Russian Oligarchs

Alexander Babakov: Sanctioned Russian Politician’s Controversies

Alexander Babakov: Early Life and Background

Alexander Babakov
Alexander Babakov

Alexander Babakov was born on the 8th day of February in the year 1963 in Chisinau, a territory that once fell under the sovereignty of the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic, now recognized as Moldova.

He pursued his academic journey at the esteemed Economics Department of Moscow State University, subsequently culminating in his educational pursuits at the Department of Economics, specializing in foreign nations.

Babakov’s foray into the realm of politics commenced in 2003, marked by his induction into the State Duma, an institution holding legislative authority within the confines of the Russian Federation.

In 2006, he briefly took the reins of Rodina, a political entity in Russia. During his stewardship, he played an instrumental role in orchestrating a momentous amalgamation that gave birth to A Just Russia, a political entity that saw the convergence of Rodina, the Russian Party of Life, and the Russian Pensioners’ Party.

Subsequently, in 2011, Babakov aligned himself with the United Russia Party, an affiliation intricately tied to the persona of the Russian head of state, Vladimir Putin.

The trajectory of his political odyssey was adorned with pivotal roles, among which was his appointment as the Chairman of the State Duma Commission, tasked with the formulation of legislative frameworks for the augmentation of the Military-Industrial Complex of the Russian Federation.

Most notably, in 2012, Vladimir Putin, the paramount figure in Russian politics, designated Babakov as the Special Presidential Representative to the Russian populace, further cementing his prominence and indispensability within the governance structures of the Russian Federation.

Personal Life

Insights into Babakov’s personal life, including family and relationships

Let’s take a closer look at Alexander Babakov’s personal life, including his family and relationships:

Marriage and Family: Alexander Babakov is a married man and is blessed with three children.

Zoya, the youngest member of the family, was born in 2012.

Business Transfer to Daughter: In 2011, Babakov transferred ownership of his holding company, AED International, which is registered in the British Virgin Islands, to his daughter.

Wife’s Lifestyle: According to the Panama Papers, his wife leads a simple and unassuming life.

Friendship with Serbian President Vučić: Babakov maintains strong personal relations with the Serbian President, Aleksandar Vučić.

Hobbies, interests, and philanthropic activities

Alexander Babakov possesses a heritage-listed estate in Saint Petersburg. He has received numerous prestigious awards, including the Order of Friendship, the Order “For Merit to the Fatherland,” the Order of Honor, and the Sretenje Order.

However, Babakov has faced serious allegations, including involvement in cross-border organized crime, funding of terrorism in Ukraine, and support for pro-Kremlin separatists in eastern Ukraine. In April 2022, the United States Department of Justice issued an indictment against him, accusing him of conspiring to have US citizens act as unregistered agents for Russia in the United States, conspiring to violate and evade US sanctions, and conspiring to commit visa fraud.

Furthermore, Babakov has been subject to sanctions imposed by the European Union and the UK government in 2014 in connection to the Russo-Ukrainian War.

Controversies surrounding Alexander Babakov

Controversies surrounding Alexander Babakov
Controversies surrounding Alexander Babakov

Alexander Babakov has been entangled in a web of controversies and transgressions, spanning various domains. First, he incurred sanctions from the EU, Canada, and Switzerland in September 2014, a direct consequence of the Russian Federation’s annexation of Crimea and the subsequent Russo-Ukrainian conflict.

In 2014, the UK government also imposed sanctions against Babakov, citing his involvement in the Russo-Ukrainian dispute. Moreover, in a significant development on April 14, 2022, the United States Department of Justice unveiled an indictment against him, alleging his participation in a covert Russian propaganda operation within the United States.

This operation aimed to recruit US citizens as unregistered agents for Russia, contravene and evade US sanctions, and commit visa fraud. According to court records, Babakov, along with two of his aides, purportedly orchestrated this clandestine Russian propaganda scheme on US soil to further Russia’s political objectives against not only Ukraine but also the United States and other nations.

Additionally, a money laundering scandal emerged in August 2023 when Ukrainian hackers leaked emails attributed to Babakov. These emails purportedly demonstrated his exploitation of government connections to engage in money laundering, including accepting illicit bribes. Remarkably, the Panama Papers reveal that Babakov ranks among the most financially modest deputies within the State Duma.

Sanctions imposed on Alexander Babakov

Sanctions imposed on Alexander Babakov
Sanctions imposed on Alexander Babakov

Alexander Babakov, due to his involvement in the Russo-Ukrainian War, is surrounded by international sanctions.

Following the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation and the tumultuous Russo-Ukrainian conflict in September 2014, Babakov became the focal point of sanctions imposed by the European Union.

These measures include the freezing of assets. In the year 2014, the authorities of the United Kingdom, regarding the Russo-Ukrainian discord, imposed sanctions on Babkov. The year 2017 witnessed the United States Treasury Department imposing sanctions on Babakov, an action motivated by his interconnection in the ongoing Ukrainian conflict.

Talking about the United States, on April 14, 2022, the U.S. Department of Justice issued a formal indictment against him. The allegations involved were nothing short of profound.

Babakov was accused of conspiring to induce U.S. citizens to act as unregistered agents for Russia within the United States, conspiring to contravene and evade U.S. sanctions, and conspiring to commit visa fraud.

In a disconcerting turn of events, extending beyond the purview of these punitive measures, Ukrainian hackers disseminated Babakov’s emails in August 2023. These emails ostensibly revealed Babakov’s manipulation of government connections for nefarious activities, including the covert laundering of funds and the acceptance of illicit bribes.

Controversial Allegations on Alexander Babakov

Engagement in transnational illicit enterprises, the financing of terrorism within Ukraine, and the support of pro-Kremlin factions within the European Union have all come under scrutiny.

Stanislav Belkovsky raised suspicions regarding Babakov orchestrating contract killings involving the mafia don Maxim Kurochkin. Reports in the media suggest that Babakov had been engaged in a lengthy joint venture with Kurochkin. According to Ukrainian media outlets, they jointly led the Luzhniki criminal syndicate, which maintained ties to the former Mayor of Moscow, Yuri Luzhkov. Accusations of Babakov’s involvement in hostile takeovers of Ukrainian real estate have surfaced repeatedly, even in official press conferences. Yuriy Derevyanko, a Member of the Committee on Combating Corruption in Ukraine, has alleged that Babakov might have a hand in financing terrorism within Ukraine. The subversion of democratic institutions stands as one of the central conduits for the corrupt Russian influence within Ukraine.

Close Ties Between Alexander Babakov and Russian Defense Operations

Babakov shares a close association with Russian statesman Dmitry Rogozin. Some reports even suggest a direct link to Russian intelligence agencies, with his companies fulfilling orders for the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation in cryptographic encryption and the maintenance of nuclear submarines. Since 2003, the Ministry of Defense has designated TERNA-SB, a subsidiary of the TERNA group, co-founded by Alexander Babakov, as the overseeing entity for the Arctic Military-Environmental Cooperation program.

This company holds a license from the FSB to handle classified information and is reportedly closely connected to the Russian military. Among the facilities where their work has been carried out are the General Staff, the Naval General Staff, and the Kamchatka nuclear submarine base.

During his last term as a Member of Parliament, Babakov assumed the role of chairman for the Duma commission tasked with providing legal support to entities within the Russian Federation’s military-industrial complex. On June 17, 2012, Russian President Vladimir Putin designated Babakov as his special envoy for collaboration with Russian expatriate organizations. Media reports suggest his involvement in the financing of France’s far-right Popular Front.

A November 22, 2014 article on the Mediapart website titled “The National Front Receives Russian Millions” revealed that Marine Le Pen’s party had secured the first installment of a €9 million loan from the First Czech-Russian Bank (PCRB). It was purported that the intermediaries in this transaction were European Parliament member Schaffhauser and Alexander Babakov, the State Duma representative of the Russian President for dealings with Russian expatriate organizations.

Regarding Babakov’s political connections within Ukraine, historical records indicate that the Luzhniki criminal group, led in part by Babakov, arrived in Ukraine in the late 1990s. There, they established contact with Vladimir Putin’s associate, Viktor Medvedchuk, facilitated by Igor Bakay, the former head of Ukraine’s Naftogaz.

These activities were characterized by coercive property seizures, torture, threats, and abductions. Russian Ambassador to Ukraine Viktor Chernomyrdin, along with one of the early proponents of the Russian World concept, Gleb Pavlovsky, played a role in forming the Russian Club, which counted Kuchma, Medvedchuk, and Yanukovych among its members.

In late August 2016, one of Babakov’s most outspoken critics, Alexander Shchetinin, was discovered dead in his apartment with a gunshot wound to the head. However, any official link between this incident and Babakov remains undisclosed.

By the end of March 2017, following the assassination of former State Duma member Denis Voronenkov in Kyiv, Ukrainian political analyst Alexandra Reshmedilova pointed out that the murder took place outside the Premier Palace Hotel, owned by one of the leaders of the Luzhniki gang and current special representative of Vladimir Putin for interactions with Russian expatriate organizations, Alexander Babakov.

She stressed that the SBU should investigate the presence of FSB officers operating under the cover of a hotel in Kyiv. Alexander Babakov‘s direct affiliation with Russian intelligence, access to classified information, and his companies’ involvement in fulfilling orders from the Russian Ministry of Defense for cryptographic encryption and submarine maintenance all raised significant concerns.

Offshore Holdings of Alexander Babakov

According to data released by Alexei Navalny at the end of December 2013, Alexander Babakov possesses undeclared real estate in France, including a substantial estate in the French commune of Saint-Léger-en-Yvelines, located 37 kilometers southwest of Versailles.

Irina Babakova, the politician’s wife, purchased this 10.9-hectare estate in 2009 and registered it as SCI DU CHATEAU DU CLOS RENARD. Navalny estimated the estate’s value at $15.7 million (490 million rubles) and noted its inclusion in the register of France’s historical and cultural heritage. Furthermore, Navalny asserted that Babakov owns an apartment in Paris situated at 169 Rue de l’Université, Paris.

The Panama Papers revealed that Babakov owned the offshore company AED International Limited from 2007 to 2011. In September 2011, the company was transferred to his 23-year-old daughter.

Conclusion

Alexander Babakov, born in Chișinău in 1963, rose to prominence when Vladimir Putin appointed him as the Special Presidential Representative to Russia in 2012. Despite his professional successes, Babakov has endured a string of scandals. In 2014, he faced sanctions from both the European Union and the UK government due to his involvement in the Russo-Ukrainian War. Additionally, in April 2022, the United States Department of Justice indicted him on charges that included conspiring to use US citizens as unregistered agents for Russia, evading US sanctions, and committing visa fraud.

Babakov’s controversies range from accusations of cross-border organized crime to allegations of financing terrorism in Ukraine and supporting pro-Kremlin separatists in eastern Ukraine. Intriguingly, the Panama Papers revealed that his wife leads a modest lifestyle.

Amid these controversies, Babakov has enjoyed political influence in Russia, holding a position in the State Duma and serving as the Special Presidential Representative to Russians. This biography provides insight into the complex character of Alexander Babakov, a man whose life has been filled with both notable accomplishments and significant controversies.

Alexander Harris

Alexander Harris began his career as a journalist. He is one of the founders of the " Russian Oligarchs Tracker Unit ".

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