Kremlin tries to link Hunter Biden to financing of Moscow’s Crocus City Hall terrorist massacre

Kremlin tries to link Hunter Biden to financing of Moscow’s Crocus City Hall terrorist massacre
Russia’s Investigative Committee has launched a criminal investigation into Ukraine’s oil and gas company Burisma, where Hunter Biden served on the board of directors for five years, and has accused “senior officials of the United States and Nato countries" of funding terrorism in Russia. / bne IntelliNews
By Ben Aris in Berlin April 10, 2024

Russia’s Investigative Committee launched a criminal investigation into the financing of terrorism in Russia on April 9, with focus on a board of directors that included the son of US President Joe Biden, Hunter Biden.

“Today, the Investigative Committee accused Joe Biden almost personally of financing terrorist attacks in Russia (but not yet specifically in Crocus) and through Ukraine,” The Bell reported.

The Investigative Committee linked terrorism in Russia to “senior officials of the United States and Nato countries,” without specifically mentioning the Crocus City Hall attack on March 22 that left over 140 dead.

A recent poll in Russia found that the majority of Russians believe that the attack on the mall by at least four gunmen from Tajikistan was organised by Ukraine. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has stringently denied being involved or masterminding the attack. As bne IntelliNews reported, there is much stronger evidence that the mastermind behind the attack was based in Turkey. A branch of Islamic State (IS) extremist group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

This Investigative Committee case has been brought under Article 205.1 of the Russian Criminal Code that deals with terrorism and claims that the Hunter Biden-linked company Burisma was involved in funding terrorist operations aimed at destabilising Russia. The committee claims the company targeted key political and public figures as well as inflicting economic damage on Russia.

The inquiry into these allegations began after an appeal by Duma deputies and public figures, including prominent figures from the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, United Russia and proponents of "Eurasianism." This group contends that Burisma's financial contributions, specifically an $18mn donation to the Ukrainian Armed Forces' "Army of Drones" project, constitute the financing of terrorism.

Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Putin was quick to blame the “Ukrainian direction” in the attacks and has used the incident to bolster the Kremlin’s propaganda campaign to drum up support for his war in Ukraine, which is now into its third year.

Burisma has long been a subject of scrutiny after it hired Hunter Biden on a large salary. He served on the company’s board from 2014 to 2019. His tenure has fuelled accusations of corruption and preferential treatment, though no concrete evidence has been presented to support claims of misconduct by the Bidens.

When he was president, Donald Trump tried to put pressure on Zelenskiy into bringing charges against Hunter Biden, by leveraging promises of aid to Ukraine, for his own political advantage. Trump's first impeachment as president in 2019 was sparked by a phone call between Trump and Zelenskiy, in which Trump linked US military aid to Zelenskiy ordering a criminal investigation of the younger Biden.

The focus on Burisma and its alleged role in financing terrorism marks a significant escalation in the Kremlin’s propaganda as Russia’s authorities attempt to build a direct link between US officials and acts of terrorism within Russia. All of Russia was shocked by the attack in Crocus City Hall, the first serious terrorist incident in Russia in almost two decades.