A Berlin-based think tank founded and chaired by sanctioned Russian oligarch Vladimir Yakunin is exploring the possibility of opening an office in the United States, a spokesperson for the group told ThinkProgress.
Jean-Christophe Bas, the current CEO of Yakunin’s Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute (DOC) think tank, said that he’s considering opening a “liaison office” in New York. The office “would be liaising with the United Nations,” as well as with international groups like the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Bas said.
Yakunin has been on the U.S. sanctions list since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2014, identified as a key player in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin. The oligarch has long been a member of Putin’s inner circle, and was closely involved in the early networks used to cement Putin’s power.
Yakunin helped found the DOC, and is currently chairman of its supervisory board.
The DOC claims to be independently funded, but German media reported that Yakunin planned to give tens of millions of dollars to the DOC to help fund its operations. [Olga] Shorina wrote that “Yakunin reportedly has invested $28 million of his personal wealth in the think tank over five years, but the organization has no official record of its income and expenses.”
Here is a link to the think tank's website, and here is a link to its 2017 annual report.