to the Conservative Party, Russian donations that intrigue

The Boris Johnson government has blocked the publication of a parliamentary report. According to the "Sunday Times", nine Russian personalities who donated to the Conservative Party are cited.

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Boris Johnson at a Conservative Party campaign rally, Birmingham, November 6, 2019. ADRIAN DENNIS / AFP

The controversy has been swelling for more than a week. Why did the Johnson government refuse to publish a parliamentary report on Russian interference in British politics, just before the dissolution of Parliament on 5 November? Why not agree to deliver this information to the public, when a crucial general election is scheduled for December 12th?

The Sunday Times, this Sunday, November 10, gives some elements of answer, which push a little more Boris Johnson in its entrenchments. According to the weekly, nine Russian business people who have recently made donations to the Conservative Party (the Prime Minister's party) are quoted in the report of the parliamentary (and transpartisan) committee for the security blocked by Downing Street.

More than 3.5 million pounds of donors of Russian origin

The report would quote the name of Alexander Temerko, who worked for the Russian Defense Ministry and qualifies Boris Johnson for"Friend." He has paid more than £ 1.2 million to the Conservative Party over the past seven years. But the most generous donor is Lubov Chernukhin, the wife of Vladimir Chernukhin, a former ally of President Putin. Only in 2018, faithful support of the Conservatives, she donated 450,000 pounds to the party, according to report elements revealed by the Sunday Times.

This is not the first one to hear about Lubov Chernukhin. For example, she had already paid 160,000 pounds for a tennis match with Boris Johnson and David Cameron in 2014. According to the British media, she recently paid, among other things, 20,000 books to share a dinner with Ruth Davidson, ex-star rising Scottish Conservatives, and 30,000 pounds in exchange for a private dinner with former defense secretary Gavin Williamson, in the famous "War room" from Winston Churchill.

In all, the Conservatives have received more than 3.5 million pounds of donors of Russian origin since 2010, says the site OpenDemocracy, in a report published on November 5. The latter also points to the generosity of a lobbying company deemed to be close to Russian interests, New Century Media, which again paid 20,000 pounds in May 2019 to the Conservatives (and more than 177,000 books over ten years). Founded by former Northern Irish activist David Burnside, the company was paid by the Kremlin in 2013 to promote a "good image" of Russia in the UK.