goes on. Their primary task is to support Russian geopolitical narratives, for example the one claiming that Crimea is Russian, or simply to praise Putin in the international arena. However… this month alone, there were two instances where, almost by chance, their readiness was revealed for some major moves.

First, a cache of explosives and weapons with Russian “roots” was found in Brussels, and now, during a raid of Turin-based far-right organizations, law enforcers seized from “New Force” representatives automatic rifles, light weapons, as well as an air-to-air missile. Moreover, it’s not at all surprising that the persons who maintained these warehouses have experience of military operations on the side of the “DPR” terrorist organization in Donbas“.

Immediately, it was suggested that the French missile earlier belonged to Qatar. The fact that such reports were spun actually doesn’t surprise me a bit. For Russia, Qatar is now an enemy – apart from the competition in the gas market, it still strongly hinders the Russians’ efforts in Libya. In this context, and taking into account the fact that such Matra missiles were in service of and were used back in the day by the Iraqi Air Force, while the Russian-controlled arms supply channel to Europe via Syria and Serbia is fully loaded, the “Russian trace” in this situation is more than likely.

But why would the “New Force” need a rocket in the first place? There are two options here – from a simple sale to boost own financing to direct terrorist purposes. Firstly, it can simply be blown up at a crowded site and, secondly, the possibility of such missiles being fired from a ground-launcher cannot be ruled out either.

The Bellingcat investigation revealed that in the so-called “DPR”, serial production has been set up of ground-based multiple rocket launchers, similar to the ones used in Syria. Indeed, air-to-air missile is a different thing, but how long will it take any talented Russian engineer to come up with a portable system able to shoot at aerial targets? By the way, Matra is able to hit targets at an altitude of up to 24 km – here’s a big hello to flight safety. Remember where and on whose side the “New Force” fought?

So what if inaction and lack of proper response can bring Europe? It’s “Managed chaos” by the Russian scenario, the courts where jurors have a mindset penetrated by Russian propaganda schemes, repetition of left-wing terrorism and Brigate Rosse, the flow of migrants controlled by the Russian special services, drug trafficking, and the revival of the “Russian mafia”.

At the same time, on the other side of the scales for Europe is trade with Russia and good profits. And in the light of the latest “services” rendered by the EU member states, the Kremlin is not really sure whether Europe has already surrendered to the victor, or is time yet to come to “drive out the merchants from the Temple”?

Yuri Karin, IR Coordinator