Boris Berezovsky: Godfather of Strategy-31 Abroad?

The agents of Berezovsky organizing Strategy-31 Abroad.

In recent months, there has coalesced yet another, fleeting Russian liberal movement, focused on holding (unsanctioned) protests on the last day of the month to draw attention to the 31st article of the Constitution guaranteeing freedom of assembly. As is usually the case with other sagas in the (largely illusory & irrelevant) “Kremlin Regime vs Noble Liberals” narrative, Strategy-31 is something between theater and circus; a show in which the liberals provoke the authorities in front of TV cameras (of which there is no shortage), and the police happily take the bait, obliging them with an evening-detention PR martyrdom.

At this point, one may ask, “Can it possibly get any more farcical?” It certainly can, courtesy of exiled oligarch Boris Berezovsky: this August 31, his agents and “dissident” fellows, Alexander Goldfarb and Andrei Sidelnikov, are bringing Strategy-31 to the West, especially to the Russian Embassy at 6/7 Kensington Palace Gardens, W8 4QP, at 6-7pm GMT. Who are these guys? Goldfarb is a close Berezovsky confidante, responsible for dispensing money to a cluster of anti-Kremlin websites and “HR foundations”; in 2006, he managed the PR surrounding the death of Litvinenko and likely authored the dying defector’s j’accuse letter to Putin. Sidelnikov was the one-time leader of Pora! (“It’s Time!”), a liberal opposition movement in Russia, whose namesake belonged to a Ukrainian organization whose warm bodies and US intel-NGO tactics abetted the Orange Revolution. He met Litvinenko two days before his poisoning, and is close to Berezovsky on his own admission.

Now back to the Strategy-31 Abroad project. The original initiative came on August 1 from Alex Goldfarb, who suggested a new strategy centered around the picketing of Russian embassies in the West on his LJ blog. After all, he wrote, if Cuban and Iranian exiles demonstrate from London and Washington, why isn’t the Russian diaspora doing the same against the “Kremlin regime”? He opined that the main problem wasn’t apathy, but the lack of an “organizational impulse”. He proceeded to rectify this issue two days later, starting the LJ blog Strategy-31 Abroad to coordinate the protests at the Russian embassies.

Sidelnikov too got in on the action, creating Strategy-31 Abroad on Facebook on August 3 (it was deleted on August 26, probably for Terms of Use violations, since Facebook requires member profiles to represent real people). The day after, the LJ blog London Strategy-31 followed. Over the month, they managed to kick up an “organizational impulse” alright: today, Russian liberals (and Georgians, journalists, etc) abroad are planning to picket Russian embassies in London, New York, BerlinTel Aviv, and perhaps a few other cities on August 31.

Using Facebook, Sidelnikov invited many of the Russian students at the London University system to the Strategy-31 protest at the Russian Embassy. It’s not clear whether their attendance, should it materialize in big numbers – based on my experience, I would hazard that the vast majority would rather while their time away at a pub – would be funny, ironic, or tragic. First, many of them are privileged children of the nomenklatura that owes their ill-gotten gains to Putinism, the very system that doles out the rents that allows them to send their brood to Western universities. They would sooner be protesting against themselves than anything else. Second, at least the (unsanctioned) Strategy-31 protests in Russia have some (minimal) meaning: the folks at Triumfalnaya risk being arrested and spending a few hours cooling their heels at a police station, and a few might even get a broken bone or two. Though Western police forces are quite happy arresting and beating anti-globalization and environmental protesters, they will never touch the anti-Kremlin demonstrators who serve their masters’ geopolitical interests. Third, the main organizational drive behind these protests come from two explicit agents, admirers and fellows of exiled oligarch Boris Berezovsky – a thief of the century, and quite possibly the murderer of the journalists Vladislav Listyev and Paul Klebnikov, who now cloaks his personal vendetta against Putin in the flowery language of freedom and “civil liberties“.

Godfather of Strategy-31 Abroad?

Godfather of Strategy-31 Abroad?

That’s their great power. These guys have mastered self-serving hypocrisy to something of an art form, as I observed in Andrei Sidelnikov’s responses to liberal-skeptic queries from myself and others (that thread was deleted when Facebook wiped the Strategy-31 profile, but fortunately I’ve saved some screenshots).

First, he flatly denied any questionable connections: “The London protest doesn’t have any relation to Alex Goldfarb or Berezovsky, surprise, surprise!” Surprise indeed, given the not insubstantial evidence to the contrary!

In response to a question about why he was doing it in London, so far away from Moscow, Sidelnikov explained, “Why? Because I have democratic views and a conscience… It doesn’t matter whether the protest happens in Moscow, London or wherever”. As for his shady ties: “Yes, there’s lots of information on the Internet about where, with whom and what I worked on,” Sidelnikov writes, “Yes, in my time I worked with Berezovsky and I’m not at all ashamed of it, to the contrary, I’m proud my life crossed paths with such a person!”

Finding it difficult to understand how one could reconcile hero-worship of Berezovsky with a democratic conscience, I informed Sidelnikov that I can’t have anything politically in common with someone who takes pride in working with a major criminal. With a smile, he replied, “Maybe Berezovsky also drinks the blood of infants in the morning?”

Finally, in response to Sleboda’s question about why he was protesting against Russia in Britain, as opposed to taking on causes relevant to his own newly adopted country, Sidelnikov replied, “I had to leave Russia at the end of 2007, because I didn’t want to go to prison for my politics. As for how Britain treats demonstrators, I guess I’ll find out on the 31st. I haven’t yet participated in any protests in England, so I’ll get the chance to check it out… I have quite a bit of experience in Russia, so I’ll have a yardstick for comparison!” …

… No further comment necessary.

And it comes back round to Sidelnikov denying that Berezovsky funded his Pora! organization, thus closing this conversation’s loop.

By the end of this investigation, I think there are more questions than there were at the beginning. For instance, what are Sidelnikov’s real motives: is he a deluded knave, a political manipulator in his own right, or even the altruistic campaigner for democracy and human rights that he claims to be? And what is Berezovsky’s level of involvement in Strategy-31 Abroad: is it deep, or tangential, or is the entire project something that Goldfarb and Sidelnikov hatched up on their own, as independent agents? There’s still no definitive answers to these questions, and unfortunately, I doubt one can find much more by digging through the Internet.

Addendum: This article has been translated into Russian at Inosmi.Ru (Борис Березовский: крестный отец “Стратегии-31” за границей?) and into French by Alexandre Latsa (Boris Berezovsky: Parrain de Strategy 31 à l’étranger?).


  1. Anatoly, thanks to you (and also Mark Sleboda) for continuing to research and expose these creeps (Berezovsky and his friends I am referring to, of course). I have always just assumed (without proof) that these guys work for British intelligence with the aim of destabilizing Russia. But why would they organize these protests in London? It doesn’t make any sense. It’s a real mystery. Please keep digging, and maybe try to figure out. Good job!

  2. Было бы классно, если бы agootreaty или Марк Адоманис сходили на митинг у посольства в Вашингтоне и потом написали об этом… 🙂

    Если он там состоится, конечно.

    • Is one happening in DC today? I can’t find an address or time…

    • I remember reading on the Strategy 31 Abroad blog, or their Facebook page, that some couple – IIRC, surname Birman – were planning to show up at the SF Consulate. But nobody replied.

      I’d have probably come if it was big, like in London, but if it’s just them lot showing up – thanks but no thanks.

  3. I think he ordered the deaths of Listyev, Klebnikov, Litvinenko, and Patarkatsishvili, and the British government is covering up the evidence. The most dangerous mafia boss is right there in London.

    • Hi, surtur, I agree with your opinion, except for Litvinenko. I think Berezovsky whacked the others you mentioned, but not Litvinenko, because they were buddies. When it first went down, I wanted to believe that Berezovsky did it, but then there was that whole farcical story with Lugovoi, and the Russian government protecting Lugovoi and even making sure he was elected to Duma so he would have diplomatic immunity and could not be extradited. So even a child had to admit eventually that FSB must have sent Lugovoi to London to with a vial of polonium to kill Litvinenko.
      I am disapproving of the way it was done, because it is dangerous and irresponsible to bring a radioactive substance into a populated area. Rather, once they sat down to dinner, Lugovoi should have simply slipped digitalis into Litvinenko’s martini, just like they do in the James Bond movies…

      • Lugovoi does not need to be in the Duma to avoid extradition because it is unconstitutional to extradite any citizen of the RF. Also, there were reports of polonium traces in Zakayev’s car – perhaps a Chechen mafia smuggling operation.

        The exact source of polonium is easily identifiable, but the British government has not shared any of that information. Remember, the Bliars had no problem lying to people to start the war in Iraq. They cannot be trusted.

      • I always wondered about one thing regarding the poisoning of Litvinenko. Why did they not go for Boris, if they could pull such a stunt on Litvinenko? Litvinenko was less known and probably not so much of a high profile figure anyway.

    • I think it is pretty obvious he was smuggling Plutonium as even the Jamestown Foundation in the 90’s admitted the Chechen mafia was involved in Plutonium smuggling and the Balkans among every other crime has a history of trafficking Plutonium.

      Wayne Masden using Italian news and newspaper report has detailed Berezovsky, Oleg former KGB colonial guy, Scaramelo and former CIA individuals who are now working in the private sector are involved in some shady activities.

      Revelation’s since the Litvenenko incident have revealed that:

      He was an MI6 agent.

      The testing place were Litvevnenko and Yuchenko were tested in London is reported to have ties to MI6 and Goldfarb help conduct the tests.

      His Italian counterpart Scaramelo was arrested by Italian police for weapons trafficking.

      The café where he was reportedly poisoned by Plutonium spiked tea he didn’t even drink tea and he and Lugovoi both visited a private security firm linked to MI6.

      Traces were found of Plutonium in places he visited before he meet Lugavoi.

      Highest concentration Plutonium was in his house where his family were not able to live in for a year. Wouldn’t the highest concentration be where he was allegedly poisoned?

      Where is all the CCTV footage? It is reported the average Londoner is filmed 300 times a day.

      Why did he wait 20 days before contacting the police if he believed he was being targeted for murder?

      The official narrative has been totally debunked and the evidence presented to Russia for extradition is weak with not even a toxicology report.

      • I think it goes without saying that Litvinenko worked for MI6 – duh! Your scenario is very plausible, but the one thing that doesn’t make sense is Lugovoi’s role in this comedy. If Lugovoi is shady character, then why did he get elected to Duma? If he is upstanding Russian citizen, then why was he meeting with a gangster like Litvinenko? Is a mystery…

  4. ‘After all, he wrote, if Cuban and Iranian exiles demonstrate from London and Washington, why isn’t the Russian diaspora doing the same against the “Kremlin regime”?’

    Well, for starters, Russia never imprisoned people for simply dissenting.

  5. Say what you will about Berezovsky, but the man really knows what dedication is 🙂

    • LOL. Cool thing to do at the next S-31 London protest for someone with balls: get a big placard, saying “Out with thieves, fraudsters, and murderers of journalists (e.g. Listyev, Klebnikov)”, and go stand next to BAB and his French Foreign Legion bodyguards.

  6. Mark Sleboda says:
  7. How interesting, I just wrote a blog post about this subject–though I dare say that your post is a bit more interesting than mine! I don’t like Berezovsky one bit–the thought that he lives free in London sickens me because he is a criminal of the worst sort.

    • Natalie, you silly Kremlin stooge, Berezovsky is a persecuted entrepreneur who loves freedom. British intelligence is hard at work exposing the real criminals: the Russian-paid agents who sow the seeds of doubt about the totalitarian, imperial nature of Putinism! Why don’t you praise their patriotic work in defense of the West? Is it, by any chance, because you’re a Russian agent yourself!?

      • I’m the Russian. If you find Natalie the Russian agent, then every Russian is the agent too. Because we know who is berezovsky. But you are right: he loves the freedom, i.e. when it is possible to rob everything without any punishment. When it is possible in the Russia (90th) he lived in the Russia, as soon as it becomes impossible, he left the Russia and proclaimed himself the political refugee.

        • Cool down, Sergey.
          Вы просто не врубились в саркастичность моего коммента. 😉

          • Иоп. Я вот было подумал, что это сарказм… :o)))
            Ну ладно, так даже лучше 😉

      • Anatoly, you figured it out: I’m obviously a Russian agent, recruited back when I first visited Russia. And now I’m set loose to wreak havoc on the unsuspecting world 😉

      • Be careful of making an epithet of “Kremlin stooge”, if you please – you’re cutting into my endorsements. How do you expect me to sell soap made of genuine 31 Dissidents if you’re broadcasting the fiction that Kremlin stooges are many in number and varied in their plumbing?

  8. Come to a meeting in a mosque. In the hands of the torus. You’re in a free country and everyone loves you! And all will be fine!

    Congrats, Anatoly, on your article translated in INOSMI.
    You rock (and so does INOSMI!)

  10. Okay, Anatoly, I think I just figured out why damn blog is blocking my futile attempts to congratulate you on your INOSMI translation. Does it block my post if I include the URL? Okay, so be it. Everybody check out INOSMI this morning, translation of AK’s Berezovsky article, you can find it without my help, I think. Also, majority of Russian comments show sentiments fairly similar to majority of English ones!

    • Sorry – yes, I guess Akismet thought it was spam. I disabused it of that silly notion! But this does happen. I would recommend, perhaps, using HTML to create hyperlinks, e.g. like this (plus they look nicer than copy/paste).
      I noticed the INOSMI piece too, thanks, I’ve put it up at the top of the article.

  11. Anatly, you may want to look at this link (see the links at the bottom there too)
    Berezovsky must be a NatzBol … ( or, if he is a God Father, then NatzBols are Cosa Nostra). (a Russian Joke, don’t worry; a good post 🙂


  12. Look for the American connection to Menetep/Yukos. These people are anarchists that want to dissolve the russian government and allow NATO to dismember the russian land mass. The russian leadership should stop flaking out and deal harshly with those that give them funding and asylum.

  13. To tell the truth, I’ve always found the stories about the evil West trying to split the proud Russian Motherland laughable. First of all, back in the 89-91 the West could do almost anything. And they chose not to do it. Granted, there are some deranged politicians who hate Russia sincerely, like Bzhezinsky, Albright or McCain, who would definitely like the idea. (unsurprisingly, most of them are of Eastern-European origin or hardcore Cold War warriors). But they certainly don’t fully define American foreign policy. Why try to imagine some malevolent intentions of the US towards Russia, when there is already a cut and dried time-tested effective policy, the Washington Consensus.

    It’s really awesome: extreme liberalization gives a huge advantage to big Western corporations, so they can, without any hindrance, extract natural resources, paying only minimal taxes, and collect the money paid in wages by selling cheap Western goods. Without any protective tariffs, local industries don’t stand a chance against such giants as GE, Toyota, etc. Pure profit, in other words. Basically, the Washington Consensus creates an extremely vulnerable economy, where a small part of a population works for Western companies, while the rest live in the state of natural economy. The only problem is often riots and banditry, crippling any economic activity (see the wondrous adventures of oil companies in Nigeria, for example).

    So, any dividing of Russia would only be an impediment to the West. Imagine all the chaos it would bring. Let’s not forget, oil doesn’t magically teleport itself right to America. If I was a Western politician, I would ideally want from Russia this:
    1. Strict implementation of the Washington Consensus.
    2. A strong enough, but controlled government, capable of sustaining some order.
    3. A reduction of the Russian nuclear weapon stockpiles and, ideally, its transfer under Nato’s control.

    Guess who matched the first two points? 🙂

    • Brzezinski is from a noble Polish family in today’s Belarus. To punish the szlachta for the uprisings, the tsars freed their serfs and gave the peasants land the nobles could not take back. Brzezinski is old enough to still hold this grudge over losing his birthright.

      Albright is a Czech Jew whose family fled to Belgrade to avoid the Holocaust. Why does she hate Russians and Serbs (the only reason she is alive)? I don’t know.

      McCain is a neocon, whose campaign had strong ties to the Georgian government. The neocons initially backed McCain when he first ran for president, but switched their backing to Bush when it looked like he would more likely win.

      Neo-liberalism is an attempt to control state capitalism. Nevermind that the United States, Germany, UK, Japan, etc. all utilized state capitalism to grow their industries. It is called the infant industry theory. Eastern block countries have no native industries of their own, and thus, no products available in Western markets. Every time someone (like Thomas Friedman) says that the only products they can think of that come from Russia are vodka and AK47s – that’s also a slap against former communist “friends.”

      • Berezovsky also has strong ties to Gruzian government. So maybe McCain and Mishka are the clowns behind these silly London rallies?

  14. “the only products they can think of that come from Russia are vodka and AK47s”

    Hey! We Russians have superb vodka! 🙂

  15. The Russian translation of this piece is making rounds. I arrived here from ZheZhe blogs. 🙂

    I have two objections however…

    1) “Unsanctioned” should not be in brackets since this is what the rallies in Triumfal’naya are.

    2) While there definitely are those among Russian students in London whose parents are members of the nomenklatura with ill gotten wealth. There are a lot of people whose parents made money in Putin’s Russia, absolutely legally. I have to admit I took this a bit personally… 😉

  16. “the only products they can think of that come from Russia are vodka and AK47s”

    and whose fault is that?

  17. “In recent months, there has coalesced yet another, fleeting Russian liberal movement, focused on holding (unsanctioned) protests on the last day of the month to draw attention to the 31st article of the Constitution guaranteeing freedom of assembly.”

    Protesters don’t NEED sanctions in order to hold a rally/assembly, they merely need to notify authorities of it’s happening prior to the event, thats a right granted under the Russian constitution, the authorities have no right to sanction or not sanction protests, which is why it’s against Russian law for anyone or anything to prevent an assembly of Russian citizens.


      “1) подать в орган исполнительной власти субъекта Российской Федерации или орган местного самоуправления уведомление о проведении публичного мероприятия в порядке, установленном статьей 7 настоящего Федерального закона;

      2) не позднее чем за три дня до дня проведения публичного мероприятия (за исключением собрания и пикетирования, проводимого одним участником) информировать орган исполнительной власти субъекта Российской Федерации или орган местного самоуправления в письменной форме о принятии (непринятии) его предложения об изменении места и (или) времени проведения публичного мероприятия, указанных в уведомлении о проведении публичного мероприятия;

      3) обеспечивать соблюдение условий проведения публичного мероприятия, указанных в уведомлении о проведении публичного мероприятия или измененных в результате согласования с органом исполнительной власти субъекта Российской Федерации или органом местного самоуправления;”

      Why are you lying? It’s clearly stated that an organazer of any public rally should clear the time and place of the event with local authorities, not just notify them. These protesters are always offered alternative places to hold their rally, but they prefer to violate the law anyway.

      • Support of “Tragedy 31” is all based on lies. So it is nothing surprising.

      • I know what happened, and I wasn’t lying, I meant as much by simply saying notify, since it’s obvious the Russophobic people wouldn’t simply come into an office and say ‘hey guys we’re gonna hold a rally, see you there.’
        Yes, the time and place of the event has to be notified as well, and please, inform me why was the place and time unsuitable? Moreover, how would you know what happened there (I’m not doubting anything, I’d just prefer a source)? And since when did the Russian constitution allow for police to disperse peaceful protesters by beating them with their weapons?

        The reason I made the comment is because I hate it how everyone’s going ‘well they didn’t ask for permission, if they had, they wouldn’t have been beaten down with batons’ they don’t need permission, they only need to organize a protest which falls into the legal bounds of the constitution, and submit all necessary notification documents to local authorities.

        Also Leos Tomicek, I in no way support strategy-31, if someone thinks that I do simply because I brought up a fact of the Russian constitution, they’re fucking stupid. While I do not support strategy-31, I believe they certainly do have the right to hold a rally, and the Russian government in no way has the right to stop these rallies as long as they fall into legal protocol. It’s the sort of thing where one goes ‘I don’t agree with you have to say, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it.’

  18. @kovane You, probably wanted to quote article 5-5
    “Организатор публичного мероприятия не вправе проводить его, если уведомление о проведении публичного мероприятия не было подано в срок либо если с органом исполнительной власти субъекта Российской Федерации или органом местного самоуправления не было согласовано изменение по их мотивированному предложению места и (или) времени проведения публичного мероприятия.”

    I would not use “clear it with” because “согласовано” implies a mutual agreement but not a process of getting a permission from some (“орган” :), pardon my French.

    Nevertheless, there is an opinion out there that this article actually contradicts the Constitution – even though the Constitutional Court did not think so AFAIK. As somebody said : both sides (the 31st people and local government) spit on the law, but from the opposite directions..

  19. I suppose “winning” this issue and making the government cave in, allowing that citizens can march and assemble anywhere and anytime they like, would be interpreted as a tremendous liberal victory. What, precisely, do they hope to accomplish beyond forcing the government to capitulate? How would it benefit the Russian people if it was permissible for a protest march to trample straight through any event already in progress at a given venue? Maybe they should have let that happen at the recent motorcycle show at Triumfilnaya. Bikers would have expressed their displeasure in a manner that might have spoiled Nemtsov’s ripped-shirt photo op.

    They’d likely get a lot more public sympathy if they were agitating for a doubling of the minimum wage, or something other than what they perceive to be a loophole in the Constitution.

  20. LR Exposed says:

    Zigfeld is using the term ‘yanks’ again. Maybe Catherine F. is on vacation and the Berezovsky funded UK member of the collective took the lead in maintaing the La Russophobe this week.

    • Could it be Julia Ioffe? Her blog has been suspended for some reason:

      • Unlikely, unless she’s a magnificent actress in print. La Russophobe is extremely limited in imagination, and that low, mean kind of stupid you see in a dog that has been teased. Julia Ioffe isn’t stupid, and pretending to be stupider than you are is really, really hard. Pretending to be smarter than you are is fairly easy.

        Julia Ioffe writes for a lot of other sources besides the former True/Slant, and is probably just too busy to keep current.

  21. If you want to see BB in action, there’s an anti-Russian BBC documentary called “Russian Godfathers.” While it is anti-Russian, the first part (labeled “The Fugitive) shows BB in action trying to subvert Russian politics. Its actually quite amazing watching this man work in all his arrogance.

    Here’s a link:

  22. Straightforward, objective and sane.

    Расцеловал бы коли бы мог.

  23. LR doesn’t seem to match Julia Ioffe’s profile. This person or persons seem too hateful towards her own countrywomen and the translations from ‘Dave Essel’ are too sporadic to be from an actual Russian.

    I used to check the timing of LR comments and it seemed at least one member of the LR zombie team was posting from the UK.

    • As I’ve mentioned before, perhaps not here, adjusting the time to make it look like your post came from the UK is fairly easy. I was a fake Englishman for awhile on LR’s blog, and the account created in gmail automatically punched out the time on comments based on the area code used as a reference (somewhere in London). The tone and the idiot’s logic employed on LR, as well as the forgetting what she complained about two months ago – so you can use her own stories to contradict her – are too similar to come from more than one person. That team thing is a fiction, unless it’s a team of clones.

  24. If you wan’t to understand what is happening in Russia today just research what western countries and there various frontmen and organisations like Soros, NED, etc were doing in the Balkans against the Serbs.