One of the brightest examples is the former trade representative of Russia in Austria, Oleksandr Potyomkin, an experienced financier. He was a head of the foreign exchange auction department of Vneshtorgbank during the USSR, acted as the deputy chairman of the Central Bank of Russia. He also managed the board of directors of the moscow Interbank Currency Exchange, and worked as the deputy chairman of the ”rosbank" board and even was in charge of the Ukrainian stock exchange "PFTS". At the end of his career, Potyomkin held the position of trade representative in Vienna for many years, and also probably worked for russian intelligence. Using his example, we will tell how the russian invaders use diplomacy for their own espionage purposes, as well as how these spies do not return to their native swamps, but migrate to civilized countries.
The Channel 24 found out about this after analyzing more than 7,000 letters from Potyomkins’ email, which were hacked by hacktivists of the "Cyber Resistance" team. After careful examination of the correspondence, we found out how Potyomkin worked for years to strengthen Russia. After the beginning of the great war he told his foreign friends that he condemned moscow, but at the same time he continued to finance the terrorist country.
Ukrainian traitor and the occupier of the stock exchange
Potyomkin was born not somewhere in Vologda, but in the famous city of Khust in the Transcarpathian region, in the family of a Ukrainian woman of Jewish origin and a soviet military occupier.
Russian passport of Potyomkin / Screenshot from the mail of russian activist
Potemkin spent the first 8 years of life in military towns in Khust, Stryi, Drohobych and Yavoriv. Afterwards he moved with his family to the part of Germany which was occupied by the Soviet Union.
Potyomkin can be easily called a traitor – as he spent almost a quarter of his life in Ukraine.
Cities and countries where Oleksandr Potyomkin lived and which he visited / Screenshot from the mail of russian activist
The future putins’ henchman received his education at the moscow State University - the forge of diplomats-spies, after which he went to work in his specialty. Potyomkin's activities until 2010 can hardly be interesting from the point of russia's criminal schemes and its interference in Ukrainian affairs. However, exactly 13 years ago, the financier and one of the creators of the MICEX was sent to head the supervisory board of the Ukrainian stock exchange PFTS.
At that time, the russians owned a controlling stake in PFTS. They also had shares in the second platform – "Ukrainian Stock Exchange". Subsequently, the two companies were merged in Russia, and in fact it became impractical to own two similar projects in our country.
According to one of the leading Ukrainian financial experts, the activities of russian agents on the Ukrainian stock market were exclusively related to attempts to conduct business and earn money. But one way or another, the very presence of future invaders and their involvement in any financial activity definitely cannot be called something good. Even if it is about the years before the beginning of the aggression.
Thus, Potyomkin and other seven russians who were part of the supervisory board of PFTS tried to achieve the takeover of the trading system by the "Ukrainian Exchange". At the same time, there is evidence that the opinions of Ukrainian minority shareholders and our state did not bother them at all.
It is clear that in 2014, the russian money-makers were forced to stop their business and sell off the shares of the Ukrainian stock exchanges. However, the consequences of their presence in this market were quite long-lasting. For example, when Kyiv in 2018 imposed sanctions on the moscow Stock Exchange, financial software used in Ukraine was banned. It was simply impossible to quickly replace the software, and the transition to cheap platforms of poor quality could set back the development of the entire stock market for several years. It was not the occupiers who suffered from this problem, but the new Ukrainian owners of the stock exchanges.
Russian investments in our securities market, as well as the expansion of the Potyomkin minions, brought us considerable losses and problems.
Potyomkin quit his work at PFTS in 2015, and from the position of chairman of the supervisory board he was promoted to the head of the russian trade representative office in Austria.
However, he still had certain ties with the Ukrainian stock exchange. Despite the work on the occupation of the Ukrainian stock market, Potyomkin was also actively engaged in his own enrichment. As in Russia, he bought securities in Ukraine. PFTS was among his investments. However, it later became clear that Potyomkin cannot own shares of the Ukrainian stock exchange. In order to sell the papers, putins’ minion had to write out a power of attorney for his sister Halyna Demukh. Fortunately, a relative of such a prominent figure lived in Kyiv – so hated by the occupiers, but not somewhere in Moscow.
Power of attorney for the shares of the Ukrainian PFTS stock exchange / Screenshot from the mail of Oleksand Potyomkin
It is a rhetorical question that the Ukrainian law enforcement officers did not deprive the russian pseudo-diplomat of shares. However, Potyomkin was either unable to receive money for the papers sold in 2016, or did so with difficulty. For the sake of the coveted 35,960 hryvnias in his bank account at the "daughter" of the russian VTB in Ukraine, the russian trade representative wrote to the very head of the supervisory board of the entire financial institution, Serhii Dubinin. He begged to save 1332 dollars, otherwise – as he insisted – the deal looked like a speculative one, and his sister was forced to comply with Ukrainian laws.
Potyomkin's appeal to the head of russian VTB Sergei Dubinin / Screenshot from the mail of Oleksandr Potyomkin
It is impossible to determine whether Mrs. Demukh was able to return the money to her brother. However, Potyomkin can personally come to Kyiv and try to do it on his own. Fortunately, at the border he will be able not to use a passport with a mutated chicken, but to show the documents of an Israeli citizen.
As Potyomkin worked in the russian trade representative office, he mostly concerned attempts to attract investments and strengthen cooperation between the countries. Potyomkin contacted local politicians, helped the russian companies working in Austria in every possible way. He also tried to ensure that the economy of this country was as closely tied to Moscow as possible.
The list of russian companies that worked in Austria / Screenshot from the Oleksandr Potyomkins’ mail
It should be noted that Potyomkin acted very cautiously. So there was no direct correspondence with his leadership from the foreign intelligence service in his mail. Nevertheless, the tactic of using diplomats as spies by the russians clearly shows that the trade representative simply could not help but be a spy.
Diplomatic passport of a spy-trader / Screenshot from the mail of Oleksandr Potyomkin
According to Volodymyr Ogryzko – the former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine and head of the Center of Russian Studies – 75-80% of the staff of russian foreign diplomatic or other institutions are spies.
This is a well-known fact. Almost all employees of consulates and embassies, all kinds of "rossotrudnichestvo", as well as so-called mass media, are full-time employees of the GRU, SZR and other institutions. The same is true about trade missions, which are the Kremlin's usual "espionage nests", – emphasized the diplomat in a comment for Channel 24.
It was the work of the trade representative and the contacts of the Russian embassy that Vienna only in 2020 started to deport russians spies. Sebastian Kurtz constantly insisted on maintaining good relations with Moscow, and putin's friend Karin Kneisl was almost a direct agent of the Kremlin.
Potyomkin himself, together with numerous colleagues, collected information about anti-Rrussian sanctions and tried to minimize their impact under the pretext that "they interfere with Austria".
Potyomkin collected information on how anti-russian sanctions affect Austria / Potyomkins’ letter from 2015
Together with this routine work, Potyomkin organized the accommodation in diplomatic apartments of various russian-related propagandists and pseudo-political scientists and intelligence officers. In 2019 he settled Olga Naryshkina in the guest house of the trade representation. Naryshkina was a teacher of the International Security Department of Moscow State University and the author of many pseudo-scientific articles on strategic stability and global security. She moved in with her husband Andriy, who is the managing director of RG Consulting LLC to the rosgeology holding.
Request to provide housing to Naryshkin and company / Screenshot from the mail of Oleksandr Potyomkin
Together with the Naryshkin’ family came the relatives of Davyd Oganezov, vice president of the sanctioned russian export center.
Davyd Oganezov's passport / Screenshot from the mail of Oleksandr Potyomkin
Oganezov is the curator of almost all russian exports / Photo from russian pseudo-media
There is information that the activities of Potyomkin and his colleagues from the trade representation were probably not limited exclusively to lobbying russian business. They were also connected with the construction of an agent network. However, russian activist could be subject to sanctions simply by strengthening the interaction between Russia and Europe. After all, every russian company in Austria or Germany, like any investment in russian corporations, is a weapon of the Kremlin. Raiffeisen Bank, which was so successfully integrated into Russia with the support of the Putin regime, is currently financing the murders of ukrainian children in full swing, but it receives excess profits and dreams of continuing the business. And what if the issue is not only greed, but also influence on the bank's management on the part of some trade representatives, ambassadors or other "diplomats"?
How to solve all problems? Change citizenship!
Potyomkin remained as russia's trade representative until the end of April 2021, after which he traveled and rested a lot, attended the opera and continued to invest in securities on the moscow stock exchange.
Order on the dismissal of Potyomkin from the position of trade representative of Russia in Austria / Screenshot from the mail of Oleksandr Potyomkin
However, a few days before the full-scale invasion the ex trade representative "suddenly" remembered his Jewish roots and began to wonder how to become a repatriate.
Potyomkin’s intentions were quite clear. He had no desire to lose his bohemian way of life, as well as not being able to manage his real estate in Germany, nor have the opportunity to use bank accounts under sanctions. Instead, having received an Israeli passport, he could easily use it as needed, move freely through civilized countries, and legally distance himself from his ties to Moscow.
The list of documents for an application for repatriation, which Potyomkin collected 5 days before the full-scale invasion / Screenshot from the mail of Oleksandr Potyomkin
In March 2022, Potyomkin together with his wife, daughter and grandchildren quietly emigrated to Israel, where he rented an apartment in Haifa. The intelligence financier took his sister and mother out of Ukraine and settled them in his own apartment in Bavarian Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Potyomkin wrote to the Germans who helped their relatives settle in Germany:
Of course, I am against this terrible war of Russia against Ukraine. Therefore, in March of this year, Tatyana and I emigrated from Russia to Israel, where it is already possible to obtain local citizenship. We are currently in Haifa, Israel, but hope to see you in Garmish this year.
Making a shart 180 degree turn when you work for Russia all your life, and after a full-scale invasion you suddenly condemn the war in communication with Europeans / Screenshot from the mail of Oleksandr Potyomkin
It is clear that, having Jewish roots, the influential russian ex-diplomat did not have any problems with legalization in Israel. He was quickly given repatriation documents, and later – full citizenship.
Israeli documents of Potyomkin and his wife / Screenshot from the mail of Oleksandr Potyomkin
However, certain problems did arise with the passport. After Potyomkin submitted all the documents, he simply returned to "hated" Moscow for a few months. When he flew to Haifa again, he immediately began to complain to the curator about delays in payments and lack of subsidies, because "poor repatriates need support."
Complaint to the curator from a "poor" financier / Screenshot from the mail of Oleksandr Potyomkin
It is clear that the "patriot of Israel'' very quickly forgets the existence of this passport when it comes to, for example, real estate or money in his native swamps. So, in the request to register his daughter in moscow at 22 Zoologichnaya Street, Potyomkin writes about himself and his relatives as citizens of Russia.
Application regarding the residence permit of Potyomkin's daughter, with nor a single word about Israeli citizenship / Screenshot from the mail of Oleksandr Potyomkin
Of course, at the time of submitting this document, both the ambassador himself and his daughter already had Israeli passports.
Documents of Israeli citizen Olga Potyomkina / Screenshot from the mail of Oleksandr Potyomkin
When he has to visit, for example, Germany, Potyomkin makes another 180 degree turn again and becomes an Israeli - after all, russians are not allowed in civilized countries.
Potyomkin's ticket for a flight from Tel Aviv to Munich and back / Screenshot from the mail of Oleksandr Potyomkin
Moreover, a russian with double citizenship has no problems with banking services. Because in September 2022 he became a client of Raiffeisen Bank.
Potyomkin's account at Raiffeisen bank / Screenshot from the mail of Oleksandr Potyomkin
Moreover, Israel is happy to pass payments in rubles at least through the "Golden Crown" service.
Receipt for the transfer of 100,742 rubles from Russia to Israel / Screenshot from the mail of Oleksandr Potyomkin
Potyomkin is just fine
So as you can see, there are simply no serious problems for a russian who has devoted his whole life to strengthening the aggressor country, as well as its expansion into various European countries.
No matter how much he told his European friends about not supporting the war, no matter how much he hid behind dual citizenship, he did not stop investing in the economy of the terrorist state even for a minute. He continues to buy securities on the russian stock market, pays utility bills, and supports the war in every possible way, at least by paying taxes of hundreds of thousands of rubles.
Paid tax receipts to the Treasury of Russia for July 2022 / Screenshot from the mail of Oleksandr Potyomkin
Potyomkin owns real estate in Russia, his son will not be sent to die in Ukraine, and he himself receives a pension, aid from Israel, rides in expensive cars and enjoys his favorite opera at the moment when russian missiles hit high-rise buildings with civilians in Ukraine.
Every evening, a traitor to Ukraine unlocks his iPhone, reads the "foreign agency" pseudo-media RBC, and buys federal loan bonds to help Putin's state fight. Fortunately, Raiffeisen Bank does not even charge a brokerage commission for the purchase of such securities, because it cares about supporting the economy of a terrorist country. After all, if the russia collapses or is unable to conduct combat operations, the income of the Austrian financial institution will be significantly reduced.Raiffeisen Bank cares a lot about the russian economy and is ready to support it in every way / Screenshot from the mail of Oleksandr Potyomkin
And with the interest rate received from the deals, Potyomkin will buy a toy gun for his grandson Sasya (as his family affectionately calls the seven-year-old boy), gently pat him on the head, and tell some fable about great Russia.
There certainly are many “moneyclad” Potyomkins scattered around the world, who did everything for moscow to have the opportunity to wage wars of aggression. But they condemn aggression only somewhere abroad, when they need it. Meanwhile in Russia they conduct business, and at the same time enjoy all the benefits of civilization, because, unfortunately, there still are countries that issue passports to such persons. And we are talking not only about Israel.