Did you think Victor Medvedchuk was done? No, he is building a propaganda network in Europe and buying off Western politicians. All this is aimed at the elections to the European Parliament

Dmytro Rayevskyi
Kateryna Kobernyk
Did you think Victor Medvedchuk was done? No, he is building a propaganda network in Europe and buying off Western politicians. All this is aimed at the elections to the European Parliament

Viktor Medvedchuk and Vladimir Putin, Moscow Region, Novo-Ogaryovo, 2020.

Getty Images / «Babel'»

On March 28, 2024, the Czech government imposed sanctions on infamous pro-Russian Ukrainian politician Viktor Medvedchuk, former general producer of the 112 Ukraine TV channel, Artem Marchevskyi, and the Voice of Europe news site. The Prime Minister of the country Petr Fiala stated that Medvedchuk and Marchevskyi are behind a propaganda network that undermines the security of the Czech Republic and the EU. Money for this is allocated by Russia, which, through Medvedchuk and Marchevskyi, pays some European politicians and even members of the European Parliament to promote the desired theses. For example, that further aid to Ukraine only fuels the war and stands in the way of peace. Czech officials also believe that the goal was actually more global — by bribing MEPs, Russia wanted to influence the elections to the European Parliament in June 2024. Currently, the special services of six European countries are working on the case — traces of Medvedchukʼs network were found at least in Poland, the Netherlands and Hungary. Marchevskyi fled the Czech Republic at the end of March, and Medvedchuk responded to the Czech government with a column in which he threatened nuclear war. Babel tells where the Voice of Europe website came from, which of the European politicians went to cooperate with Russia, and how Medvedchukʼs couriers carried suitcases of cash around Europe.

The Voice of Europe website was the center of information operations of the Russians. He has 180,000 followers on the X social network. The Voice of Europe domain was registered back in 2000. But a full-fledged news resource appeared only in 2016. At that time, the site belonged to three Dutch citizens and was registered in the city of Dronten. Voice of Europe focused mainly on Western Europe. And the main topic was migrants, to whom the site devoted most of its publications.

By the end of 2017, Voice of Europe was already quite popular. For example, in October of that year, he was interviewed by Geert Wilders, a far-right Dutch politician whose party won the elections in 2023. The conversation was a frank advertisement of the site itself. For example, Wilders said that he reads Voice of Europe every day and considers it an antidote to "fake media".

In 2018, Voice of Europe already had 250,000 monthly readers. But the publication began to have problems — it was accused of pro-Russian propaganda. In February, De Groene Amsterdammer journalists published an investigation in which they tried to target the owners and investors of Voice of Europe. Some of them gave comments anonymously. For example, one investor said that she wants to make Voice of Europe "a European Breitbart". Another said that for her it is only a potentially profitable business, and she is not interested in politics.

Among the public owners was the Dutch entrepreneur, developer and resort owner Eric de Vlieger, who in February 2022 didnʼt hide his pro-Russian position on social networks.

It isnʼt known who exactly worked at Voice of Europe — its articles have no authors and the composition of the editorial staff is not indicated anywhere. It isnʼt even clear who exactly interviewed the same Geert Wilders.

Eric de Vliegerʼs Instagram page.

De Groene Amsterdammer also wrote in 2018 that the Netherlands has become a convenient hub for Russian propagandists. For example, in the city of Hilversum, the company Media Capital Holding BV, registered to Svetlana Kuksina, a resident of the Netherlands, was discovered. As it turned out, she was an employee of the Russian propaganda media company RT.

Media Capital Holding owned three domains — news resources Baltnews.ee, Baltnews.lv and Baltnews.lt, active in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania respectively. These are all Russian propaganda resources, which no longer work, because the Baltic countries began to block them in 2018. But they were registered in the Netherlands. De Groene Amsterdammer writes that there are several reasons for this: a BV can be opened there quickly, you only need one euro of authorized capital, and it is difficult to find a company in the trade register if the searcher doesnʼt know the Dutch language. In addition, the Dutch media law guarantees maximum privacy protection.

But journalists did not find direct connections between Voice of Europe and Russian front companies at that time.

It did not turn out to be a profitable business — readersʼ interest in Voice of Europe gradually declined. And serious publications in the Netherlands wrote about the resource as a "factory of fakes". In 2019, Eric de Vlieger stated that he had sold the site to a Czech company, he did not specify which one.

For a while, Voice of Europe was down at all, until it suddenly returned in May 2023. After the rebranding, the site became especially active in X and YouTube. However, the focus of its topics became a little different — now there was not as much news about migrants as there was about Ukraine. There is now even a Ukrainian version of the site. According to the Czech government, Artem Marchevskyi managed the site sometime from that moment on.

The main theses promoted by Voice of Europe: Ukraine is weak and corrupt, the West is also weak, Russia and China are strong, Ukraine cannot be supported, peace is needed. Also, the resource continued to support various far-right political forces in Europe and the world.

It was European right-wing politicians who became the main characters of Voice of Europe, especially on YouTube. Politico analyzed half a hundred different videos on the channel and found that 16 members of the European Parliament regularly went there for interviews and discussions.

Which of the MEPs went to Voice of Europe?

  • Joachim Kuhs, Maximilian Krah — Alternative for Germany, Germany.

  • Patricia Chagnon, Thierry Mariani, Hervé Juvin — National Rally, France.

  • Marcel de Graaf — Forum for Democracy, Netherlands.

  • Matteo Gazzini, Francesca Donato — Lega Nord, Italy.

  • Miroslav Radačovský — Slovak PATRIOT, Slovakia.

  • Milan Uhrík — Republic, Slovakia.

  • Jaak Madison — Conservative People's Party of Estonia, Estonia.

  • Hermann Tertsch, Jorge Buxadé — VOX, Spain.

  • Ladislav Ilčič — Croatian sovereignists, Croatia.

  • Anders Vistisen — Danish Peopleʼs Party, Denmark.

  • Tom Vandendriessche — Flemish Interest, Belgium.

Most of these politicians made various anti-Ukrainian statements on the Voice of Europe broadcasts. For example, Marcel de Graaf stated that "the best way to achieve peace is to force the Ukrainians to surrender." And Maximilian Krah offered Ukraine to give up the "eastern territories".

At the same time, Politico writes that there were exceptions — Ilčič, Madison and Tertsch did not make such statements, their interviews were quite moderate. But itʼs still not very clear why they went to the Voice of Europe YouTube channel, which at that time had only about 400 subscribers. Now the channel no longer exists.

It is likely that MEPs received money for these interviews. The Czech newspaper Denik N wrote about it, referring to the head of the security committee of the parliament, Pavlo Žaček. According to him, the Security and Information Service of the Czech Republic had for some time been monitoring a courier who regularly brought large sums of money from Poland in a suitcase — from half a million to a million euros. And MEPs received their fees in cash in Prague.

According to Žaček, it was not only payment for certain theses in the interview and not only support for the work of Voice of Europe, because the sums are too large. Most likely, it was about the more thorough cooperation of these deputies with Russia on the eve of the elections to the European Parliament in June 2024.

German MP Maximilian Krah publicly denied that he received money for interviews or anything else, although he admitted that one of the conversations with Voice of Europe happened in Prague. None of the MEPs could guess the names of the journalists who interviewed them or with whom they agreed to record videos.

Thierry Mariani said that he is not interested in the resume of journalists who ask him for an interview. And Radačovský and Kuhs told Politico journalists that they did not know such a publication at all and were not interested in where their interviews would be published. Only Patricia Chagnon mentioned that she had been contacted by Chris Tomlinson, a British-Canadian conservative journalist who published on Breitbart until April 2023.

The statement of the Czech government provoked a wave of reactions from other countries. Polandʼs Internal Security Agency said it had conducted a series of searches at addresses linked to the courierʼs route. However, little money was taken — €48,500 and $36,000.

And in Hungary, European special services discovered another site from Medvedchukʼs network — Visegrád Post. The Hungarian weekly HVG writes that according to their sources, the site is managed by two French citizens living in Budapest — Ferenc Almassy and Nicolas de Lamberterie.

Artem Marchevskyi


On April 2, 2024, the newspaper Denik N wrote that Artem Marchevskyi had left the Czech Republic, where he had been living for the past year. He told journalists that he did not pay money to any politicians, and his lawyers are already preparing a lawsuit to challenge the sanctions.

Viktor Medvedchuk also responded publicly to the Czech government, via the Voice of Europe website. On April 12th, a publication appeared there, in which anonymous Voice of Europe journalists allegedly sent a request to Medvedchukʼs press service to find out "why the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs connects the work of the mass media with the activities of the politician." He responded with an entire column, which Voice of Europe posted in its entirety.

In it, Medvedchuk called the situation a "witch hunt" and threatened the Europeans with an imminent nuclear war if they continued to support Ukraine. But he did not write a single word about his connection with the propaganda network.

Translated from Ukrainian by Anton Semyzhenko.

Russian propaganda is supported by the Kremlin, and independent journalism is supported by civic society. We are counting on you: 🔸 in hryvnia, 🔸 Buy Me a Coffee, 🔸 Patreon, 🔸 PayPal: [email protected].