A month ago, there were reports in the Russian and American media that the FBI was investigating the activities of the Coordination Council of Organizations of Russian Compatriots in the US, reports that the FBI neither confirmed nor denied but that Moscow insisted were part of a US effort to close down the group.
In fact, the FBI did speak with some members of the group; but it did not move to shut it down. However, it has now come out that the organization, the product of ordinary émigré activities prior to 2014, was purged by Moscow because its then-leaders refused to support Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and became a branch office of the Russian propaganda machine.
Igor Baboshkin, who led the group prior to 2014, tells Radio Liberty ’s Vladimir Abarinov what happened, a classic example of Moscow’s heavyhandedness which may have won the Kremlin some short-term support but is costing it any loyalty over the longer term.
More on the topic: Moscow intensifies its efforts to use Russian emigres to promote Kremlin policies (2017)