This week, The Hungarian Minister of State for Family and International Affairs Katalin Novak will be speaking during an anti-LGBT event organised by the Hungarian Embassy in the US Senate. Novak has taken up a leadership role in the international pro-family movement in recent years as an important actor within organisations like the World Congress of Families and the Political Network For Values. Recent research by political scientist Rémy Bonny revealed close connections between Novak and the Russian intelligence organisation RISS, the same institute that is accused of interfering in the US Presidential Elections.
The invitation to the event was sent to several high-level members of the US Congress, White House and State Department.
Last week, Novak also met in Budapest with an assistant to President Donald Trump & the Director of the Domestic Policy Council Joe Grogan. According to her Twitter, they discussed “pro-family” issues in advance of the 2019 International Conference on Christian Persecution held in Budapest. Grogan will also be one of the speakers during the event in the US Senate.
Connections to Russia
In 2014, the Russian hackers collective Shaltai Boltai obtained e-mails from some Russian conservative oligarchs and their employees. In those e-mails a participant list could be found for the International Forum For The Large Family And Future Of Humanity in September 2014. The vice-president of Hungary’s ruling party Fidesz, Katalin Novak (who’s also State Secretary for Family Affairs), travelled to Moscow to participate in this conference. According to the list, she was invited by ‘I. Beloborodov’.
Novak even wrote a letter of gratitude to Beloborodov after his participation in the Budapest Demographic Summit in November 2015. “I hope the Forum provided a good opportunity for you to share experiences and to learn about Hungary’s and the other participating Member State’s, international experts’ position on demographic questions.”, she wrote.
RISS is a think-tank supported by President Vladimir Putin. The organisation is accused of drawing the plan to interfere in the presidential elections in the USA and many other international intelligence operations aimed to undermine liberal democracy.
Beloborodov’s social media shows he has many close connections with the Kremlin. The family of Leonid Reshetnikov – one of Russia’s major former KGB and FSB spies – is well-represented in Beloborodov’s friend list. He’s also connected to many Russian and European MPs, businessmen, reporters, and – of course – Russian Orthodox leaders. Amongst them is Pavel Belobrádek – the former Deputy Prime Minster of Czechia. Another connection catching the eye: Timur Aliyev. Aliyev’s the personal assistant of Ramzan Kadyrov – the Chechen leader being accused of setting up the most structural persecution of homosexuals since WWII.
World Congress of Families
One of the main international homophobic organisations where the Hungarians and Russians participate in is the World Congress of Families(WCF). This year WCF organised a conference in Verona where Italian deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini was – together with Katalin Novak – keynote speaker.
While the research of Rémy Bonny is the first time cooperation between EU government officials and Russian intelligence gets proven through this networks, the link between WCF and Russia is already clear from the very origins of the organisation. In 1995 Allan Carlson – from the Howard Centre For Family, Religion & Society – was invited to Moscow by Prof. Dr. Anatoly Antonov and Prof. Dr. Viktor Medkov of the Lomonosov Moscow State University. They invited him for his theories on “the demolition of population sizes”. After this meeting, Carlson founded the World Congress of Families (HRC, 2012).
Notwithstanding the early links, the first WCF event in Russia only took place in 2011. After two years of organising the ‘Demographic Summit’, the WCF decided that it was time to organise its big annual gathering in Moscow in 2014 – which they had to cancel after the Ukraine-crisis.
Also RISS works together with another oligarch popping up in the World Congress of Families: Konstantin Malofeev. Malofeev’s behind the invasion of Crimea and the Donbas region in Ukraine. His former secretary Alexey Komov is the leader of the Russian department of the World Congress of Families. Recent intelligence suggests that Konstantin Malofeev is currently setting up troll farms to spread conservative values ahead of election in The West.
Also, Natalya Yakunina participated several times openly in the World Congress of Families.
The president of the World Congress of Families Brian S. Brown was in Russia last month. As a US-citizen, he formerly served as the president of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM).
Event earlier this year
On March 14 the Hungarian embassy hosted an event with Katalin Novak, who also serves as the vice-president of the ruling party in Hungary (Fidesz), called ‘Make Families Great Again’. According to the Embassy’s website: “In her keynote address, Mrs. Katalin Novák, Hungarian Minister of State for Family and Youth Affairs, presented the Hungarian Seven-Point Family Protection Action Plan, a new set of pioneering policies that are re-shaping culture, family demographics and the future of Hungary. Participants included civil society leaders from C-FAM, the Family Research Council, the Concerned Women for America, the Family Watch International, public policy leaders from the White House and the U.S. HHS, and elected and appointed officials of the Administration.”
The atmosphere after the event seemed good enough to organize a successor.
Quote Russian interference in LGBTI-movement expert Rémy Bonny
LGBTI-Politics in Eastern Europe Expert Rémy Bonny: “Hungary is trying to take up a global leadership role in the pro-family movement. The attempted close connections between Novak and US political representatives entails a national security threat for the USA. Novak is in direct contact with officials from the same Russian institutions that have been accused of drawing the plans for interference in the last US Presidential Elections. In Hungary, she has led a anti-LGBTI policy for several years. The Hungarian government constitutionally banned same-sex marriage in 2011.“
The Human Rights Campaign joins Rémy Bonny in his pledge to expose this event. They describe it as “a hate-filled gathering focused on organizing against democratic norms and universal human rights — including the rights of LGBTQ people and women”.
Rémy Bonny has been tracking the Russian and Hungarian involvement in the anti-LGBT movement in the USA and EU for the last year: for any more questions or interview requests please e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or WhatsApp to +32495819114.