How did the paths of Macedonian Todorovski and Russian propaganda agent Kureyev cross?

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Bloomberg published recent insights from documents revealing that Russian agent Artem Kureyev led a Russian influence campaign in Europe, managing to contact the Macedonian Darko Todorovski. They agreed on a payment of 300 Euros to write articles in two publications. Their correspondence included instructions for disseminating the articles in Russian and English translations on proxy websites such as and Additionally, information about hotels reserved by Kureyev for two of Todorovski’s trips to Russia in April last year was verified


Author: Miroslava Simonovska 


Russian intelligence officer Artem Kureyev led a campaign on Russian influence in Europe, and his path crossed with that of Macedonian Darko Todorovskireported Bloomberg. The journalists reviewed a Russian document confirming that Kureyev agreed to pay 300 Euros to Todorovski for articles in two publications.

It is unclear if and when the payments were completed. Allegations of Todorovski establishing purported Russian installations were first revealed by Bulgarian journalist Hristo Grozev a year and a half ago, but Todorovski has consistently denied these claims both then and now.

As was already covered by Truthmeter, although he is not a recognized national journalist in our country but merely a doctoral candidate at the Presidential Academy in Moscow, he was still invited three times by Russia on a ‘press tour’ in Ukraine. His opinions and perspectives from these tours were then featured in Macedonian and Bulgarian media. 

Through his reports from various conferences with anti-Western narratives, he subtly transmitted opinions in favor of the Kremlin, under the pretense of journalism and politology. The latest Bloomberg information sheds new light on Todorovski’s path to meeting the Russian intelligence officer, raising questions about their relationship.

Among the documents that became accessible to Bloomberg were the letters between Todorovski and a man described by many sources as an agent of the Russian Security Service, Artem Kureyev. Todorovski corresponded with him at least from 2021 until 2023, including the provision of instructions for disseminating articles in Russian language and English translations on the proxy websites and 

Some of the exchanges depict the techniques of the typical pro-Russian propaganda campaign that often involved fabricated news of fringe sites that afterwards grow and spread on the social networks or are taken over by state-owned mediareported Bloomberg.

The documents also contained hotel reservations booked by Kureyev for two of the tours of Todorovski in Russia in April last year. Todorovski claimed that he had been invited as a guest on television, as well as a participant in a conference and a working meeting at the university, and that he wasn’t sure who paid the costs since he “participated on many conferences and forums and could not tell for sure”. 

Todorovski says that he met Kureyev in Russia and described him as someone who cooperated with many journalists from various countries, including the West. 

Truthmeter has already covered some of Todorovski’s visits to the occupied parts of Ukraine. 

In one of the articles he published following one of these visits to the Bulgarian site Pogled (on the 8th of May 2022 once the Russian Army took over Mariupol), in his report on the bombed and devastated Mariupol under the headline ”How is life in the city and what is going on in Mariupol” Todorovski wrote the following: 

Some citizens (in Mariupol, our note) say that they are Russians who speak Russian language and that they are happy that the Russian and the Donetsk Army are in MariupolNumerous Mariupol inhabitants are fighting on the side of the Donetsk Army. Other citizens, however, are saying that they expected Russia to do this back in 2014 and that the city would have fallen then without a struggleunlike now when the city is practically destroyedMany do not understand why the city is devastatedThey blame Ukraine, Russia and NATO for everything happening.

Who is Artem Kureyev and what was he doing with Todorovski?

In Bloomberg’s article, Artem Kureyev is portrayed as a Russian agent leading a Kremlin disinformation campaign in Africa. For years he worked on setting up operations to influence Europe, according to the documents familiar to Bloomberg’s editorial department as well as to governmental officials acquainted with this field. 

In 2022, in a court case in Estonia, Kureyev was presented as an agent of the Russian Security Service. He had frequent contact with at least six journalists from Europe. He organized and paid the travel costs for some of them to visit the occupied territories in Ukraine and on several occasions, it seems that he offered to pay for reporting news in the media, shows the document. 

In other situations, he applied more subtle methods such as organizing interviews, debating topics in the media, or organizing events. 

In February, the US Department of State addressed the Russian intelligence services regarding the provision of material support and training for the new information agency called “African Initiative”. The announcement informs that the project is spreading “deadly disinformation” about the USA and Europe, including the disinformation about a widespread outbreak of a mosquito-borne disease, to undermine public healthcare programs. 

In the announcement about the African Initiative, Kureyev is identified as its Chief Editor. 

A European functionary said to Bloomberg that Kureyev and Todorovski were involved in the operation of the site “antibelingcat”, dedicated to discrediting the work of the investigative medium “Belingcat”. Todorovski is reassuring that he left the project a year ago and that he believed that the project was not active any longer. The investigative journalist Hristo Grozev worked in Belingcat when he accused Todorovski of accepting Russian money to publish articles on proxy sites in the EU. 

Last year I named North Macedonian faux journo Darko Todorovski as one of the proxies Russian intelligence services use to pay EU media (including in Bulgaria) to carry pro-Russian, pro-war storiesThe price he was paying to Bulgarian media was 300 Euros per articleToday a new story from Bloomberg quoting e-mails from Russian intelligence operatives showing that Todorovski is receiving payment – literally 300 Euros – from the Russian FSB leader, Artem Kureyev for each article postedWhat a coincidence, wrote on Twitter Grozev on 11 Juneimmediately after the publication of the new article on Bloomberg. 

Regarding Grozev’s claims about alleged payments for posting pro-Russian articles, Todorovski deems that such claims are not substantiated. 

Statements without evidence that I received money and instructions are not serious, he stated for Bloomberg. 

The European politician who wanted to remain anonymous says that Kureyev had contacts with the Russian GRU military intelligence for some aspects of his operation in Europe. 


Booked flights for journalists to visit occupied Crimea 

Separate documents show that Kureyev booked and paid for the flights for a group of journalists to visit Crimea in 2023, long after Russia’s full-scale war on Ukraine had begun. Russia seized Crimea in 2014, prompting international sanctions in response. Kureyev has been in contact with other reporters since Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine and for years before that. Documents indicate that he and another intelligence officer met separately with at least one reporter from an EU member state in Russia, Turkey, and elsewhere. On at least two occasions, in August 2019 and March 2022, the journalist’s Russian contact covered the travel costs. 

Though many of these discussions related to news coverage, such as facilitating interviews or arranging trips to Russian-occupied areas of Ukrainethe documents don’t provide evidence that any of these journalist’s work is directed or funded by Moscow, specifies Bloomberg.

In January, in an article for the investigative site Insider Kureyev was appointed contact to Tatiana Zdanoka from the European Parliament, who was accused of collaborating with Russian intelligence. Zdanoka denied these allegations on Facebook. In an e-mail, her Cabinet claimed that Zdanoka had seen Kureyev once in Brussels at an event of the European Parliament, and beyond that, she did not know anything about him. The Kremlin also denied that Russia was involved in disinformation campaigns throughout Europe. In January, Putin’s spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov denied the espionage allegations of Zdanoka calling it a “witch hunt”. 

For the European Union, the fight against Russian disinformation and operations for influence is a top priority for the upcoming Summit of leaders in Italy (13-15 June). 

Such efforts include public disclosure of Russian campaigns and methods, sanctioning entities, and individuals, a coordinated response to Moscow’s actions, and striving towards preventing the circulation of disinformation on bigger platforms. 

Nevertheless, combating these disinformation campaigns is challenging because their goal is to create confusion and suspicion rather than convince people of specific facts. They aim to polarize society on issues such as immigration, war, and Western relations with the rest of the world.