Who’s Your Daddy Maria Katasonova?

I was poking around in the apocalyptic milieu of Eurasianist and Orthodox nationalist conspiracy theory, and came across an interesting name: Maria Vladimirovna Katasonova. She’s been profiled as a Russian nationalist and former Duma candidate who is associated with Kremlin propaganda efforts in the French elections of 2017 and on the Ukrainian war front [1].

Photo collage entitled “A fool at the site of Nemtsov’s murder” from Katasonova’s social media. A Russian commenter says: “I would still understand if it was a joke of someone outside, but she herself posts this shit on her page, that’s the thing ..

Frequently invoking the image of a destroying Orthodox angel in her social media posts, Katasonova was described in 2015 as “low budget purveyor of fear” and “a disciple of [Alexander] Dugin and aide to presidential advisory-board member Yevgeny Fyodorov… Like her dark father who had called for genocide against the Ukrainian “cretins”, Katasonova, dressed like a white angel of death, said Russia would “destroy the whole world” if they lost the war in East Ukraine.” [2]

[nods to Solid Snake and Sviridov]

In this case, Katasonova’s “dark father” referenced in the bio is Alexander Dugin, who wrote: “We should clean up Ukraine from the idiots,”…“The genocide of these cretins is due and inevitable… I can’t believe these are Ukrainians. Ukrainians are wonderful Slavonic people. And this is a race of bastards that emerged from the sewer manholes.” [3]

While the comment here about a ‘dark father’ is rhetorical in relation to philosophical leanings (as Katasonova is not Dugin’s daughter), she operated at times in a network close to Alexander Dugin’s biological daughter (Daria Dugina aka Darya Platonova) and the political operative Andrey Kovalenko [4].  She’s also appeared in media stories close to the daughter of Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov (Elisaveta Peskova)[5].

Given that she seems influential and close to the daughters of other top ‘propagandists’ it stands to wonder, who might be her real father? The answer doesn’t seem clear, but the question is intriguing.

While I immediately recognized the apocalyptic influencer’s persona as ‘Duginesque’, when I first saw Katasonova’s name, my thoughts were not of Dugin, but rather of Valentin Katasonov (b. 1950), a noted pro-Kremlin economist and ideologist.

Valentin Katasonov

I wrote on him recently in the context of his promotion of vaccine microchip conspiracy narratives, which are very close to the Russian Orthodox nationalist and Eurasianist ideology [6].

Katasonov is notable for his connections to Russia’s SVR and their disinformation activities, and was covered by the US State Department in its 2020 report, “Pillars of Russia’s Disinformation and Propaganda Ecosystem”, where he was linked to the state-controlled think tank ‘Strategic Culture Foundation’ [7].

In digging around for the identity of who may be Maria Katasonova’s father, or reciprocally who may be Valentin Katasonov’s daughter, I found multiple rumors on the Russian-language internet – where Maria’s dark Instagram influencer persona is discussed – that she is indeed his daughter or relative [8, 9, 10, 11].

While Katasonova seems to have faded from view in recent years as a political force, it is now the elder namesake Katasonov who is in the spotlight of relevancy in the study of disinformation.

However, given Maria Katasonova’s obscure background (even her date of birth isn’t clear) and connections to the agents of the Russian SVR, as well as her remarkably well-funded and connected rise in Russian politics, information warfare, and propaganda activities abroad; perhaps we should keep an open mind that Katasanova may indeed be the daughter or a close relative of the influential Katasonov. We may see more and more of this family name in the future.

Maria Katasonova, who’s your daddy? Enquiring minds want to know.

Maria Katasonova and SVR agent Anna Chapman (1)
Maria Katasonova and SVR agent Anna Chapman (2)

References

[1] Jean-Baptiste Jeangène Vilmer , The Atlantic Council, “The “Macron Leaks” Operation: A Post Mortem”, Jun 2019, https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/The_Macron_Leaks_Operation-A_Post-Mortem.pdf

[2] William Echols, “Russia’s Strange Prophets of Doom”, Oct 2015, https://web.archive.org/web/20190130212454/http://readrussia.com/2015/10/28/russias-strange-prophets-of-doom/

[3] Mikola Riabczuk, “On the “Wrong” and “Right” Ukrainians”, Mar 2014,  https://www.aspen.review/article/2017/on-the-wrong-and-right-ukrainians/

[4] Bellingcat, “Russia Tries to Influence Le Pen to Repeal Sanctions”, Apr 2017,  https://www.bellingcat.com/news/uk-and-europe/2017/04/29/russia-tries-influence-le-pen-repeal-sanctions/

[5] Michael Birnbaum and Amie Ferris-Rotman, “Daughter of Putin’s spokesman takes E.U. internship, startling lawmakers fighting Kremlin influence“, Feb 2019,  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/daughter-of-putins-spokesman-takes-eu-internship-startling-lawmakers-fighting-kremlin-influence/2019/02/27/9ba8bce4-39eb-11e9-b10b-f05a22e75865_story.html

[6] Michael Hotchkiss, “Russian Origins of the Vaccine Microchip Conspiracy Theory”, Jun 2021, https://n01r.com/russian-origins-of-the-vaccine-microchip-conspiracy-theory/

[7]  U.S. Department of State Global Engagement Center, “Pillars of Russia’s Disinformation and Propaganda Ecosystem”, Aug 2020; https://www.state.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Pillars-of-Russia%E2%80%99s-Disinformation-and-Propaganda-Ecosystem_08-04-20.pdf

[8]  Vadim Matuzok, “Биография Марии Катасоновой: молодой политик, заслуги и личная жизнь” (Biography of Maria Katasonova: a young politician, merits and personal life), https://fb.ru/article/417575/biografiya-marii-katasonovoy-molodoy-politik-zaslugi-i-lichnaya-jizn

[9] {Russian message board – 9/11 Truth Movement}, Aug 2015, https://911tm.9bb.ru/viewtopic.php?id=831

[10] {Russian blog – Предварительный итог мышового обкакона (Kota Mochi’s blog: A preliminary summary of the mouse obkacon} (See Comments Section)), Sept 2019,  https://catmotya.blogspot.com/2016/09/blog-post_87.html

[11] Perebezchik . Ru, “Катасонова Мария Владимировна – досье, все новости” (Katasonova Maria Vladimirovna – dossier, all news), date of publication unclear , http://perebezhchik.ru/person/katasonova–mariya–vladimirovna/

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