Supporters of City Council candidate Ari Kagan are alleging that anonymous automated phone calls are being sent out to Russian-speaking people that claim Kagan was a former KGB operative. According to reports, the Russian-born Kagan has categorically denied any connection to the KGB before he immigrated to the United States in 1993.
This isn’t the first time that Kagan has been accused of working for the former Soviet spy organization. In March, we reported on local activist Zev Yourman heckling Kagan during a heated confrontation at Kagan’s campaign kickoff event. Yourman referenced Kagan’s time as a journalist in the Soviet Army as proof that Kagan was a KGB operative. On Kagan’s website, he noted that he resigned from the Communist Party and left the Soviet Army when the KGB engineered the military assault on a Lithuanian TV Station.
The newest accusations have come in the form of anonymous Russian robocalls, sent to residents, warning them of Kagan’s alleged KGB roots. Kagan supporter Bela Gubernko, brought attention to the calls to Brooklyn Daily:
Bela Gubernko, a Russian-speaking Midwood resident, said she was at work when her husband Lazar, who does not speak English, got the Kagan KGB call.
“Somebody speaking Russian said that Ari is ‘agent of KGB,’ ” she said. “He told me that it was a woman in the recording.”
Despite the allegations of espionage, Gubernko said she know’s Kagan as an upstanding community activist and never doubted his allegiance to the United States.
“I knew him for many years, he’s helped the community, he’s a good journalist,” she said. “He doesn’t strike me as a spy.”
Furthermore, the fact that these accusations are being pushed during the campaign season is not lost on Gubernko or her husband.
“It’s election time,” Gubernko said. “It’s pretty obvious what’s going on.”
It’s worth noting that a “Bella” and “Lazar Gubenko” together contributed $100 to Kagan’s campaign, as did a “Svetlana Gubenko” of the same zip code. We assume the first two are the same people mentioned in the article, and the third is a relative.
In response to the allegations, Kagan alluded to the possibility that the calls were the result of a rival campaign, though he wouldn’t specify which one.
“My campaign is about helping people and solving community problems, Somebody doesn’t want me winning this race and they’re using every tactic to oppose me,” Kagan told Brooklyn Daily. “People who have volunteered and donated to my campaign have expressed their outrage. But I believe the people in this district are smart, hard working, and they’ll vote for me on Sept. 10, no matter what.”
Has anyone received these calls? Let us know!