Official statement by Yuri Kofner concerning media allegations

_ Yuri Kofner, editor-in-chief, analytical media “Eurasian Studies”. Munich, 21 August 2019.

Official statement – rectification

Since 2015 various Western newspapers and media outlets have been publishing slanderous articles with the deliberate purpose of distorting the truth or telling outright lies about my persona and my activities.

The aim of such “reporting”, as far as I can understand, is that these fake news by any means necessary want to wrongfully and maliciously construe an image of “Russian interference” and of vast Moscow-led networks across Europe. Such a Russian influence upon internal European affairs simply does not exist and the purpose of this unfounded narrative is to artificially create the image of a foreign enemy.

Because I have always championed better relations between Europe and Russia, every effort has been made by these agitators to discredit my activities.

Since these false and vicious articles have not ceased yet, I consider myself forced to answer them with the following statement and refutation:

Fact is, I am not, nor have I ever been a member of the Identitarian Movement and I have never participated in their activities. Furthermore, I am not and never have been a member of any political party or organization.

Fact is that from 2015 to 2017 I did conduct interviews for the German printed journal “Compact”. One of these interviews was indeed with Martin Sellner, the head of the Identarian Movement in Austria. However, doing an interview with someone does not mean sharing that person’s opinions. Among other things, I also interviewed Hamid Karzai, former President of Afghanistan; Nabil Fahmy, former Foreign Minister of Egypt; Wolfgang Gehrke, Member of the German Bundestag from “The Left”, and others. Furthermore, since 2017 I have not been active for “Compact”.

Fact is that in 2015 I founded the “Center for Continental Cooperation” as a side-hobby. However, during its short existence this internet portal was never registered as a legal entity. Its sole objective was to promote East-West cooperation trough articles and scientific discussions. We also organized small round tables at the Moscow State University for International Relations (MGIMO), where I was a student at the time. All events were purely student-related and scientific in nature. At one of these events Maxim Dvorak-Stocker participated as an exchange student. This was my only contact ever with Maxim Dvorak-Stocker. I was glad about the participation of a German student in our event and it would not even have come to my mind to check the background of all German students in Moscow (of which there are not so many).

Furthermore, I do not receive, neither have I ever received any financial support from anyone for the publications and activities of this organization.

Fact is that in 2017 I have terminated the “Center for Continental Cooperation” and discontinued all of its activities – both publicly and internally.

At the same time I founded the economic analytical media “Eurasian Studies” the aim of which is to provide the English speaking research community with objective analytical publications about integration processes and cooperation in the wider Eurasian space, in particular about the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), as well as about the concept of a common economic space between the EU and the EAEU. This portal focuses primarily on issues of foreign trade and regional economic integration.

Also, for the publications and actvities of “Eurasian Studies” I do not receive, nor have I ever received any financial support from anyone. Everything that I have done so far, I have done with my own modest means and solely on my own personal initiative.

Fact is that I only once had a meeting with Algis Klimatis, which was in Vienna, to discuss his book on European continentalism, which had interested me since it touched on the issue of a common space from Lisbon to Vladivostok. Again, at that time I knew nothing about his alleged background. I do not have the habit of scrutinizing people on the Internet before meeting them.

Fact is that I do not share, nor have I ever shared Alexander Dugin’s views. Over many years I have vehemently criticized them publicly in my articles and interviews. I strongly believe that Alexander Dugin’s interpretations do the Eurasianist idea and the process of contemporary Eurasian integration more harm, than they benefit them. I have alway been in stiff opposition to him and therefore the accusations that I would be his follower are especially offensive to me.

Fact is that the pictures with me in “full combat gear and with heavy weapons” are nothing more than photos when I participated in airsoft sport.

Fact is that the above-mentioned false accusations, which the fake media have been disseminating about myself and my activities, all stem from 2015 and are no older than that. Now, in 2019, they have been reciting and reusing the same untrue allegations for more than four years. This once again proves the fact that these media outlets desperately try to construe the image of an alleged “Russian interference and network” in Europe and to discredit the idea of mutually beneficial economic cooperation between the European Union and the EAEU.

Fact is that I am a young researcher and economist. From 2015 I have been working for the Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Vienna on a renowned research project on the challenges and opportunities of potential deeper economic cooperation between the EU and the EAEU. In 2017, even though I am still only a PhD student, I became the head of the Eurasian sector (i.e. the academic chair for Eurasian economic integration) at the National Research University “Higher School of Economics” in Moscow. I have more than 20 scientific publications on regional economic integration, as well as certificates from the Eurasian Economic Commission, the Eurasian Development Bank, the Astana Financial Center and the German Bundesbank.

I support the principles of social market economy, democracy, rule of law, transparency and equal opportunities. Furthermore, I am an ardent supporter of European and Eurasian integration.

Once again, I would like to state that I do not share any extreme right-wing views and that I have no contacts with people or organizations that have such. These accusations are especially ludicrous and vile in view of my Jewish heritage.

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