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The NRC wrote that former Senate President Rene van der Linden (CDA) was for many years a representative of the Kremlin’s interests. The newspaper concluded that it was published by Russia to influence Western opinion and Western politicians, based on documents and emails.
At Russia’s expense, van der Linden, who served as Minister of State for European Affairs and Member of Parliament and Senator for the Christian Democratic Union, traveled across Europe and attempted to restrict EU sanctions against Moscow, according to the NRC. He would also have close relations with a Russian spy and meet in Vienna with a Russian far-right politician who was on the European Union’s sanctions list at the time.
“Intercepted by the AIVD”
Today de Volkskrant also writes about the 78-year-old van der Linden. It could have been spotted and intercepted in 2019 by the AIVD intelligence service. That year, he was said to have received a warning from the Netherlands for his Russian contacts, like Russian spy Valery Levitsky. According to the newspaper, he arranged, for example, to travel to conferences in Moscow.
The CDA member tells NOS that he will not respond to posts tonight. There is a refutation in both newspapers. Van der Linden said he didn’t know until mid-2019 that his contact person worked for the Russian intelligence services.
“The moment I heard Levitsky was a spy, something happened inside of me. And I said, ‘It’s over now,'” Van der Linden told NRC. He would find it “very upset and reprehensible” if the Dutch intelligence services had known for some time that Levitsky was a spy, but had never said so.
When I look at what Putin has done, he can’t get any more evil.
According to him, the Dutchman conducted an open dialogue between East and West. He assures reporters that Moscow paid for his air travel, accommodation and sometimes dinner when he came to Russia. By the way, the publications do not discuss any criminal acts of van der Linden.
meeting in Vienna
The articles also mention that the politician met Russian far-right politician Leonid Slutsky in a hotel room in Vienna. At that time, in 2018, this person was on the European sanctions list.
During that time, van der Linden was a member of the CDA’s Foreign Affairs Committee. The international law professor told NRC that the visit with the controversial Slutsky was ethically questionable, but not against the rules.
The newspaper reported that Van der Linden initially denied the meeting. But after being confronted with evidence, he retracted that denial. “I wouldn’t say I didn’t go there, but if you ask me, what is it about? I won’t know anymore.”
Contacts between van der Linden on the one hand and Russian spy Levitsky and politician Slutsky on the other were already reported in September. They are mentioned in a report by the Dossier Center, a website for Putin critic and oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky. This publication prompted an investigation by the Norwegian Refugee Council and de Volkskrant.
Nonsense I was going to be an errand boy
Van der Linden described it, in September, as a “Russian mission boy” of nonsense. “They can’t provide any evidence for that either,” de Limburger said.
Van der Linden now tells NRC that he is disappointed with the results of his efforts to improve relations between Russia and Europe. “Looking back at what Putin did, he couldn’t be more evil. It must have been, I would say, in the genes.”
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