“Vladimir, Serbia. Chechnya is a beautiful country. Grozny is charming”, said a young, short-haired man
in fluent Russian in a video recorded in 2019.
“Vladimir”, he introduced himself a year later as we shook hands in Moskva Hotel in Belgrade.
He is a former Serbian Army paratrooper who has been working as an analyst over the past couple of
years. He specializes in the Middle East and is a member of the Belgrade Centre for Syncretic Studies. His
name is Vladimir Gujanicic. I asked him if he has ever been to Chechnya.
“Yes, I’ve been there with a group of Balkan journalists”, he replied timidly, asking me not to record our
This photo was taken in Chechnya; a group of Balkan journalists is posing together with President Ramzan Kadyrov in it. He makes his first appearance in the video recording featuring the Chechen authorities’ guests thanking their hosts.
“There were other journalists from Italy and other countries”, Gujanicic recalled.
Then we got to the point. Arthur Evans. This name was written above text messages a Slovenian journalist J.T. received following his return from Chechnya last November. He met Vladimir in Grozny and they exchanged contact information. He believes that Gujanicic sent him the text messages under the pseudonym of Arthur Evans and that this name relates to the Facebook profile of Vladimir Gujanec.
“I contacted my colleague from Slovenia. Yes, I am registered on Facebook as Vladimir Gujanec.
“And who is that Arthur Evans person”, I asked.
“Why are you asking me that”, Gujanicic replied as he took a glass of water, clearing his throat.
“Because you are him”, I added.
“No, that’s not me. Ask Flores about his identity”, he stated, rather unconvincingly.
When I told the colleague from Slovenia what Vladimir Gujanicic said, he just smiled. He had no dilemma about who Arthur Evans was. He had already given us the text messages they exchanged last November. Once they had started conversation, Vladimir Gujanicic forwarded two links to him; the first one opening the “Transparency of the Russian Army in Syria” section published on the Serbian website stanjestvari.com.
“One version”, Arthur Evans wrote below the link, and another one followed “the other version of the news”.
His next text message included a link to fort-russ.com with the recently published article on “How the Biden Clan Plundered Ukraine” written by Andrii Derkach.
“Let us say that a little more is paid for this kind of news than the other ones. The corruption in Ukraine. If you have got the English and Slovenian media, everything becomes a lot more interesting then. There, I said it. It is all about copying the news. A simple copy-paste. No first and last names mentioned”, wrote
As the Slovenian journalist did not reply, it made Arthur Evans, whose real name is Vladimir Gujanicic, realize what it was about.
“Hey, I mean, if you are not really interested, just say so”, he wrote the next day.
During our meeting in Belgrade, Gujanicic repeated several times that he had no idea who was writing those text messages. He is indeed registered on Facebook under the username of Vladimir Gujanec, but he still claimed that he did not use the pseudonym of Arthur Evans. Moreover, he pointed out that he writes articles under a different pseudonym for fort-russ.com, an anti-American website run by his acquaintance Joaquin Flores.
“He lives in Zemun”, Vladimir replied when I asked him about the whereabouts of the Mexican holding a
He then took another phone from his backpack and called a person named Drago. He told this person that a Bosnian journalist wanted to talk to Flores.
“Could you send me his phone number on Telegram? Never mind, you can give it to me now”, he said and hung up.
About fifteen minutes later I asked if he got Joaquin Flores’s number.
“No, no. Joaquin is not here”.
But where was he? He did not reply to my e-mail sent to the e-mail address listed in the ‘Contacts’
section of fort-russ. His last name was not listed at the registered office address of the Belgrade Centre for Syncretic Studies. Also, there was no trace of the Centre either.
According to official information from the Register of Serbian Associations, Joaquin Flores is a legal representative of the Centre for Syncretic Studies, headquartered at Petra Markovica 24 in Belgrade. The Centre’s website states 2013 as the year of establishment, whereas the official databases of Serbian
Associations report it was 2017.
“The Center developed in response to the changing scientific, social, ideological and intellectual movements in North America, Europe and Eurasia which have the potential to reshape the discourse. The Center was founded in 2013 in Belgrade, based on a 2010 white paper which we have adopted, as an international ideological education organization, a discussion forum, review of significant works and news items, and conducts research for policy advocacy organizations, as well as a research facility for
syncretic and inter-disciplinary social analysis”, the official website of the Centre for Syncretic Studies states.
But what is this organization – a member of which is Vladimir Gujanicic – really about? And who is Joaquin Flores?
“Ever since I have known Flores, he has been writing against the USA”, says Gujanicic.
I search Joaquin Flores on Google. One of the results that came up was a text published on Russia Today in 2015. “An activist and a political analyst Joaquin Flores” was commenting ongoing protests of Macedonian opposition supporters against pro-Russian Government led by Nikola Gruevski for this Russian TV house.
“Peeling back a layer we know that organizing protest does not happen on its own. In this case we know much of the organization has been taking place by external forces, from NGOs that are originating from other countries. In this case, perhaps the US. There are legitimate grievances of course, but there is a
concern that these may be exploited,” said Flores to a Russia Today journalist Anissa Nouai.
The name Joaquin Flores is among the names of authors published on Moscow based website geopolitica.ru. He closely monitored election campaign in the USA in 2016 and provided detailed analysis of TV debates between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
“Trump’s victory was moral and strategic”, was the title of Flores’ analysis published on 30 September 2016., four days after the debate of presidential candidates in the USA. But another story, published six months earlier, on 30 March 2016, indicated what things were about. A report from conference titled Balkans and Middle East Interconnections and Intersections was published on Center for Syncretic Studies website. The speakers were Joaquin Flores and Leonid Savin.
“Leonid Savin is a geopolitical analyst, Editor-in-Chief of geopolitica.ru (since 2008), founder and editor-in-chief of Journal of Eurasian Affairs (eurasianaffairs.net); head of the administration of international “Eurasian Movement”. He is a former Editor-in-Chief of the Katehon site and magazine (2015 – 2017). Also, he is the director of the Foundation for Monitoring and Forecasting of Development of Cultural and Territorial Spaces (FMPRKTP). A member of the Military and Scientific Society of the Russian Ministry of Defense. Author of numerous books on geopolitics, conflicts, international relations and political philosophy issued in Russia, the UK, Spain, Iran, Italy, Serbia and Ukraine”, according to Savin’s biography published on geopolitica.ru website.
Joaquin Flores is a Katehon analyst, just like Savin. He published dozens of articles on their website, including his analyses of the pre-election debates between the U.S. presidential candidates in 2016, in which he openly favored Donald Trump over other candidates.
What is Katehon?
“Katehon think tank is an independent organization consisting of an international network of people – from a wide variety of fields and disciplines – who specialize in the geopolitical, geostrategic and political analysis of global events. The group consists of political thinkers, international relations (IR) researchers,
experts in security and counter-terrorism, and journalists concerned with international affairs, geopolitics, ethno-politics and inter-religious dialogue”, the official Katehon website read.
“Independent organization” Katehon is run by associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Chairman of the Supervisory Board is Konstantin Malofeev, an oligarch, while other members are Sergey Glaziev, Leonid Rashetnikov, Alexandr Makarov, Andrej Klimov and Zurab Chavchavadze. Most of
them are under U.S. sanctions.
“Malofeyev is one of the main sources of financing for Russians promoting separatism in Crimea. Malofeyev is being designated because he is responsible for or complicit in, or has engaged in,
actions or polices that threaten the peace, security, stability, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of Ukraine and has materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic”, the official U.S.
Department of the Treasury website site cited in 2014 when the U.S. imposed sanctions on Malofeyev.
Katehon think tank, whose Supervisory Board is chaired by Konstantin Malofeev, was described as “one of the pillars of Russia’s disinformation” in a special report published on the U.S. Department of State website in August this year. The same status in this report was assigned to “Geopolitica.ru” and “The Strategic Culture Foundation”. The thing that all these organizations have in common is Joaquin Flores, a founder and a legal representative of the Belgrade Centre for Syncretic Studies and a founder of fort-rus.com website.
“Belgrade is one of global centers, a hub where the East meets the West”, Joaquin Flores explains why he decided to work in Serbia.
In a half an hour long interview with Norwegian journalist Hanne Stine Nabintu Herland, whose TV show“Herland Report” was recommended to Norwegians in February 2018 by the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Oslo, Joaquin Flores talks about how living in Belgrade helps him to better understand the
EU and the NATO. Flores is, as we have explained, an associate and a researcher of Katehon, geopolitica.ru, and the Foundation for Strategic Culture, but he is also a founder of Centre for Syncretic Studies in Belgrade, which brings together “researchers” and authors such as Tim Kirby, Paul
Antonopulos, Brad Gilbeault, Jordan Miles, Jonathan Mc Carthy, Tom Winter, Danny Froberg, Jafa Arnold, Stefan Karganovic, Drago Bosnic, Arthur Evans – i.e. Vladmir Gujanicic.
The Center for Syncretic Studies from Belgrade is a founder of the fort-russ.com website, which has been marked in the State Department’s special report issued in August this year as part of an “ecosystem of Russian disinformation dissemination”. Joaquin Flores and Tim Kirby are, de facto, leaders of the Belgrade Centre for Syncretic Studies, which gathers “conspiracy theorists” and NATO opponents.
“Tim Kirby is the Ideological Director, Eurasia Research Fellow, & Multimedia Project Director at the Center for Syncretic Studies. Tim has been working in the realm of political analysis and media project development for the last ten years mostly in the Russian media sphere. He has been a part of large
media companies like RT, Tsargrad TV and Mayak Radio.” reads Centre for Syncretic Studies website.
But, let us go back to Vladimir Gujanicic. During our meeting in Belgrade he admitted being a member of the Centre for Syncretic Studies, led by Joaquin Flores. He also admitted that he was engaged by balkanpost.com website, which was, in his words “founded by Iranians in Belgrade”.
It was this website that picked up a story in November last year about the alleged criminal activities of the Biden family in Ukraine, which Arthur Evans offered to the Slovenian journalist J.T. The author of the story is Andrii Derkach, a controversial member of Ukrainian Parliament, who is – according to the U.S.media – connected with President Donald Trump’s personal advisor Rudy Giuliani. The U.S. Government designated Derkach as an active Russian agent who has directly interfered in the upcoming presidential election. On 11 November 2019 Derkach published a story about corruption in Ukraine accusing “the Biden clan”. Ten days later, Derkach’s story appeared on fort-russ.com titled “How the Biden Clan Plundered Ukraine”. Next day, this story was covered by balkanspost.com website. A person writing for both websites at the time was Vladimir Gujanicic, a former Serbian Army paratrooper who met the Slovenian journalist J.T. in Chechenia. In November last year he sent a link for Andrii Derkach’s story about “the Biden clan corruption”. The name of Arthur Evans was written above the messages.
“I already told you, that is not me. And I will take it personally if you publish it”, Gujanicic told me while we were parting, before he asked who had sent me.
In addition to Joaquin Flores, Arthur Evans is one of the most prolific contributors on fort-russ.com website, which is a pro-Russian media outlet, mocking, among other things, the use of Novichok agents and poisoning of Russian opposition politicians. All fort-russ.com authors openly support Donald Trump in the upcoming U.S. presidential election. In their “editorial comment” section published on 11 July this year, they said that “US-Russia tensions in the Crimea and Ukraine have reduced to some degree with the upset victory of Trump over Clinton”, warning about the consequences should Biden win the elections, whose victory – according to fort-russ.com – was arranged by the “America’s deep state”.