Minister can’t reveal names of Russian-paid politicians


Home affairs minister Hugo de Jonge cannot reveal the names of politicians allegedly involved in the pay-for-propaganda scandal, he told MPs ahead of Tuesday’s debate on the subject.

De Jonge said in a briefing to parliament on Monday that the cabinet had had contact with the Czech authorities at the weekend and no names “of Dutch people or organisations” were made known to it.

According to Czech intelligence service BIS, Dutch politicians are among politicians from six European countries who were paid to spread pro-Russian information by far-right news website the Voice of Europe by speaking out against support for Ukraine and the European Union.

The site had a key role in a campaign to affect “territorial integrity, sovereignty and freedom” ahead of the European elections in June, BIS claimed.

BIS did not name any names but it has been widely suggested that Forum voor Democratie leader Thierry Baudet and FvD MEP Marcel de Graaff, who have often given interviews to the site and made no secret of their support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, could be among the politicians involved. Both have denied the allegations.

The FvD has also been sanctioned by parliament for failing to publish all the party’s sources of funding.

De Jonge said he wouldn’t name names in a reaction to questions from PVV leader Geert Wilders about which politicians and parties were involved.

Wilders, who was interviewed by the Voice of Europe and in 2018 praised the site for its “unique and valuable work”, was among the first to demand clarification from the home affairs minister. He also denies any financial involvement with the website.

De Jonge said no details, including names, will be forthcoming but that any relevant information will be shared with Dutch intelligence service AIVD.

“Rest assured that the AIVD will act when necessary,” the minister said in the briefing.

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