St. Basil the Great Foundation

Last updated: 05/10/2023
Location: Moscow, Russia
Address 1: 142260, Moscow region, Serpukhov district
Mission Statement

The Foundation of St. Basil the Great sees its main goal in the implementation of charitable and educational activities aimed at creating a favorable spiritual and moral environment in Russian society, in strengthening traditional family values, and in the growth and development of the younger generation…In realizing its strategic goal, the Foundation has found a faithful ally in the Russian Orthodox Church.”

The St. Basil the Great Foundation (a/k/a “St. Basil") was established by sanctioned oligarch Konstantin Malofeev in 2007. While the foundation may remain a positive contribution inside of Russia as one of the largest Orthodox charities, its senior leadership and international activity remain a wellspring of controversy due to its strategic conservatism, often positioned narratively as Russia versus the decadent West. With various changes in leadership having occurred throughout the years and the website presently experiencing a “technical break”, an early and near-recent version of the organisation’s leadership structure have been recorded on the WayBack machine. 

St. Basil’s profile contains the following elements: 1: founded and continues to be run by a sanctioned Russian oligarch; 2: two additional sanctioned senior leaders and an international enabler; and 3: behavior consistent with narrative laundering. 


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Often referred to as an Orthodox oligarch, Konstantin Malofeev’s resume is replete with controversy ranging over several international incidents such as, but not limited to, the following: providing material support to an insurgency in Eastern Ukraine; being identified as one of the main Russian financers promoting separatism in Crimea; expulsion from Bulgaria for activities linked to espionage through his Double Headed Eagle Society; and attempted sanctions evasion involving former FOX producer Jack Hanick. 

In addition to his international headlines, Mr. Malofeev has founded and/or been a stakeholder in the following projects: Tsargrad Conglomerate (US-sanctioned), Safe Internet League, Katehon (sanctioned), Marshall Capital Partners (sanctioned), Marshall Global (sanctioned), Gilroy Trading Limited, and OJSC JFSC Sistema. 

A recent investigation by Russian investigative outlet Sistema provided credible evidence that despite western sanctions, Mr. Malofeev has been able to secure money through a Russian IT company and Fliotis, a Cypriot offshore company. It is likely that this revenue stream has allowed Mr. Malofeev to continue to financially support, alongside other wealthy businessmen, Russia’s imperialist war against Ukraine by contributing to a bonus fund that would pay 50k rubles (€491.85) per kilometer captured as well as assisting with equipment purchases. Aside from paying out bonuses, the Orthodox oligarch in 2022 donated approximately 700 million rubles (€6,885.90) to St. Basil. 

Other sanctioned senior leaders include the Vice President and a Board member: Michael Yakushev and Igor Schegolev. While Mr. Yakushev can be found in other ventures such as Malofeev’s Katehon and Vladimir Yakunin’s St. Andrews First Foundation ), Mr. Schegolev currently serves as a member of Russia’s Security Council and as the Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Central Federal District. Furthermore, during Malofeev’s tenure with Svyzainvest, Mr. Schegolev allegedly supported him in siphoning money from the company while serving as a government official. 

Another notable enabler is Alexey Komov, an individual who is equal parts foreign projects manager and international liaison. Because Mr. Komov has occupied leadership positions within World Congress of Families (WCF) and CitizenGo, organizations not without political controversy, he’s able to function as an ideological bridgehead between Russian “traditionalists” and European far-right religious groups.

Standing as one of the leading lights of modern anti-Western conspiracy theology and a long-rumored FSB/KGB collaborator, Bishop Tikhon’s theological vision and projects have become a flexible propaganda tool for the Kremlin. For instance, based on an in-depth investigation by iStories in 2022, Bishop Tikhon has received approximately 20 billion Rubles (€196,574,157.47) in previous years from Russia’s government and state-owned companies, with half funding a series of digital interactive exhibitions or parks throughout Russia that allow for the historical narrative of Russia to be controlled, in near real-time, remotely: “Russia — My History”, for which Tikhon supplies informational content. With large “Z”s decorating the entrances of some centers, the exhibits appear to have shifted towards wartime propaganda as evidenced by the local FSB office assisting one exhibit in presenting a warped and obscurant interpretation of Ukrainian history entitled: “Archives Testify. Ukrainian nationalism during the Second World War." 


Review of "Russia- My History" park project by Vladimir Putin

A review from a satisfied visitor to Moscow's “Russia — My History” park


An EU report examining Religious Extremist Funders against Human Rights for Sexuality and Reproductive Health in Europe identified St. Basil as one of the main financiers behind anti-gender disinformation, along with CitizenGo. And it is through this religious “traditionalist” vein that the Komov linchpin not only facilitates Malofeev’s ability to whitewash his as well as Russia’s reputation but can simultaneously enable the laundering of weaponized narratives into EU and US discourse.

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.


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