Sergei Naryshkin, President Vladimir Putin‘s long-standing ally and former chief of staff, has another less publicized role in addition to heading the external intelligence service, the SVR. He is also the chairman of the Russian Historical Society (RHS), a modern day version of the Imperial Russian Historical Society. As well as having partnerships with practically every university in Russia, this very discreet club has alliances with a number of similar foreign institutes in Vietnam, North Korea, Finland and China. The RHS also has a partnership with the Bering Bellinghausen Institute for the Americas (IBBA), a Montevideo-based think-tank that covers the South American trade bloc Mercosur. The BBIA was founded by former Russian state TV journalist Sergei Brilev and local consultant Gerardo Lionel Bleier.
Naryshkin only presents himself as the chairman of the RHS in Russia in certain very targeted political communications. He recently spoke publicly in this capacity when Poland voted to “de-Communize” national monuments that the Red Army saved from destruction during the Second World War.