Marc Marginedas / Antonio Baquero / J. G. AlbalatMoscú / Barcelona – Jueves, 21/11/2019 | Actualizada 22/11/2019 – 23:17
Víctor Terradellas, president of CatMón, former head of international relations of CDC and a person very close to the former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, offered, during the conversations he held in Moscow in 2017 with an influential ex-deputy official and politician well connected with the Kremlin, the recognition of the Russian annexation of Crimea by the Government of the Generalitat in exchange for Kremlin’s support for the Catalan unilateral declaration of independence (DUI). “We met three times, accompanied by a Catalan journalist who knows me; he wanted to use me as a contact so that I could go to the organs of power” (with that proposal), explains Sergey Markov, ex-deputy for the official party United Russia, professor of the elitist Moscow State Institute for International Relations (MGIMO, for its acronym in Russian), a man who in recent years has been occupying important positions in councils and government institutions of Russia.
“It was suggested that Russia could support the independence of Catalonia. And that (in return) Catalonia could say that Crimea is part of Russia,” Markov recalls last Monday at a restaurant in northern Moscow. Always according to the academic version, the response obtained by his interlocutors from him was not positive. “I told them that at the moment the Russian Government was very distanced from the (Catalan) issue, and I explained the logic to them,” Markov says. “We do not need that recognition, it is not true what the Western media say that we seek recognition, sooner or later the West will recognize that Crimea is part of Russia. What difference is there now or later?” Recalls the academic.
The name of this politician, professor and philosopher is written in a notebook confiscated by the National Police (the investigation is now carried out by the Civil Guard) during the registration of the CatMon headquarters in May 2018. According to Markov, both interlocutors met him three times in the fall of 2017, “twice in a row first, then they left (from Russia) and came back.” Deducing from the Terradellas annotations, this last meeting probably took place in the days prior to the DUI conducted by Puigdemont.
Markov’s statements take on special relevance as Terradellas, already back from Moscow and two days before the DUI, sent Puigdemont several messages urging him to receive him -to which the president finally agreed- to meet with a “Putin emissary “. “At 5, the emissary of Putin came by,” Terradellas wrote to Puigdemont on the 26th in a message that EL PERIÓDICO had access to. The day before, the president of CatMón sent the following wasap to Puigdemont: “‘President’, it’s Miquel. Victor and I are meeting with these people. In 24 hours they will answer us. They will also see if: 1. That China also makes a statement. 2. That Friday before doing anything, videoconferencing with PU [the National Police considers that it is Vladimir Putin]. “
The political scientist, who shrugs when he is told that Terradellas could have committed a crime by paying for his travels in pursuit of international recognition of Catalan independence with public money, points out that he does not remember 100% of the details he explains about of what happened in these meetings: “I could not swear on the Bible. It has been a long time.” Nor does it explain, if things were so clear on the Russian side, why they met up to three times.
In the conversation with this newspaper, Markov says he doesn’t know who Terradellas is talking about when he refers to a “Kremlin emissary” in the whatsapp that he sends to Puigdemont in the moments before the DUI, although he admits the existence of “non-political” contacts. “I don’t know who it could be; I think that contacts had somehow; contacts with the Government of Catalonia; if the crisis went on, Russia should receive information about what is happening, complete information, coming from both sides,” he continues. He discards, yes, that it was “political contacts.” “There were no political contacts between the Kremlin and Puigdemont; but I do believe that people from the intelligence services were sent, technical profile figures, to present themselves as journalists …. what is certain is that there was not one person who could promise you something at some point, “she says. And he insists again and again on the official position of the Kremlin, that Russia “does not interfere” in the internal affairs of other countries.
Once the DUI was proclaimed by Puigdemont, Moscow maintained its official position of not recognizing Catalan independence. Of course, a position apparently in favor of Spanish territorial integrity that experienced ups and downs, such as the support that the cause received in the media controlled by the State and that starred by Vladimir Putin himself in the month of October 2017, when since the Valdái’s residence affected the West for having recognized the independence of Kosovo in 2008 and now having to face a problem within the borders of the EU that, according to the opinion of the leader of the Kremlin, is similar. Asked about the Russian position in the Catalan conflict, the government adviser does not rule out that in the future Moscow can recognize Catalan independence, “if a different situation occurs, if, let’s put the case, the EU starts a war against Russia.”
On the future of Puigdemont, Markov even contemplates the possibility that he may end up seeking asylum in Russia. “I think it would be a case similar to Snowden (the US NSA refugee computer analyst in Moscow).” Snowden has been told: we give him the status of political refugee, we will not hand over to the Americans can you live here without problems, he may work, but we prohibit him from acting against the US Government. “When he is reminded that the Spanish police see the hand of President Puigdemont in the violence of recent weeks in Catalonia, Markov simply responds:” that could not do it from Russia. “