Institute of Democracy and Cooperation in Paris

Last updated: 18/09/2023
Location: Paris, France
Address 1: 63 bis Rue de Varenne 75007
Mission Statement

“The Institute broadly defends a conservative outlook on human rights and international relations. It believes that the nation-state is the best framework for the realisation of human rights and that "humanitarian intervention" is often counter-productive. It is attached to the classical understanding of international law based on sovereignty and non-interference. At the same time, it believes that the political order should be underpinned by a moral perspective, and specifically by the Judeo-Christian ethic which unites both the Eastern and Western parts of the European continent.”

The Institute of Democracy and Cooperation in Paris (a/k/a “IDCP” or “IDC”) was founded in 2008 by Russian attorney Anatoliy Kucherena. In addition to having purportedly acted as Putin’s doverennoe litso (trusted representative) during the 2012 and 2018 Russian presidential elections, Mr. Kucherena has handled high-profile cases relevant to the Kremlin such as former NSA contractor turned Russian citizen Edward Snowden and Ukrainian president-turned-fugitive Viktor Yanukovych. Adding to his many achievements, the Ukrainian National Agency on Corruption Prevention has characterized IDCP’s founder as a high-level individual who works within entities that are “…providing financial support to actions that undermine Ukraine’s security, sovereignty, and independence.”

IDCP as a combined organizational whole has maintained limited staff. What it lacks in terms of manpower is alleviated by the milieu it traffics in with other pro-Kremlin organizations. Moreover, these networks tend to share, as well as recycle, senior leadership yielding a convergence on numerous issues. IDCP presents a variety of concerning issues such as the following: 1: undisclosed government support; 2: senior leadership possessing close links to ultranationalists; and 3: participation in well-known disinformation media ecosystems and serving as a fake observer for biased elections.

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In addition to its undisclosed funding sources, IDCP appears to operate predominantly as a two-person team involving the following individuals: at its helm is Director Natalia Narochnitskaya, while John Laughland fills the role of Director of Studies. According to a leaked diplomatic cable from Wikileaks, the founder of IDCP Anatoliy Kucherena confirmed that the Government of Russia would be providing financial support to the organization; furthermore, circa 2014, John Laughland stated that the Foundation for Historical Outlook in Moscow, whose president is Ms. Narochnitskaya, would provide funds. Ms. Narochnitskaya is a former Soviet diplomat, an erstwhile Rodina member turned prominent far-right figure and, until quite recently, a trustee for the now-sanctioned Russkiy Mir Foundation. John Laughland offers amplification and outreach into the UK political conservative sphere by offering a Eurosceptic perception on a variety of issues that are often girded by an extreme national sovereignty philosophy.

Outside of Mr. Laughland and Ms. Narochnitskaya serving as experts for the Russian Valdai Club, both can be traced back to overlapping tenures on certain projects involving or indirectly connected to sanctioned Russian ultranationalist Alexander Dugin. Before being rebranded as Sputnik, the Voice of Russia housed all three of these individuals as political commentators that could be counted on to offer their opinions. One major ideological overlap, between Narochnitskaya and Dugin, comes in the form of the Izborsky Club, a far-right think-tank founded by Alexander Prokhanov; his aim at the time of writing was to unite “white” and “Red” Russians, an attempt to align elements at both ends of the political spectrum. The Italian journal Geopolitica is, according to expert Anton Shekhovtsov, an extreme right-wing journal whose founder also happens to be a member of the high council belonging to the International Eurasian Movement that is led by Dugin; moreover, in 2014, both Laughland and Narochnitskaya sat on Geopolitica’s Scientific Committee. Michel Chossudovsky, a fellow alumunus of Gepolitica, Russia Today (RT), and Voice of Russia, is the founder and ideological driver of Global Research, a well-known site that’s become enmeshed in narrative laundering operations encompassing fringe ideas as well as conspiracy theories, to say nothing of Dugin and Laughland being listed as authors.

Less than a week after Russia passed a law banning the distribution of "propaganda" promoting "non-traditional sexual relationships” to minors, IDCP convened a roundtable on the topic of “the decline of family values ​​in Europe, as well as the Russian view of the problem and the measures taken by the Russian authorities to preserve the institution of the family, for which the Russian government was severely criticized by the liberal elites of the West.” Then-deputy of the Italian parliament Luca Volonte, amongst other political figures, attended this roundtable. Presenting himself as a defender of natural law and family values, Mr. Volonte and his foundation Novae Terrae (established 2013) are linked to anti-gender disinformation and the Russian-Azerbaijani laundromat, resulting in the former-deputies’ prison sentence and banishment from the Council of Europe in 2021. IDCP would then host, in 2017, renowned conspiratorial journalist and avowed Ghouta, Syria chemical attack denier Vanessa Beesely, allowing her to evangelize nonsensical theories. A former Serena-Shim recipient, Ms. Beesely received the award for her “uncompromised integrity in journalism.” The award has historically been given to those espousing pro-Assad regime viewpoints that serve, knowingly or not, to also further Kremlin narratives. While not officially listed on IDCP’s website, Maurice Bonnot served as a fake observer for a biased Russian election in 2018, along with members from the Franco-Russian Dialogue. Lastly, there exist numerous appearances by Mr. Laughland on RT, a Kremlin-funded and now-EU sanctioned entity espousing anti-Western lines.

Third sector organizations such as nonprofits, think tanks, or foundations possessing meaningful links to or behaviours consistent with: malign influence and finance; financial and organised crime; narrative or reputation laundering; or espionage, amongst others, may morally corrode the nonprofit space. Additionally, any organization engaged in or associated with such activities can potentially serve as a vector for undermining western institutions and values as well as transatlantic relationships. Open-source information indicates Institute of Democracy and Cooperation in Paris' senior leadership and its direct as well as indirect activities warrant the designation of this organization as a “high-risk NGO”. Therefore, IDCP has been placed onto the Institute for European Integrity’s NGO Watchlist.


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