Asymmetric threats represent, inter alia, using weaknesses in the situations when the cracks emerge in the established system of government. Such situations are certainly periods of crisis, dissatisfaction, attitude expression through mass demonstrations, in a word, a game in which civil awareness indicates the problem.
The “yellow vest” protests may be defined as an aspiration for certain “French issues”, if we put it in a broader European context, they can be seen as an expression of dissatisfaction with perennial situation in Europe, ranging from savings measures to Brexit.
A certain part of protestors, which is not, according to our findings, so numerous for now, uses the gatherings of the “yellow vests”, as an event monitored by a wide eye of the public, in order to promote different ideas. Members of that group stand out from the rest of the protestors wearing white strips around arms, and most commonly berets and military medals.
Self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic is another pair of shoes. Or at least it should be.
The two men in the photo 1 are Fabrice Sorlin and Xavier Moreau. The first one is a member of the organization named Russia-Donbas Integration Committee ( http://russia-donbass.ru ), that deals with enhancing humanitarian, cultural and social integration of Donbas and Russia. He regularly publishes analyses for platforms Geopolitika.ru and Katehon.com, while the latter is owned by the Russian tycoon Konstantin Malofeev. The other is pro-Russian analyst, the founder of Stratpol – French platform for the analysis of international and security policies, with headquarters in Slovakia. At first sight, a completely legitimate advocating of the pro-Russian positions in the hub of Europe, but let us leave them aside for a while.
Further analysis led us to an interview with one of the “protestors” (photo 2), who turned out to be a part of the mentioned organized group, which defines itself as a buffer zone between protestors and police.
In this short interview, Lenta said that such protests (“yellow vest” protests) usually result in violence and explained to the authorities in France that it would not be caused by the protest itself, but by the police provocations. Indicating violence and his characteristic beret encouraged us to investigate deeper.
Although he introduced himself as Anthony during the protests, we recognized him to be Victor Lenta. Together with Nikola Perovic (photo 4), a French of Serbian origin (in some sources described as of Serbian-Montenegrin origin), he established the international brigade Unite Continentale, which took part in Donbas, fighting for Russia. The very members of the Brigade identify themselves as fighters against the US imperialism and work on encouraging the cooperation with Russia. It is about the ultranationalist movement, which supports French and European volunteers, who want to fight on pro-Russian separatists’ side in the Ukrainian region Donbas. Victor Lenta was parachutist in the French Army, deployed in the area of Carcassonne city. Together with Perovic he was engaged within the French Army in military missions in Chad, Afghanistan, and Gabon. Both of them, according to their statements, abandoned the Army for the same reasons – antagonism towards NATO and the USA. Truth is that Lenta was expelled from the military service for his involvement in activities of the neo-Nazi group that torched a mosque in southern France in 2008. Observing the development of the events in Paris and Victor Lenta’s appearance, we found out that he was a leader of “guardians of the order”, who protected the “yellow vests” from the repression of the police. Now the group of more than 40 members. Lenta was not inconspicuous at the “yellow vests”, given the fact that he wore a characteristic beret and military medals, the details that led us into more thorough analysis of his deeds.
Another volunteer from Donbas stands out at the protests. That is Sergei Munier, who was twice in Donbas (photo 5), the first time in 2014, within the battalion Vostok (Восток), and the second time in 2015 within the brigade Pyatnashka (Пятнашка). According to our findings, Munier was (is) a member of Pyatnashka, which is often associated with Spetsnaz. Munier wore Pyatnashka symbols during the protests in Paris (photo 6 and 7).
Analyzing his movements, we found out that most of 2018 he had spent in Russia. We know that he participated in the organization of the Russia World Cup 2018, in the first ring of security. This information is significant in the context of former French soldier, paid fighter in Donbas, who got the opportunity to be a part of Russia World Cup 2018 official organization (photo 8 and 9).
Also, he attended the International Army Games organized by the Russian Ministry of Defence. Although it is well-known that the tickets for this event could have been purchased online, Munier had a VIP ticket (photo 10), for which there was no purchasing information. Based on our analysis, he was a member of the light armored brigade, which is confirmed by his parade uniform from 2016, characteristic for members of this brigade (photo 11).
Apart from him, an ex-police officer participates in the protests in Paris, who appears in the photo with Victor Lenta taken in the occupied areas in Ukraine (in the photo of Lenta and Perović, he is the one behind Lenta). It is Mihail Takahashi, who was also active within the organization Unite Continentale in the previous years.
Since we do not want for any product of our analysis to be based on coincidence, we will go back to the two men from the beginning of the research. We come across the evidence on Moreau and Munier friendship (photo12), which indicates to a certain level of organization, when it comes to their presence at protests and incompatibility of the messages their symbols imply and ideology of the “yellow vests”.
On the other hand, indirect connection between Munier and the Unite Continentale organization is evident through Munier and Takahashi’s mutual staying in Paris. (photo13)
Participation of these individuals with very controversial past encourages us to continue our research. Additionally, the words of Victor Lenta contribute to this. He said that such gatherings of the citizens in the streets and roundabouts in Paris, compellingly resemble the former developments in Ukraine.
It is necessary to pay attention to the rule well-known in the theory about political sciences: militant and “allegedly ultraright wing” organizations often use mass dissatisfaction of the people to promote their aspirations and incite riots.
We will be back with more thorough analysis.