There are four individuals that are worth illuminating within the organizational leadership structure: Konstantin Malofeev, Michael Yakushev, Father Tikhon, and Alexey Komov. Presently sanctioned by the EU, UK & US, Konstantin Malofeev (a/k/a the “Orthodox Oligarch”) serves as the Founder of St. Basil. In addition to serving as the founder, he possesses 50%+ ownership of the following entities: St. Basil, Safe Internet League, Marshall Capital Partners, Tsargrad Conglomerate, and Gilroy Trading Company.
The VP of Saint Basil is Michael Yakushev, a sanctioned individual, who occupies positions of leadership in Katehon (sanctioned) and Vladimir Yakunin’s St. Andrews First Foundation. Standing as one of the leading lights of modern anti-Western conspiracy theology, Russian Bishop Tikhon (Shevkunov)–a/k/a “Putin’s Confessor”–has become an instrument of the Kremlin’s power schematic; in particular, there are two notable developments, amongst many, involving Bishop Tikhon: his receiving of $332 million dollars (20 billion Rubles) from Russia’s government and state owned companies and his complicity with Malofeev in providing support to Donbas separatists.
Alexey Komov is not officially listed within the organizational hierarchy; however, he functions as an international liaison by managing various projects on behalf of the organization. Moreover, Mr. Komov occupies leadership positions within World Congress Families (WCF) and CitizenGo, both of which are not without political controversy. And it is through this “traditionalist” vein, via the Komov linchpin, that Malofeev is able to whitewash his as well as Russia’s reputation while simultaneously laundering weaponized narratives into the EU and US discourse.
The constellation of activities associated with this charitable foundation and its founder are aptly characterized by iStories:
“This foundation is famous for its fundamentalist initiatives. For example, it was he [Tikhon] who became the founder of the Safe Internet League, an organization that stands at the origins of censorship in RUnet. Back in 2014, the Fund collected humanitarian aid for the self-proclaimed LDNR, the main instigators of the unrest that Russia then staged in eastern Ukraine are associated with it. For example, the first prime minister of the DPR, Alexander Borodai, was an adviser to Malofeev. And Igor Strelkov (Girkin), who began hostilities with the capture of the Ukrainian Slavyansk, and then was the Minister of Defense of the DPR, worked in the Malofeev Foundation.”
And the U.S. Treasury has described Malofeev’s efforts in the following manner:
“Subject to sanctions by the U.S. and a number of other jurisdictions, Malofeyev has needed to rely on a vast global network of cut-outs and proxies to attempt to evade sanctions and conduct malign influence activities. Today, OFAC is taking action against that support network.”
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 St. Basil the Great Foundation's senior leadership and its direct as well as indirect activities warrant the designation of this organization as a “high-risk NGO”. Therefore, St. Basil has been placed onto the Institute for European Integrity’s NGO Watchlist.