Fake "observers" from Europe and America at pseudo-elections in occupied Ukraine

Fact Check
Among them are "Kremlin's friends" and those who have recently been recruited from Global South

The Russian Federation illegally held pseudo-elections in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine, inviting fake "observers" from abroad. Who from America and Europe came to the temporarily occupied Ukrainian territories at the Kremlin's invitation?

United States

In the occupied part of the Kherson region, the main newsmaker for the Russian media was American Daniel Martin Kovalik.

He lives in Pittsburgh and wrote articles for the English-language pro-Russian outlet CounterPunch. In 2016, FBI agents discovered that some of the so-called authors on CounterPunch were fake, and behind them were employees of the Russian GRU.

Kovalik is a supporter of the conspiracy theory and believes that Western democracies are trying to discredit "peaceful Russia." In 2017, he wrote the book "The Plot to Scapegoate Russia: How the CIA and the Deep State Have Conspired to Vilify Russia," with the Russian dictator on the cover.

Later, Kovalik wrote a similar book entitled "The Plot to Overthrow Venezuela" and about the dictator Nicolas Maduro.

Russian propaganda uses Kovalik as a "talking head from the U.S." One of the main propagandists in Russia, Vladimir Solovyov, calls him a "human rights defender." In fact, Kovalik is the same propagandist as Solovyov, although he speaks and writes in English, all his rhetoric completely coincides with Kremlin narratives.


David Cacchione, a member of the Italian ska-punk band Banda Bassotti, founded in 1987, was the so-called "observer" at the elections in the Luhansk region. The members of the band have left-wing views and position themselves as anti-fascists.

In 2014, after Russian troops invaded Donbas, the band gave concerts in Moscow, Rostov and Donetsk. Since then, Russian propaganda has positioned David Cacchione as an "independent anti-fascist from Europe." In turn, he says that he is "ashamed of the military aid to Ukraine" and that "in the EU, despite the position of the country's leadership, the people support Russia in the war more than Ukraine."

Another Italian, Pasquale Salatino, can be seen in a video from Melitopol, published by propaganda media.

This is not the first time he has worked as an "observer" in the occupied territories. In 2023, he was at a fake referendum in Luhansk. Back then, he was called the editor of the online magazine Osservatore Calabrese and a member of the board of the "cultural association" Cantiere Laboratorio. At the same time, the "online magazine" Osservatore Calabrese does not even have its own website. Cantiere Laboratorio conducts pro-Russian actions in the city of Lamezia Terme, and in 2023, it presented a propaganda book "Die for NATO?"

In 2024, Salatino was one of the organizers of the screening of the Russian propaganda film "Il Testimone," produced by the "television company" Donbas-Italia. The film justifies Russian aggression in Ukraine.


Three observers from Germany - Andreas Jurca, Elena Roon and Ulrich Singer - also came to the Russian Federation. All of them represent the right-wing populist political party Alternative for Germany. The main ideology of the party is directed against European integration and immigration of foreigners. The leaders of the party repeatedly made openly pro-Russian and anti-Ukrainian statements. In addition, the party opposes anti-Russian sanctions. This narrative was once again confirmed by Ulrich Singer when he came to "observe" the Russian pseudo-elections. According to him, after seeing expensive foreign cars, he concluded that the West's sanctions policy does not work but only harms. By the way, he once completed a university internship in Moscow and even has a dacha on the outskirts of the city.


A small number of French propagandists also landed in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine. For example, Christian Arsene Robert-Noel Roe, who says that in the occupied Kherson region there is "a completely different level of freedom."

He has left-wing views and calls himself a writer, although he has published only one book, "The True Story of a French Fascist." Only the Livres Hebdo publication, which specializes in book reviews and has 10,000 subscribers, mostly libraries, book distributors and publishing houses, wrote about the book. Judging by the photo, only three people were present at the book presentation.

On the Facebook page of the French "observer," you can see many photos from Moscow.

Another "guest" from France was Lucien Cerise, who introduces himself as a "researcher in the field of humanities and social sciences." His views are close to those of propagandists from the occupied Donbas.

Lucien Cerise is a far-right activist who opposes democracy and believes that Western countries want to take over countries such as Russia, China and Iran, which are fighting "world-destroying" globalization. Therefore, he is a frequent guest of such Russian propaganda outlets as Sputnik.


Representatives from Serbia also came to the pseudo-elections. One of them is a former member of the Serbian government, the founder of the Serbian People's Party, Nenad Popovic, who was sanctioned by the U.S. The State Department imposed restrictions against 12 Russian-registered companies affiliated with Popovic. He is not just connected to the Kremlin, but also participated in Russia's campaigns against Ukraine. In 2022, Popovic joined an anti-Ukraine demonstration where Serbian ultra-nationalists in Belgrade and Banja Luka supported Russian aggression against Ukraine. Popovic recently praised the organization of "democratic" "pseudo-elections."

Another "observer" from Serbia was ex-MP Milos Bandjur. In February 2022, he stated that the Serbs were allegedly happy that Putin recognized the "independence" of the so-called "LPR" and "DPR." Being an "observer" in Crimea, he congratulated local residents on the 10th anniversary of the "Russian Spring." The politician also made anti-Ukrainian statements on Russian channels. He also participated in programs hosted by top Russian propagandist Solovyov.


Alexa Matus, a public figure and founder of the civic association "Motorcyclists of Slovakia - Brother for Brother" came from Slovakia to the Russian pseudo-elections. He claimed that his country is increasingly tired of NATO and the European Union, which not only did not bring the promised happiness to Slovaks, but also worsened their socio-economic situation. Matus said that the West manipulates and tries to change the consciousness of Slovaks, distorting historical facts, and this allegedly happens through the media bought by the "Anglo-Saxons." He considers Russians a fraternal people and praised the "democratic nature" of the pseudo-elections, calling on European countries to "learn" from Russia.


Pedro Mourinho, an "independent" representative from Spain, ex-leader of the Partido Popular party, and director of the investment business group IberAtlantic Global Corporation, also "observed" the pseudo-elections. He has been invited to Russia as an "observer" since 2011. He also "observed" the "referendum" in Crimea in 2014. In 2020, Mourinho became the honorary consul of the Russian Federation in Spain's Galicia (autonomous region). At the time, it was reported that its purpose was to protect the legitimate rights and interests of Russians in the region.

In 2021, it emerged that Mourinho's Spanish company IberAtlantic was in talks to produce the Russian anti-Covid vaccine Sputnik V at the Zendal laboratory in the northwestern region of Galicia. This once again confirms his close links with the Russian Federation. IberAtlantic Global Corporation is also associated with cooperation with the Russian military and industrial sector. Mourinho actively criticizes the Ukrainian authorities.

Latin America

Representatives of the Global South countries also "observed" the pseudo-elections. One of them is a native of Uruguay, Julio Faravelli.

This fighter for Cuba's freedom from the U.S. naval blockade heads NGO National Commission of Social Organizations of Uruguay, which he himself created.

He only made public statements in support of dictatorial regimes in Venezuela and Cuba. Even these videos received only a few dozen views on Facebook and Twitter.

However, his example shows how Russia recruits such "political experts" through its diplomatic missions. Until October 2023, Faravelli was not connected to Russia in any way. Then the meeting with him was reported at the "Russia House" in the capital of Argentina, Buenos Aires, and four months later, he became an "observer" at the pseudo-elections in occupied Ukraine.

Another representative of Latin America was Chilean Javier Pineda.

He calls himself a "lawyer and specialist in international relations." Like many of his "colleagues" from African countries, he was a participant in the "International Youth Festival" in the village of Sirius in Russia's Krasnoyarsk Krai.

This once again proves the fact that the participants in the youth forum became "international experts" on the elections not by chance.

Andriy Olenin, Dmytro Badrak

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