Well-connected Russian oligarchs and companies heavily involved in lobbying for Russian interests have stepped up their funding of the Conservative party in recent months, our analysis reveals.
The news comes as Boris Johnson stands accused of presiding over a “cover-up” over his government’s refusal to release a report into alleged Russian interference in British politics.
Responding to openDemocracy’s findings, Labour MP Ben Bradshaw said: “Now we know one of the reasons Boris Johnson is suppressing the official report into Kremlin penetration of our democracy. It’s because of the substantial and growing links between Russian money and the Tory Party.”
Downing Street has claimed that there was not sufficient time for the report “sign off process” before the election.
Former Prime Minister Theresa May had previously promised to distance the Conservatives from Russian money, especially in the wake of the Salisbury poisonings in 2018.
By far the largest recent Russian donor has been Lubov Chernukhin. The wife of a former Russian deputy finance minister, Chernukhin has donated more than £450,000 to the Conservatives in the last year.
Former arms tycoon Alexander Temerko is another prominent Russian donor in Tory circles who has given money in the past year. Temerko, who has spoken warmly about his “friend” Boris Johnson, has gifted over £1.2 million to the Conservatives over the past seven years and has reportedly admitted being involved in a Eurosceptic plot to oust May as Tory leader less than a year ago.