Theresa May gave a speech two weeks ago in which she condemned Russia for “meddling” in elections and spreading fake news.
The Prime Minister told the Lord Mayor’s Banquet that Russia is behind a “sustained campaign of cyber espionage” and is deploying its state-run media outlets to “sow discord in the West and undermine our institutions.”
She finished by sending this message to Russian President Vladimir Putin: “We know what you are doing. And you will not succeed.”
Thanks to party funding figures published today by the Electoral Commission we also know what the Tories have been doing.
And that’s accepting a six figure sum from Lubov Chernukhin – the wife of one of Putin’s former ministers, Vladimir Chernukhin.
Mr Chernukhin has been described by the Evening Standard as an “early protégé” of Putin and has an impressive CV:
- Foreign trade ministry of USSR and the Russian Federation (1986-1996)
- Deputy Minister of Finance of the Russian Federation (2000-2002)
- Appointed director of Russia’s flag-carrying airline Aeroflot in 2002
- Chairman of Russia’s state development bank (2002 to 2004)
- Received the Order of Honour from Vladimir Putin in 2004
The £161,600 his wife gave the party in September made her the third largest private donor to the Tories in the third quarter of 2017.
It is the largest of dozens of donations worth a total of £514,382 she has made to the Tories since 2012.
She also gave the Tories £160,000 in 2014 after making the winning bid for an auction lot at a party fundraising event she attended with her husband.
The lot in question was a private tennis match for her and Mr Chernukhin, who are both British citizens, with David Cameron and Boris Johnson.
Cameron was criticised then for accepting the money at a time when he was pressing for sanctions against Russia.
Is it any better now? Maybe GCHQ should have a word with CCHQ…