Yesterday we laid out the dramatis personae of the latest coup d’theatre of Russian pranksters Vladimir Kuznetsov and Alexei Stolyarov (aka Lexus and Vovan). This time, posing as Polish Education Minister Jarosław Gowin, the pranksters placed a phone call to Timothy Stumph, Associate Director of the Yale Greenberg World Fellows Program. And then proceeded to troll Stumph into revealing his [already very well known] connections with the National Endowment for Democracy. A known CIA-front group which channels big heaps of American taxpayer dollars to dubious foreign “revolutionaries” and even terrorists. Coming from a government which hypocritically whines about so-called “Russian interference” in their own elections; and under the guise of a benign student leadership program, future revolutionaries and agents of influence are trained in various subversive techniques, preferably in bringing down their own governments when the U.S. decides it is time. Like the brochure says:
we scour the globe for people working innovatively (and often tirelessly) across sectors to bring positive change. Fellows are mid-career. They’re already questioning stale solutions and status quo strategies and coming up with new and better ways of tackling big problems. They’re dynamic, creative practitioners – disruptive thinkers, imaginers, inventors and creatives – who have already been recognized for their work.
“Disruptive” is a good word to describe these jolly Boola-Boola “fellows”. In fact, if you look up the word “disruptive” in the Russian dictionary, you will see a picture of Alexei Navalny. But this post is not about Navalny. It’s about Navalny’s second-in-command, Leonid Volkov. Navalny already served his term at the Yale Fellows (back in 2010), learned to do whatever it is that he does; and now it’s Volkov’s turn. Volkov will be arriving in Connecticut in a couple of weeks to prepare himself for the fall semester in the Ivy Halls. As Stumph mentioned to faux-Gowin, Volkov will be taking classes at both Yale Law School and the School of Management. The Americans have high hopes for this dissident, given his background in information technology and cyber-security.
Why was Stumph tricked into thinking he was talking with the Polish Minister of Education, when he was actually chatting with a young tee-shirt wearing Russian punk? Why does anybody get scammed? It’s usually either greed or vanity. In some cases, fear. For example, recently in the U.S. there was a spate of vicious phone-trollings carried out by an organized crime team operating out of a fake call center in India. These criminals were playing a meaner variant of the old “Spanish Prisoner” con; in their case, posing as IRS agents and threatening hapless elderly citizens with audits, unless, of course, they was to divulge their bank account numbers and cough up some bribes. Many fearful Americans fell for this scam, but eventually the criminals were shut down, as I was reading in the papers just last week.
In Stumph’s case, I don’t think it was fear that made him pick up that phone. Maybe not even greed. It was vanity, I think. One of the seven deadly Biblical sins. Stumph is basically a nobody of a bureaucrat. He didn’t even attend Yale himself, he probably wasn’t good enough to get in; and he only has a Master’s Degree — in Education, from the University of Connecticut. He apparently doesn’t speak any languages except for English and some Spanish (which was his BA). An “educator” who couldn’t teach; hired by Yale to work as a drone in their Admissions Office, Tim somehow found a way to ride the lucrative gravy train that is U.S. government funding.
It is understandable that a Gogolian nobody like Tim Stumph would be flattered to find himself on the phone with a bigshot government official from an important European nation like Poland. Pretending that he is a mover of worlds. And chuckling together like good ole boys at the highest levels of international intrigue about Alexei Navalny’s “revolutionary” antics, and how much they displease the Kremlin. Hahahahah, are we not fine fellows? Stumph brags that that Volkov will be taken on excursions to New York City and Washington DC to meet his new CIA handlers some interesting people… After which, of course, he will be returning to Poland to enroll in that other fake-educational program known as the Lexus-Vovan Institute For Clowns.
The one thing I give Stumph credit for, is that he doesn’t fall for Vovan’s final provocation: “We can destroy Russia together — ha ha ha!” Stumph [chuckling along nervously]: “Well, I wouldn’t say destroy. More like improve.” That’s right, Mr. Bureaucrat Walter Mitty, in your own mind you have the power to change and improve other empires and civilizations.”
Here is the youtube vid of the conversation. As I mentioned, the conversation takes place in English (in Vovan’s case, highly accented English), with Russian subtitles, for the greater amusement of the Russian-speaking public. The key take-away and coup d’état for the prankers occurs around 8:25 minutes in, when Stumph’s loose lips casually let slip that they (Yale) have been in touch with the NED constantly, as part of funding their protege’s new career path. Again, nothing that nobody didn’t already know; but still amusing to hear from their own hubristic mouths.