The U.S. Justice Department this week indicted Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeev, a close ally of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, friend of U.S. religious-right culture warriors, and funder of the World Congress of Families, a network of organizations that mobilizes opposition to reproductive rights, LGBTQ equality, feminism, and “gender ideology” in the name of the “natural family” across the world. Malofeev has been charged with violating U.S. sanctions. (The indictment, like some news outlets, spells his name Malofeyev.)
Malofeev is known as “God’s Oligarch” for his devotion to the Russian Orthodox Church, which currently functions as an ally and enabler of Putin. Malofeev shares Putin’s imperial vision; he hopes to bring back the monarchical reign of the tsars, potentially starting with Putin. John “Jack” Hanick, an American and former Fox News employee hired by Malofeev to build a new Orthodox television network modeled on Fox, was indicted last month.
Malofeev attended the World Congress of Families’ 2013 global summit, where he declared, “Christian Russia can help liberate the West from the new liberal anti-Christian totalitarianism of political correctness, gender ideology, mass-media censorship, and neo-Marxist dogma.” That message was embraced and amplified by U.S. religious-right leaders who opposed the Obama administration’s advocacy for LGBTQ human rights. They adored Putin’s Christian nationalism and anti-LGBTQ policies and mostly ignored his attacks on dissent and religious freedom. Right Wing Watch has reported in depth on U.S. religious-right leaders’ long love affair with Putin.
In 2013, National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown traveled to Moscow to express support for anti-LGBTQ policies being considered by the country’s legislature, and to take part in a roundtable discussion on “Traditional Values: The Future of the European Peoples,” hosted by Malofeev’s St. Basil the Great Foundation.
When WCF’s parent organization rebranded as the International Organization for the Family with Brown at the helm, Malofeev associate Alexey Komov traveled to South Africa to participate in the launch event. Komov has been WCF’s representative in Russia helped organize a 2014 event in Moscow that was planned as a WCF summit; after Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea and resulting sanctions, official WCF sponsorship was dropped, but the event went forward essentially as planned, and WCF leaders took part, supposedly in their personal capacities.