Painful moment for some Dutch MPs: They thought they were speaking through Zoom’s meeting with Leonid Volkov, a high-ranking employee of Russia’s opposition leader Alexei Navalny. In fact, it was the Joker who kept them on the line for 45 minutes, gave the craziest answers and eventually offered “Mister Pig” (piggy bank; editor).
The session led by Geert Wilders took place over a month ago, and now the cool photos are posted online. The conversation with the pseudo-Volkov still begins somewhat naturally, although he comes into the picture with a bathrobe. “It is good to be able to share ideas with your parliament. It is important for us to know that we are not alone. I hope you also feel our strength and our energy,” it seems.
However, the further the conversation progressed, the more outlandish the responses became. For example, MPs are advised to go on hunger strike for Navalny or donate Bitcoin. In the end, one parliamentarian burst out in laughter.
“Just say hello”
In the end, Wilders is clearly content. He tries to end the conversation in a diplomatic way, but that is far from being duplicitous. He wants to introduce Navalny’s successor at any cost, “Mr. Page.” Then a pink piggy bank is depicted. “Welcome the members of Parliament.”
“I now understand why this meeting was taking place behind closed doors,” replies Wilders. “Thank you for introducing” Mister Pig “to us. We wish you much success.” Enthusiasts will find much of the embarrassing offer below.
“Who are we talking to now?”
According to Sjoerd Sjoerdsma (D66), it quickly becomes apparent that something is wrong. “Most of us wondered afterwards who we had spoken to,” says De Volkskrant. “The graphic part was very compelling, but the language did not match what Navalny’s staff would say. Obviously it was not real. But what was unreal was not clear.”
The fake conversation turned out to be the work of famous scammers Vladimir Kuznetsov and Alexei Stolgarov, known as “Fofan” and “Lexus”. Earlier, they had also deceived former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, singer Elton John and British Prince Harry.
However, the real Volkov is not presented with this. After all, the duo often seeks to contact influential people with their name, which tarnish their reputation. He himself knows about ten failed attempts. Volkov wrote on Facebook: “But in reality they might have tried it tens or hundreds of times.” According to him, European politicians will no longer be tempted to accept one of his invitations. “Their intention specifically is to sow doubts.”
The independent Russian newspaper “Moscow Times” had indicated earlier that Kuznetsov and Stolgarov would work on behalf of the Kremlin. The duo deny the accusation at all keys.
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