Stealing secrets from the Americans is a time worn Russian ambition, notably practiced by Stalin back in the era when The Bomb was the big thing. Nothing has changed. The FBI has been watching Viktor Vekselberg and the Skolkovo Foundation he controlled for the past four years, because Skolkovo was believed to be contemplating intellectual theft of cutting edge technologies, including biotechnology, nanotechnology, new materials and sophisticated micro-electronics. NPR:
FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Lucia Ziobro wrote an unusual column in the Boston Business Journal in April of 2014 to warn that a foundation controlled by Russian energy baron Viktor Vekselberg might be part of a Moscow spying campaign that sought to siphon up American science and technology.
“The foundation may be a means for the Russian government to access our nation’s sensitive or classified research, development facilities and dual-use technologies with military and commercial applications,” Ziobro wrote. “This analysis is supported by reports coming out of Russia itself.”
Skolkovo was a product of the reset era, but it didn’t take long for its true intentions to be unearthed.
The Skolkovo Foundation was founded during the early years of the ‘reset’ in U.S.-Russia relations that began in the early years of the Obama administration. Vekselberg, one of Russia’s richest men, served as president for the organization and a major force behind the project, which was to create Russia’s version of America’s Silicon Valley.
Initially, the investment effort attracted American interest. But by spring of 2014, following the Russian seizure of Crimea, the U.S.-Russia relationship had soured significantly — and shortly after the Crimean annexation, the FBI’s Ziobro issued her public warning.
One U.S. official who had a front row seat to the Skolkovo Foundation’s work from its inception is Michael Carpenter, who served as the deputy director of the State Department’s Office of Russian Affairs, then later as the Director for Russia at the National Security Council in 2013 and 2014.
“Skolkovo was one of the projects that was launched under the auspices of the reset,” Carpenter said. “In particular it appeared to me to be an effort to gain intellectual property from U.S. firms and gain advantages … that could come back to hurt us. That was my intuition.”
“Vekselberg is a Kremlin money-man and has long been engaged with U.S. elites, whether from Harvard, private companies or trying to get access to the White House or State Department,” Carpenter told NPR. “So when I found out about Mueller’s questioning of him, and his role of potentially channeling funds to Michael Cohen, I took note.”
So you’ve got a Kremlin money man with close business ties to the personal attorney of the sitting president of the United States and he in turn was doing a land office business with blue chip corporate America firms selling access to said president and by implication, involving his other business cronies as well.
Robert Mueller is on top of this and thank God for that. The elephant in the room has always been a bear and the bear is holding the smoking gun which is Trump Russia.