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After filming in Italy over the summer, John and the Byline TV team have decided to enlarge the project into one complete film now call Kompromat. As John says:
Kompromat – to capture compromising material and blackmail a target – is an old KGB term. Russia’s soldiers of the night have been trained to understand, to sniff out human weakness and use it as a weapon to get at their enemies: us and especially our leaders. Kompromat often uses sex but, a former British intelligence officer told me, it can be very much more sophisticated, using flattery, pride, love, sense of loss.
Right now, we are in a kompromat war with Russia. The only problem is we don’t know we are at war. And how are we are doing in this war we don’t know we are fighting? Not well, not well at all.John Sweeney
Help us reach our stretch target for the full film. We need your support, your money, your help to tell this story in the most powerful medium available to us, a documentary film.
The original pitch from December 2020
The Perugia Candidate
The Perugia Candidate is a 30-minute no-holds-whatsoever barred investigative documentary into the strange and troubling friendship between the son of a KGB colonel – they never get to retire – and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Boris Johnson so cherishes his friend Evgeny Lebedev that he has made him a lord. Johnson, as Mayor London and Foreign Secretary, has been to Evgeny’s Palazzo Terranova in Umbria at least six times. Twice, he’s left his Met Police protection officers back in Blighty, raising the question whether he might be the subject of a sex kompromat operation by his friend’s dad’s old service. It was the Russian secret state do for a living, after all.
And then there’s the money. Boris Johnson has told friends he’s skint. With an expensive divorce and an unknown number of children dependent on him, is it possible that Johnson has placed himself in a financially vulnerable position – a potential prey to the shadowy forces written about in the Russia Report by the House of Commons Intelligence Committee?
Da, as they say in Moscow.
“Lord” Lebedev and his father Alexander, the former KBG man, are consistent in one thing only: they have never, ever uttered a word of criticism in public about the master of the Kremlin, Vladimir Putin. Fancy that.
The KGB/FSB deny any wrongdoing. As does everybody else.
All Aboard The Oligarch Express
“Russian influence in British politics is the new normal” says the House of Commons Intelligence Committee. If you doubt the truth of that look around. Beneficiaries of oligarch largesse – directly or indirectly – include David Cameron, George Osborne, Bob Jenrick, Boris Johnson, Lord Mandelson, John Whittingdale, Uncle Tom Cobbley and all.
There is no such thing as anti-Kremlin Russian oligarch. They are all in hock and in fear of Vladimir Putin. So when a Russian oligarch or his wife pays for a game of tennis with the British prime minister, the Kremlin and the KGB/FSB are watching. They, ultimately, pay for the tennis balls.
Not since the Nazis used their money and influence to subvert democracies in the thirties has there been such a massive and well-funded influence-peddling game. The Kremlin, in the hands of Vladimir Putin, is a big supporter of far-right parties and causes. And so, effectively, are his cut-out cronies and his oligarchs. All concerned deny wrongdoing.
Treason Doth Never Prosper
“Treason Doth Never Prosper. Because, if it prosper, none dare call in treason.”
In the final programme in our All The Kremlin’s Men series we look at those British figures who have got close up and personal with the men with snow on their boots. Figures like Arron Banks, the car insurance king of Catbrain Lane, Bristol, who funded Britain’s biggest ever political donation to Leave.Eu Banks has a Russian wife, visited the Russian embassy a number of times, mixed with Russian businessmen and owns two flats overlooking the Royal Navy base at Portsmouth with his wife through an off-shore entity, Ural Properties. All very British.
Also very British is Dominic Cummings, Prime Minister Johnson’s consigliere. He spent three years in Russia and his own account of his time there makes no sense. What is extraordinary is that now enjoys complete access to Whitehall’s corridors of power but cannot be in a position to assure the security service vetters that the KGB/FSB have no file on him.
There’s more, much more. There are secrets to be told, things the Kremlin and its creatures do not want whispered. To find out what they are, please crowdfund our film investigations.