Last month a peculiar thing happened at the European Parliament. Four men were observed placing books with the title Red Dalia in members’ pigeonholes. Nothing unusual, you say: pigeonholes are for putting missives in. But it wasn’t just any book, and the four men distributed it without permission. The eponymous Dalia in the book of 200-plus pages is none other than Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė, and the book alleges that she used to be involved with the KGB.
Red Dalia
© DELFI

Grybauskaitė has repeatedly warned of Russian aggression. That, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Vasily Nebenzya warned last month, would have consequences for the Iron Lady of the Baltics. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich went farther, complaining that Grybauskaitė had “belched out a new set of rude verbal assaults on Russia in an interview with a local radio station.”

But back to Red Dalia. Upon finding the volume in his cubbyhole the following day, member Antanas Guoga—a Lithuanian liberal—e-mailed Parliament President Martin Schulz regarding the mysterious literature. Francesca Ratti—acting director general of the Parliament’s Directorate-General for Security and Safety—and her staff investigated, and last week she sent Schultz her findings. What Ratti reported was explosive stuff. “Following verification, it has been established that one of the individuals who brought the books into the Parliament and distributed them was Mr. Kevin Ellul Bonici, who is a member of staff of the EFDD Secretariat,” she wrote to Schultz. “On the day of the incident, Mr. Ellul Bonici invited two guests into Parliament, one Russian citizen and one Polish citizen who was born in Moscow. We have also concluded that these two men helped distribute the books. We have not yet established the identity of the fourth person.”

EFDD is the European Parliament’s Euroskeptic group, Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy, led by Nigel Farage of the UK Independence Party. (Ellul Bonici is also married to a Eurosceptic Maltese politician, Sharon Ellul Bonici.) As I’ve previously written in Newsweek, Russia has successfully been courting support among the European Parliament’s non-mainstream parties and is using agents of influence to shape public opinion. Shaping public opinion, presumably, was exactly Ellul Bonici and his Russia-connected friends’ mission.

Elizabeth Braw's blog

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