Russia’s plans to strengthen its influence in the Balkans became apparent when the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies (RISS) opened its branch office in Belgrade in October 2013. At the time, the office was headed by General Leonid Reshetnikov. RISS is one of the most important informational and analytical leverages of the Russian federal authorities. Prominent Russian experts (180 of them) are responsible for designing and “creating” Russia’s strategy and policy, especially in the domain of national security.
“When it comes to cooperation between the RISS and Putin (President of Russia, Vladimir), our analytical production contributes to operations of all key Russian services, from the president’s administration, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the services responsible for Russia’s security, to big corporations such as Gazprom, Olympstroy, Reshetnikov said in an interview with the Večernje novosti after the opening. In the years to come, Reshetnikov and his deputy in charge of the Balkans, Nikita Bondarev, went on to give countless statements through which they attacked the supporters of Euro-Atlantic integrations, in Serbia and Montenegro in particular, and formed close relationships with the Russia-oriented opposition in these countries.
Thusly, in April 2016, commenting on Russia-oriented opposition’s win of seats in Serbian parliament, Bondarev said it was a very good result and it was to the benefit of Moscow because it would be a lot easier now to influence the Serbian PM, Aleksandar Vučić.
The first direct attack on Moscow due to its interference with interior matters, in particular its participation in organizing the protest in Podgorica on October 24, 2015, was by Montenegro Prime Minister Milo Đukanović when he said in his statement to HRT that “there is no doubt Russia had and it still has an active role in organizing anti-government protests in Podgorica”. Having pointed out that Serbia’s state policy did not make a single gesture to “interfere with, provisionally speaking, what was deemed as political turmoil,” Đukanović added, “Yet great-Serbian nationalist circles in Serbia did do it, just like, as you can see, they are nowadays still doing it. They are still trying to counterfeit something that happened last night, through fabricated press articles or by presenting some distorted facts. Accordingly, there is no doubt that Russia had and it still has an active role in the organization anti-government protests in Podgorica” – Đukanović said. 
In response to the accusations from Podgorica, the Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on October 26, 2015 that they resulted from a custom to demonise Russia. “Seeking the devil everywhere and the demonization of Russia – this is well-known entertainment for lots of countries,” Peskov said.
On the same day, in the premises of RIA Novosti in Moscow, a round table titled “NATO going to the Balkans: Montenegro, Macedonia, Serbia” was held under the auspice of the RISS and the Balkan Centre for International Cooperation of the former Russian Ambassador to Belgrade Alexander Chepurin.
Lead participants in the round table, the message of which was not to allow Montenegro’s integration in NATO, were, in addition to Bondarev and the director of the Balkan Centre Viktor Kolbanovsky, one of the heads of the Montenegrin NGO “NO to war, NO to NATO” Igor Damjanović as well as the Deputy Chairman of the Coordination Centre of Russian Compatriots in Montenegro of Veniamin Striga. That Coordination Centre was formed following the order of the Russian Embassy in Podgorica, and Striga, together with Alexei Galitsky, while staying in Montenegro, tried to organize various pro-Russia and anti-NATO activities on numerous occasions. One of them was the Immortal Regiment, which has been organized in Russia since recently on May 9 under direct auspice of Vladimir Putin. While staying in Montenegro, Striga dealt with the installation of antennas, but after the coup attempt in Montenegro in October 2016, he left Montenegro together with his spouse and returned to Moscow, which came as surprise to Russian diaspora.
Galitsky, who was also a member of the Russian biker group Night Wolves, presents himself as a Chairman of the Balkan Federation of Russian Language Organizations, a restructured KSORS , and together with Striga he attended on March 20, 2017 the conference at the Russian State Duma which was dedicated to Russia's actual policy regarding diaspora.
As one can see at the website of the Balkan Federation of Russian Language Organizations, Galitsky and Striga had a meeting prior to this, on March 2, in Moscow, with the Republic of Srpska's President Milorad Dodik.
In November 2015, another round table was held in the press centre of the state-owned parliamentary gazette in Moscow titled “Is political dialogue in Montenegro possible”.
Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Sergei Zheleznyak as the organizer said that a referendum on possible integration with the NATO had to be held in Montenegro and that Russia had to take active part in that process, as it was assessed by Moscow at that time. A member of the Duma’s Committee for diaspora relations Vasily Likhachyov said the Duma deputies would try to influence a decision on Montenegro’s integration with the NATO, through parliamentary liaisons, among other things, in European organizations. Director of the Balkan Centre for International Cooperation Viktor Kolbanovsky said it was necessary to consolidate organizations in Russia so as to accomplish Russian public-social projects in Montenegro. “We have to protect the interests of our 10,000 citizens in Montenegro”, Kolbanovsky said.
Milan Knežević of the Democratic People’s Party of Montenegro and the leader of the New Serbian Democracy Andreja Mandić said via Skype that they were seeking open support from Russia in their opposing to the country’s integration with the NATO.
Since spring 2016, Zheleznyak has started actively commenting on the events in Serbia and Montenegro and also suggesting the solutions for those countries’ interior issues. Accordingly, on March 2, 2016 he said that Serbia should hold a referendum on its integration with the NATO along with early parliamentary elections. Zheleznyak’s reaction “regarding the statement of Serbia’s PM Aleksandar Vučić that no referendum will be organized in the country with respect to its integration with the NATO” was released on the web site of the United Russia.
Milan Knežević’s Democratic People’s Party signed the declaration of cooperation with the United Russia on May 6, on Lovćen Mt., in the presence of Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro and Primorje. On behalf of Russia the Declaration, advocating military neutrality of Montenegro which is to be established in the Constitution, was signed by Viktor Kolbanovsky, who was presented as a political advisor of the United Russia. On the same day, later, the Declaration was signed by the leader of the Montenegrin Socialist Party Srđan Milić.
On the next day, Sergei Zheleznyak said on the United Russia’s website that Lovćen Declaration could become a solid foundation for the development of cooperation between Russia and Montenegro and with other countries of the Balkans region as well.
“First of all we should draw attention to the initiative (entered into the Declaration) for the creation of the Alliance of neutral sovereign countries of SE Europe, which is already supported by leading political parties in Serbia, both ruling and opposition”, Zheleznyak said..
In late June 2016, on the side-lines of its party congress, the United Russia and the representatives of the Serbian Movement Dveri and of the Democratic Party of Serbia signed a declaration that was advocating military neutrality of the Balkan region. It was stated that declarations as such were also signed together with some parties from Montenegro, Macedonia and Bulgaria. 
As the Blic daily wrote on March 24, 2016, the Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS), the Dveri, the Third Serbia and the Zavetnici are four political organizations enjoying the assistance of Russians in achieving as good as election result as possible.(10)
According to information obtained by the paper, these parties could count on the support of Russian mediators as to ensuring media promotion, organization of various events, meetings and rallies and on political councils as well. “Their goal was not naive at all, on the contrary. They want Serbia to terminate its European integrations and also to separate from the West and to ask Moscow for anything”, the Blic stated.
That daily released that Vladimir Zotov, the representative of Gorchakov Fund, Viktor Kolbanovsky, the director of the Balkan Centre for International Cooperation, Sergei Gluschenko of the Media Centre “Russian Express” and Alexander Hohlov, the head of the office of the Russian Chamber of Commerce in Belgrade were the main liaison with the Kremlin. The then president of the DSS said that this party was not provided with financial support. “Kolbanovsky was a contact with the Duma Deputy Chairman and the official of the UR Sergei Zheleznyak. We are making arrangements about various things, such as support to the holding of a referendum on NATO or on the preservation of Kosovo within Serbia”, said she.
Cossacks and Night Wolves in the Balkans
The Cossacks and the Russian bikers appeared in the Balkans like a “soft power” whose role is to uphold the interests of the Kremlin by promoting Orthodoxy. The Balkan Cossack Army was formed in Kotor in early September 2016. The ceremony started with a reporting to Ataman Victor Zaplatin, ant it was followed by a colour guard bringing the flags of Russia, Montenegro and Serbia into a church. Cossack General Victor Vladimirovich Zaplatin, who has been working in Serbia for 16 years as a representative of Russia, was unilaterally appointed a supreme ataman of the Balkan Cossack Army.
Cossack lieutenant (Ataman of Montenegro) Slobodan Pejović, who was appointed a deputy of the supreme ataman of the Balkan Cossack Army, condemned the position of the official Montenegrin policy regarding Montenegro’s integration with the NATO, having called this organization – a cage .
Though this colourfulness of uniforms and flags, as a typical characteristic of Cossacks, was given a lot of space in the Balkan media, the Cossacks have not been exhibiting themselves like that anymore. This is why the Russian liberal publication Novaya Gazeta arrived at a conclusion that Cossacks and Serbian volunteers from Donbas could be the operatives executing Russian interests in the Balkans.
The biggest biker group in Russia, “The Night Wolves”, received the financial aid from Vladimir Putin totaling in to 3.1 million rubles (50 000 USD) so as “to unite the brotherly Slavic peoples”. “Russian Motorcyclists” as they officially refer to themselves, led by Alexander Zaldostanov, The Surgeon, received the support from the Kremlin in December 2016, for the project called “The Slavic World”. It was stated in the request that it is all about “motorcycle and car rallies aiming to unite the brotherly Slavic peoples through the public diplomacy.” According to The Anti-corruption agency data, “The Night Wolves” received the aid amounting to 56 million rubles, that is, 1.5 million euro during 2013 and 2014. They announced a march they refer to as “strengthening the dialogue between the Slavic peoples” where they would visit 12 countries, including Montenegro, Serbia, Macedonia and Bulgaria.
Tsargrad TV owned by Malofeev, often hosted Resetnikov as a main guest, who used the opportunity to attack the authorities in Belgrade and Podgorica.
Leonid Resetnikov stated in the show called “Russian answer-war in Montenegro?” that there could be bloodshed in Montenegro. “There could even be bloodshed in Montenegro. There could even be a charge at the parliament. Anything could happen. It all depends on the decisiveness of the leaders and unanimity of the opposition government” said Resetnikov in the show dedicated to the political atmosphere in Montenegro. He also mentioned that they predicted that Bosniak party would side with Democratic Party of Socialists. “We already predicted the party of Bosniak Muslims, would find themselves under the pressure of the USA and the very Đukanović and that bribe and threats would “work out”. As we can see, the Bosniaks didn’t withstand all of it. What took place was fully expected. Now a lot of it will depend on the decisiveness and unanimity of the opposition as well on their readiness to protest against the game organized by Đukanović according to the instructions from Europe and the USA,” stated Resetnikov. In the show, he also made a comparison between Montenegro and Germany lead by Hitler: “The Western Beast knows and still has hopes. What did Hitler hope for as he defended himself 100 kilometers away from Berlin? The same is applied here. Trump is still not a president-and also we have the Western Europe leaders who support Đukanović. This especially applies to Germany that gives him encouragement, a lot of ‘stay strongs’ and help.
Hope dies last, so Đukanović and his supporters will fight and try to remain in power till the end. Finally, what else could they do? Take all the money and leave the country?” said Resetnikov. When asked where they could go, Resetnikov answered: “There are many European countries that support them. There are special services that have supported Đukanović since the early 90s. I’m also thinking of German and Italian services. So, he has a place to run to and that is why he will fight till the end.”
He stated that the opposition managed to unite just before the recent elections. “But the situation in Montenegro reached the level where little can be done without a serious engagement. What took place was fully expected. Now a lot of it will depend on the decisiveness and unanimity of the opposition as well on their readiness to protest against the game organized by Đukanović according to the instructions from Europe and the USA,” said Resetnikov. According to his words, the relations between Montenegro and Russia have reached the bottom. “Russia is making a strict and clear stand towards Montenegro. It has been a long time since Đukanović or any of his government representatives set foot to Moscow. Our relations have reached the bottom and I find it to be of utmost importance that our citizens, who own real estate in Montenegro and travel there for holidays, take a more patriotic stand. At least for some time, they should restrain themselves from travelling and spending money in a country that is headed towards the NATO” emphasized Resetnikov.
Malofeev’s role and his connection to Resetnikov
Helped by Ukranian hackers, research portal InformNapalm.org, caught in possession correspondence of one of the coordinators of "Russian World" in Eastern Europe, Alexander Usowski, a citizen of Belarus.
“In the summer of 2014, Usowski presents his projects to the representatives of the Russian tycoon Konstantin Malofeev, associated with many pro-Russian movements and referred to as the Kremlin’s official treasury for financing the subversive operations in Eastern Europe, The Commonwealth of Independent States and even in the very Montenegro.
In August of 2014, Usowski receives 100 thousand euro in order to organize pro-Russian political gatherings to support New Russia in Eastern Europe. Active propaganda took place from August to October in 2014. Usowski sent a report on the propaganda to all of his potential future partners. The money for the organization of the propaganda was provided by the Russian tycoon Konstantin Malofeev, who at the time was a curator of the foreign policy of Russia towards the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republic.
From Usowski’s correspondence:
“Where’s Malofeev’s office? It’s where Lena and I met to take the money. In the Newspaper Passage?”
Judging from the above mentioned, the money handover took place in Malofeev’s office in the Newspaper Passage in the center of Moscow in July and August 2014. The percentage used to pay for the organization of the negotiations with Malofeev is also mentioned in the correspondence, where the organizer of the meeting grossed 10 thousand euro in cash. Active propaganda in Poland took place between August and October 2014, where Usowski used the activists of the right wing movement from OWP and Samoborona.
At the end of October of 2014, Usowski travelled again to Moscow because of the negotiations about the second stage of anti-Ukranian propaganda and the promotion of the idea of Russian World, but he was unexpectedly denied.
From Uskowski's correspondence:
“Sasha, can you imagine, I’m in Moscow, but they refused to finance my project. Could you believe it?”
“What do they want from you, a revolution in East Europe?”
“Well, I could make a revolution in there months. I don’t understand what happened. First they loved it, and now they’re like “please wait in the hall.” Muscovites, my foot! I don’t know how these dumb geeks are planning on defeating the Americans.”
“You only now realized it? The Kremlin has always been like that.”
“I am a naïve fool. I used all the money for the propaganda. I did buy a car though, but that was a part of the contract. Now I have pro-Russian groups of idealists in Poland, Slovakia and Czech Republic, who are well-functioned and just waiting for an order to make barricades. And next thing you know we have empty pockets!? In August I got 100 thousand euro for the preparations and it turns out there is no a second stage now that all the work is done and all the money is spent. And they say there won’t be a second stage.”
“I’ve been telling you they would stand you up. They use you and then they get rid of you, it was always like that, in Serbia, in Iraq, in Libya. We’re still in the era of Gorbachev.”
“Then why the hell did they make me spend all that money. What’s the logic behind?”
“It’s the same logic used in Kosovo. They made a mistake by taking over the airport and then gave up. It’s the same thing.”
“Motherfucker! I should have swiped 80 thousand and use the rest of the money to pay some lowlifes to make fake gatherings.”
From Usowski’s report about the undertaking of activities:
“Poland. Two gatherings with about 100 people in each of the three towns. After every gathering there was a press conference and we served the journalists with the story. Overall cost: 13.5 thousand euro.
Slovakia. One gathering with about 200 people in each of the two towns. After the gatherings the same follow-up as in Poland. Overall cost: 6000 euro.
Hungary. Here it was a bit more complicated but at the same time easier: all we had to do is coordinate with their (right wing) party Jobbik. We paid for the posters and food for the protesters. The main costs: 2,5 euro. The additional costs: a car Geely Emigrand X7- 20, 5 million USD, the filming of the movie “The Slavic Heart”-5,4 USD.”
Judging from what it says further in the correspondence, after the beginning of negotiations in Minsk, another man from The Kremlin called Vladimir Surkov took over the project Little Russia from tycoon Malofeev, while he was transferred to the Balkans.
As he continued working in Poland with their radicals in 2015 and 2016, Usowski kept on helping Malofeev with his projects on the Balkans. Accordingly, he organized a gathering in Brussels where the Polish radicals would burn a dummy looking like Đukanović.
From Usowski’s correspondence:
“One question, Jatsik. There is a possibility we will have to organize a big chain of protests in Brussels against Đukanović and against the idea of Montenegro joining the EU. Is it possible to organize it? In Brussels, but with our people. If I get money for that, we will talk about deadlines, people and everything else. Only tycoons can finance this. I said we could organized a protest with 200 people for 25 000 euro and we could bring flags, posters and burn a dummy looking like Đukanović.”
“Yes, they should pay those few coins, so later on they could drink champagne, watch TV and say ‘look what we made’.”
“Just exactly as last year. We did it and Malofeev said that he gathered the Polish for New Russia. I know that politics always requires money and we never have enough of it. When it comes to the protest in Brussels, we would need our people to march there. We would give each of them 100 euro and pay the trip, accommodation and food costs. There are also around hundred of Serbian emigrants; we would give them each 50 euro which would make it another 5000. It would be great if around 30 Belgians showed up too. And if we pay for flags, posters and surround system, 25 000 should cover it.”
The organization of the gathering in Brussels and other plans for Montenegro started in December 2015. All the plans aiming to destabilize Montenegro were worked on for almost a year until the unsuccessful “Russian putsch” which scandalously ended up in mistrust towards the Russian officials because of their involvement in the coup attempt.
The Russian Insider (The Insider) and the British Bellingcat, made a joint research on the influence of The Kremlin on the political processes in Eastern Europe, published on 24 March 2017 on Portal. It explains how the Kremlin’s special services that used military volunteers with the war experience in Donbas, East Ukraine, tried to organize a coup in Montenegro so as to prevent it from entering the NATO.
Among other things, Portal displayed a biography of Eduard Shishmakov, a Russian citizen, a member of Main Intelligence Agency (GRU), and a leader of the criminal organization that planned a terroristic attack in Montenegro on 16th October last year.
Shishmakov was born in 1971 as a son of an army officer. He finished high school with Group of Soviet Army in East Germany, in a little town called Halle. In 1993, he graduated from Naval Army Institute “Nakhimov” in Sevastopol, and then he went through the Military Academy of the Ministry of Defense of Russia, which GRU popularly refers to as Conservatory. This academy specializes in a training of military diplomats, “attaches”, as well as members of military intelligence.
It is well-known that in 2014 Shishmakov held the position of an army attaché in the Russian Embassy in Warsaw until he was proclaimed persona non-grata, and banned from the country in 2016. He is still on the list of the cooperators of the Embassy.
Portal states that Shishmakov participated in the meetings between the Russian delegation and the representatives of the National Security Bureau of Poland, and while he was mentioned as the participant of the meeting in the Polish media, this was not the case in the Russian. In one of the meetings, on the Russian part the participants were Secretary of the Security Council of Russia Nikolai Patrushev, Yevgeny Lukyanov and director of the Center for Euro-Atlantic and Defense Studies of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, Grigory Tischenko. Portal also states that after being banished from Poland, Shishmakov’s way to Europe was closed, but in August 2016, he got a new passport and the last name of Shirokov, which he used to go to Serbia.
The report says that The Insider and Bellingcat had no success in reaching Shishmakov, because he turned off his mobile phone, deleted his accounts on social media, and nobody answered his landline phone. His son Dymitry Shishmakov refused to disclose any details as to his father’s whereabouts, and after the phone call he deleted all the photos with his father from his profile on Russian social network In Contact.
Portal states that the Balkans was a field of special interest for the ex director of The Kremlin’s Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, Leonid Resetnikov. It says further on, that a few days prior to the elections in Montenegro and the unsuccessful coup, in his Institute in Moscow, Resetnikov hosted the so called Atamans of the Balkans Cossack Army. One of the participants was Viktor Zaplatin, the self-proclaimed general and chief ataman of the Balkans Cossack Army, who is even more famous as a military volunteer fighting on the side of the separatists in East Ukraine.
Judging by all of this, the people like the very Zaplatin and other representatives of pseudo-Cossack organizations with the prior war experience in Ukraine, were supposed to provide support to the new government if the coup in Montenegro had been successful.
As a part of his engagement in the Balkans’ affairs, Resetnikov cooperated with the controversial figure of tycoon Constantin Malofeev, about whom Pink reported in the first part of their research. Among many things, Resetnikov and Malofeev helped another Kremiln’s guy, Milorad Dodik, to keep his chair as the President of Serb Republic, after which he awarded them with medals, states Portal.
Further on, Portal provides data on Malofeev’s involvement in the organization of the putsch in Montenegro. One of the coordinators of Russian World in Eastern Europe, Alexander Usowski, often mentiones Malofeev in his correspondence.
A few days after the unsuccessful coup in Montenegro, Usowski wrote to Elena Sharoykina, the director of the Tsargrad TV and Malofeev’s assistant, offering his services in Poland, stressing that if the Polish project succeeds nobody will ever remember “the fiasco of the Montenegrin adventure”.
From the correspondence between Usowski and Sharoykina:
“Hello, Lena. I have attached a file of things I guarantee I can do in Poland. It’s legal and relatively fast, without any conspiracy and by exclusively legal means. However, the effect of this project would be a hundred times more significant than that of the unsuccessful fuss in Montenegro. It would take only 7 weeks between the reception of the funds and the explosion of the information bomb in the media. After this nobody would remember the fiasco K. V. (Konstantin Valerievich Malofeev) faced in the Montenegrin adventure. Everyone would perceive him as a peacemaker in Poland, a man who made a first step on the journey of complete liquidation of Russophobia in Poland. This is not a joke. I can make this happen within the mentioned deadline and for the mention amount of money. Sincerely, Alexander Usowski.”
The hackers’ access to Usowski’s correspondence on Facebook, showed why he was so certain about Malofeev’s involvement in the Montenegrin affairs.
“As for the plotting in Montenegro, my men in Poland that work with Serbs believe it is K. V. (Konstantin Valerievich Malofeev) who stands behind all of that. I believe them.”
“That’s bad. It’s high time we speeded up my Polish project. Malofeev completely fell out with his Montenegrin friends- a success in Poland would strengthen his position.”
Patrushev in Belgrade
In the aftermath of the parliamentary elections in Montenegro and the information about the attempted state coup, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić pointed out that the Serbian authorities came into the possession of undeniable evidence showing that, among others, Serbia too was a staging ground for various illegal activities aimed at the territory of Montenegro, including the surveillance of the Montenegrin Prime Minister Milo Đukanović. The arrested individuals, as he pointed out, had in their possession cash and uniforms.
Immediately after, Belgrade was graced by a sudden visit of the chief of the Russian Federal Security Service Nikolai Patrushev, who met with Vučić. The only information provided from the meeting was that Serbia and Russia were still improving their friendly relations.
However, the Moscovian daily newspaper Kommersant wrote that Patrushev was solving the issue of the arrested Russian nationals at that meeting:"A scandal without precedent in post-Soviet history happened between Moscow and Belgrade, which is being dealt with by the Secretary of National Security Council Nikolai Patrushev's visit to Belgrade".
Kommersant further states that the newspaper Danas published information about several Russian nationals being deported from Serbia due to their involvement in the preparation of terrorist actions in Podgorica and that the information has not been publicly confuted. The news coincided with the Patrushev’s unexpected visit to Belgrade, whose goal was, according to the opinion of local experts, the consideration of "Montenegrin issue" and an "attempt to avoid scandal in Serbian and Russian relations", Kommersant writes. Kommersant adds that Patrushev was received at the highest level, and that all of the conversations were led in a highly unclear manner, while the official announcement was that he offered a signing of a security arrangement to the Serbian officials.
However, the newspaper writes that various local politicians and experts expressed their doubt about the security arrangement being the main goal of Patrushev's visit, considering that it had already been the subject of their talks and had no contractual obligations. Kommersant points out that Petrushev arrived to Belgrade only a day after the Prime Minister of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić revealed the information about the terrorists' plan for a violent takeover of Montenegro’s state institutions, aided by the foreign factors, and confirmed the previous information provided by the Special Prosecutor of Montenegro, Milivoj Katnić. It is said also that the meeting with Vučić was followed only by a brief statement, with the main phrase that there was a fruitful cooperation between the Serbian and Russian security authorities.
The newspaper states, citing unnamed sources from Belgrade, that Patrushev's main task was to "deal with the newly formed situation and avoid the scandal in relations with Serbia", and judging by the official statement, the newspaper concludes, "the Moscow's representative seems to have succeeded". Kommersant writes that Belgrade is also not interested in a scandal, and, on the other hand, wants to avoid any suspicion of being connected with criminal actions in the neighboring country.
Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied the Kommersant's statements, saying that the visit was just regular, but The Guardian followed up on this information, citing sources from Belgrade, with a statement that Patrushev visited Serbia in order to apologize for the attempted state coup and plans to overthrow the Prime Minister in Montenegro. According to The Guardian, Patrushev apologized for the "operation" that was not sanctioned by the Kremlin.
Only a few days after, on the 2nd November 2016, Reshetnikov was removed from the head of RISI, and, from the 4th January of the following year, replaced by the recent head of Russian Intelligence Agency, Mikhail Fradkov.
In Putin's official statement it only says that Reshetnikov is being removed from the position as the head of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies from January the 4th, without any further explanation.