The Russian Aleksey Komov is an ultraconservative anti-choice and anti-LGBTIQ activist, who has been involved in a variety of Christian (Orthodox) fundamentalist organizations and initiatives in Russia and abroad.
Komov is best known for his association with the ultra-Orthodox oligarch Konstantin Malofeev, an ally of Vladimir Putin who has been sanctioned by Canada and the U.S. for funding Russian aggression in Ukraine.1Malofeev's Tsargard TV channel and Katehon think tank have been offering a platform for Russian, but also European far-right figures, notably the neo-Eurasianist ideologue Alexander Dugin. Furthermore, Komov acts as a foreign projects manager at Malofeev's Saint Basil the Great Charitable Foundation, and had been a board member of Malofeev's Safe Internet League, a Russian non-governmental organization created to censor information on the Internet.2
But Komov is also involved in US-based projects: he is Russian ambassador of the ultra-conservative World Congress of Families (WCF) opposed to same sex marriage, abortion, and the LGBTIQ movement, which has grown into an international super-group. The WCF runs its own Russian website,3 with which Komov is also associated.4 According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPCL), the WCF was "increasing its presence in Russia around 2011," and had hired Komov for the job.5 Besides, Komov is a board member of the internationally active home-school advocacy group Global Home Education Exchange.6
Likely through his WCF connections, Komov also has links to the ultraconservative Dignitatis Humanae Institute (DHI), with long-standing ties to Steve Bannon. Bannon, with the help of DHI has just recently leased a large monastery in Italy, which he wants to turn into a cadre school for his "nationalist populist" revolution.78
Komov seems to be very active in Italy, where he not only appears as honorary president of the Lombardy-Russia Cultural Association (Associazione Culturale Lombardia Russia, LRCA), a Russian-Italian business platform, but can also be frequently spotted in the orbit of the Italian far-right Lega party.5 According to historian Anton Shekhovtsov, the LCRA was essential to Lega's breathtaking successes in the recent years:
"Since the beginning of 2014, the LN [Lega Nord] has been extremely active in carrying out pro-Kremlin efforts in Italy, in particular through the Associazione Culturale Lombardia Russia."9
SPLC reported that a few months before the Crimean annexation, "under Komov's leadership the WCF sent a delegation to Ukraine in October 2013 ... and declared in its subsequent press release that: 'The Ukrainian leaders expressed concern about the pressure brought to bear on their nation to accede to the homosexual agenda (including ‘gay marriage’) as a condition for membership in the European Union.'"5
While WCF's statement is clearly false - there is no EU legislation making same-sex marriage obligatory for member states - the fake news have been picked up by Ukrainians receiving the delegation. Among them, the All Ukrainians' Parents Committee, which subsequently declared:
“We oppose the signing of the association agreement with the E.U., because it will lead to the inevitable homosexualizing of Ukraine.” WCF leaders also met with some members of the Ukrainian parliament."5
The WCF seems to serve as a tool for i.a. Russian oligarch billionaires, most notably Konstantin Malofeev and Vladimir Yakunin to push Ukraine away from the EU and further towards Russia.
In December 2013, Aleksey Komov was speaking at the congress of the Lega Nord (Northern League, LN) that elected Matteo Salvini as the leader of the party in Turin. There, he introduced the mascot of the World Congress of Families for the following year: a Russian doll, whose outer doll is a man instead of a woman, since according to Komov “god created woman from a man,” while inside the woman are five children.10
In 2014, Komov helped to establish the Lombardy-Russia Cultural Association (LRCA), and became its honorary president. The LRCA is led by one of Lega's Russian liaisons, Gianluca Savoini. "The activities of the association are aimed at promoting Russia’s aggressive foreign policies in Italy, including attempts at building business relations between Italian businessmen and businessmen in Russia-annexed Crimea."11
In 2014, the WCF congress was scheduled to take place in Moscow, and would have united "anti-LGBT activists and politicians from all over the world."5 But the Crimea invasion crossed those plans, at least openly.
"For fear of American sanctions, the WCF’s American leadership publicly dropped its affiliation to the congress. Despite WCF officially pulling out, behind closed doors, a nearly identical conference was held the same day with a similar program, similar attendees, and — initially — the WCF listed as organizers. It was even attended by WCF communications director Don Feder and late managing director Larry Jacobs. Though Komov mentioned the WCF were organizers in the media, Jacobs maintained it was not.
As a new look at a trove of emails released in 2014 by the Russian hacker collective Shaltai Boltai (Humpty Dumpty) reveals, the 2014 Moscow Congress was just the tip of the iceberg. WCF’s involvement in Russian geopolitics runs deep and led to a collaboration that gave Russian Orthodox oligarchs apparent access to the powerful American Christian evangelical political machine. "5
This conference, entitled “Large Families: The Future of Humanity,” was bankrolled i.a. by Konstantin Malofeev.5
On June 20, 2014, Larry D. Jacobs (former managing director of the WCF) posted a picture on Twitter, showing him together with Komov and Dr. Ben Carson (at the time Fox contributor; 2016 GOP presidential candidate; as of 2017 Trump's Secretary of Housing) at the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) Gala Dinner at the Willard Hotel in Washington DC, a notorious anti-LGBTIQ event.12
Alexey Komov and me chatting with Dr Ben Carson at NOM Gala Dinner at Willard Hotel in Washington DC pic.twitter.com/gSGKsL1qVD— Larry D Jacobs (@larrydjacobs) June 19, 2014
According to an article by Think Progress12:
The former GOP presidential candidate [Carson] has compared same-sex marriage to bestiality. During his keynote speech at the NOM gala, as Right Wing Watch found, Carson even managed to claim that Marxists were “using LGBT rights to destroy American unity and impose the ‘New World Order.'”
On May 16, 2016, Komov appeared as a speaker at the annual WCF congress in Tbilisi, Georgia. His lecture was titled "The World's Elites: Neo-Marxism and Gender Ideology."13
According to Katherine Stewart's The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism14:
Komov assisted the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), along with the IOF and other organizations, in bringing a Global Home Education Conference to Russia in May 2018. The HSLDA's founder and former chairman, Michael Farris, currently serves as the CEO and General Counsel or the Alliance Defending Freedom.
In February 2019 the Italian L’Espresso reported about an opaque case of party financing, which implicated Italy's Lega party of receiving money via a kick-back scheme from Russia.15 The dossier came to the conclusion that the Russian company Avangard Oil & Gas “is selling 3 million tons of diesel fuel … to an Italian state company, Eni, that Salvini as interior minister can help manage.”7
Lega’s Russia “fixer” in this alleged kickback scheme, LRCA's Gianluca Savoini, has long-standing ties to preeminent figures in the Russian far right. Savoini reportedly stated he has known the far-right Eurasianist ideologue Alexander Dugin for over 20 years,16 and has also been contributing to Orthodox billionaire Konstantin Malofeev’s think tank Katehon.17 It may be no coincidence that Avangard Oil & Gas is located in the same building as Malofeev’s Tsargrad TV channel. According to the Daily Beast:
L'Espresso claims that the troika behind all of the dirty dealing is Komov, Savoini and Aleksandr Dugin, a political influencer who has Putin's ear and who was appointed as an honorary president of the Russia-Piedmont association, a sister organization to Savioni's Russia-Lombardy association, which gives him easy access to Italy. Dugin has, coincidentally, also been working for Malofeev's foundation with Komov, according to L'Espresso.
Dugin and Savoini were photographed in Rome on the Via del Babuino in September, where they allegedly put the finishing touches on the plan for Salvini's Oct. 17, 2018 visit to Moscow. The main event there was a 5:00 p.m. conference organized at the Lotte Hotel. Savoini was sitting front row center. After the conference, Salvini and Savoini apparently disappeared through a side door and were not heard from until the next morning. The Italian press traveling with him were baffled until it was leaked that the single Salvini had plans of an intimate nature.7
Although denied at the time by the people involved, the allegations were confirmed when a secret recording of a meeting with Italian and Russian delegates in Moscow's Metropol hotel was leaked in July 2019.18
In March 2019, Komov was speaking at the yearly WCF conference in Verona, Italy, which was also attended by Matteo Salvini, alongside the who-is-who of the ultraconservative catholic Right and the anti-abortionist milieu.19 According to Katherine Stewart20:
In one of the breakout sessions at the congress, Alexey Komov, a Russian activist who has special interests in America's religious-right homeschooling movement and Christian film industry, adds biologists to the targets: "The scientific worldview, the Darwin theory, it's the same organizations, the same people who promote LGBT, gender rights ... it goes in one package ... Gays and Darwin, somehow they are connected."
He is well aware of being designated a fascist, since he has appeared with defusing statements in that regard, for example on RT in April 2019:
"Standing strong for traditional family values is not fascism, as the mainstream media often insinuates, but merely a concern for the future of humanity, Aleksey Komov, of the World Congress of Families (WCF), has told RT."21
- 1. "Treasury Targets Additional Ukrainian Separatists and Russian Individuals and Entities," U.S. Department of Treasury, December 19, 2014, https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/jl9729.aspx.
- 2. Hannah Levintova, "The World Congress of Families’ Russian Network," Mother Jones, February 21, 2014, https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/02/world-congress-families-us-evangelical-russia-family-tree/.
- 3. Всемирный Конгресс Семей ("World Congress of Families"), http://worldcongress.ru/.
- 4. Aleksey Komov's Twitter account, https://twitter.com/alexeykomov.
- 5. a. b. c. d. e. f. g. "How the World Congress of Families serves Russian Orthodox political interests," Southern Poverty Law Center, May 16, 2018, https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2018/05/16/how-world-congress-families-serves-russian-orthodox-political-interests.
- 6. "Board Members," Global Home Education Exchange, https://ghex.world/about/ghex-board/.
- 7. a. b. c. Barbie Latza Nadeau, "An Italian Expose Documents Moscow Money Allegedly Funding Italy's Far-Right Salvini," Daily Beast, February 22, 2019, https://www.thedailybeast.com/an-italian-expose-documents-moscow-money-allegedly-funding-italys-far-right-salvini?ref=scroll.
- 8. “The ultra-conservative crusade against Pope Francis,” MSNBC, video, 14:20, April 14, 2019, https://www.msnbc.com/on-assignment/watch/the-ultra-conservative-crusade-against-pope-francis-1493172291746.
- 9. "The Italian far right Lega Nord builds closer ties with Moscow," Anton Shekhovtsov's blog, March 6, 2017, http://anton-shekhovtsov.blogspot.com/2017/03/the-italian-far-right-lega-nord-builds.html.
- 10. Lega Salvini Premier, “Congresso Federale Lega Nord 2013 - Ambasciatore Russo Nazioni Unite Alexey Komov,” YouTube video, 5:45, December 18, 2013, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DsgJtcNZZwQ.
- 11. "Profile: Konstantin Malofeev," Underminers, December 4, 2017, https://www.underminers.info/publications/2017/12/5/profile-konstantin-malofeev.
- 12. a. b. Casey Michel, "Newly emerged photo shows Ben Carson with key employee of sanctioned Russian oligarch," Think Progress, January 31, 2019, https://thinkprogress.org/why-was-ben-carson-hanging-out-with-the-employee-of-this-sanctioned-russian-oligarch-konstantin-malofeev-alexey-komov-bdb4cd383eaa/.
- 13. "Alexey Komov," მსოფლიო საოჯახო კონგრესი X / WCF X on YouTube, September 3, 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SnKGHM7fDf8.
- 14. Katherine Stewart, The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2020), https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=Vd2yDwAAQBAJ&q=alexey+komov#v=snippet&q=alexey%20komov&f=false.
- 15. Giovanni Tizian and Stefano Vergine, “Esclusivo - La trattativa segreta per finanziare con soldi russi la Lega di Matteo Salvini,” L’Espresso, February 21, 2019, http://espresso.repubblica.it/inchieste/2019/02/20/news/esclusivo-lega-milioni-russia-1.331835?refresh_ce.
- 16. Alberto Nardelli and Olga Tokariuk, “Here’s A Totally Incredible Story About Pro-Russian Mercenaries And A Close Aide To Italy’s De Facto Leader,” BuzzFeed News, September 13, 2018, https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/albertonardelli/matteo-salvini-russia-gianluca-savoini.
- 17. “Gianluca Savoini,” Katehon, http://katehon.com/person/gianluca-savoini.
- 18. Alberto Nardelli, "Revealed: The Explosive Secret Recording That Shows How Russia Tried To Funnel Millions To The 'European Trump,'" BuzzFeed News, July 10, 2019, https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/albertonardelli/salvini-russia-oil-deal-secret-recording.
- 19. "Speakers," World Congress of Families XIII, Verona, 29-31 March 2019, https://wcfverona.org/en/speakers/.
- 20. Stewart, The Power Worshippers, https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=Vd2yDwAAQBAJ&q=alexey+komov#v=snippet&q=alexey%20komov&f=false
- 21. "Supporting family values is not fascism, it’s caring for humanity – World Congress of Families envoy," April 6, 2019, https://www.rt.com/news/455699-family-values-world-congress/.