“Ukrainian subversives” in Crimea: fake “cases” of FSB

Analyze, Politics

Recently, representatives of Russian security services distinguished themselves in a special way having reported on the detention of the “Ukrainian subversive reconnaissance unit” that was the second one in three months. The first such “group”, which according to the FSB, “has forced through the administrative border”, was detained in August in Armyansk, the second one – in Sevastopol on November 9. At the same time, both cases have been promoted in mass media pompously through making available a video with the “subversives’ arsenal” and their confessions. But just take a rapid glance as a person, who is far from being involved in a secret service, and you will understand that both these “cases” were invented in keeping with the best traditions of the People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs, according to the Hitler’s principle that “the more monstrous lie is, the more likely people will believe it”.   


Subversive reconnaissance unit #1

On August 10, 2016, the FSB of the Russian Federation reported that the security service officers prevented terrorist acts prepared by Ukrainian spies in Crimea.    

“The Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation has prevented terrorist acts prepared by the General Directorate of the Intelligence Service of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, the targets of which were critical elements of peninsula’s infrastructure and support services,” the agency’s press service reports.

According to the Russian secret service, “a group of subversives” that has broken in Crimea from the mainland was allegedly discovered on the night of August 6 near Armyansk. The FSB’s theory is that the “subversive reconnaissance unit” had 20 improvised explosive devices with a total capacity of more than 40 kg in a trotyl equivalent, ammunition, mines, grenades and special weapons. “Ukrainian subversives” allegedly planned to use all this arsenal to explode the Kerch ferry line, the tank farm in Feodosia, the plant “Titan” and other facilities. However, the “arsenal of subversives” look not so scary in the video presented by the agency.       

The Russian secret service also reported that they have arrested several people in the course of the operation conducted on August 7-9. However, the data on a number of detainees have been changed all the time: there were seven, then nine and eventually, they decided that there were three “terrorists”, including a driver, a master builder and a former officer of the Crimean pre-trial detention center.  

панов терThe FSB appointed a driver from Energodar city of Zaporozhye region Evgeniy Panov as a prime suspect and organizer of terrorist acts as well as “an officer of the General Directorate of the Intelligence Service of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine”. It is unclear why he came in sight of the FSB. May be because he was a member of a territorial defense unit during the Maydan or may be because he was at war in the ATO zone. Or may be they just took the first comer who was in Crimea at proper time.    

It is still a mystery why and how Panov appeared on the occupied territory: on August 6, he told his wife that he went to meet with friends and promised to come back home the following day. The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine assures that he went in Crimea by his car, but it is unclear – with what goal.  

захтей 1The identity of the second suspect raises even more doubts in being involved in the activity of the Ukrainian intelligence service. Andrey Zakhtey is originally from Borislav, Lvov region. He has led a construction team in Odintsovo (Moscow region) a year ago and has been living in Yevpatoriya having the Russian citizenship at the time of the detention.  

According to the Adviser to the head of the Ukrainian MIA Anton Gerashchenko, Zakhtey is a recidivist called Zaya, who has been convicted twice, and he was convicted for a robbery in 1998 for the first time. In 2008, he was criminally prosecuted for fraudulent activities, but he was let off with a fine. In 2011, Zakhtey escaped from creditors in Russia, and moved to Yevpatoriya after the annexation of Crimea.

The third suspect – Ridvan Suleymanov worked in the Simferopol pre-trial detention center, then moved in Zaporozhye and started to work on construction sites. However, he came in Crimea to visit his relatives every six months. It is remarkable that Suleymanov was arrested at the end of July, although the relatives didn’t tell anyone about this out of fear. Suleymanov said in his “confessions” that he was assigned to organize explosions in the Simferopol airport and the bus station.      

All three men were arrested for three months by the court decision. In October, Panov and Zakhtey were transferred to the Moscow detention center “Lefortovo” after their arrest has been extended.       


Subversive reconnaissance unit #2

The FSB took the inventing of the case against a second “Ukrainian group” detained in Sevastopol on October 9 more seriously – all the detainees have military education (two of them are even intelligence officers by occupation). However, they could not do without a theatrical performance in this case as well.  

On November 10, the FSB released a statement on the detention of “Ukrainian subversives”.

“On November 9, 2016, in Sevastopol, the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation detained members of the subversive reconnaissance unit of the General Directorate of the Intelligence Service of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, who planned to conduct subversive activities on the military infrastructure and life support facilities on the Crimean peninsula,” the agency’s press service reports.  

As in the case of the first “subversive reconnaissance unit”, “high-powered explosive devices, weapons and ammunition, special means of communication and other material evidence of their criminal activity, including schematic maps of facilities for suspected subversive acts”, which the detainees had, were seized.   

Later, the Russian mass media called the names of three detained Ukrainians, who, unlike the first “terrorists”, have been living in Sevastopol with their families for a long time. 

It seems that Dmitry Shtyblikov, who has been engaged in the expert and analytical work in the Center for assistance to studies of geopolitical problems and euroatlantic cooperation of the Black sea region Nomos, repeatedly addressed scientific conferences and in the media as an expert before the annexation, was given a role of “a chief subversive” in this group. Shtyblikov graduated from he Frunze Kiev All-Troops College (intelligence service department). He served as a platoon commander in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, then as a company commander in Perevalnoye, later he was wounded and then retired from service and engaged in analytical work.     


Aleksey Bessarabov and Dmitry Shtyblikov

The second “subversive” Aleksey Bessarabov graduated from the Nakhimov Naval Institute (Sevastopol) in 1999. He served in Odessa, then in the Naval Staff of Ukraine in Sevastopol. He also repeatedly served as an expert on security issues.        

The third suspect person is Vladimir Dudka, who graduated from the Kaliningrad Higher Naval School, served at the Black Sea Navy. After the division of the navy, he started to serve in the Navy of Ukraine, then was a commander of the headquarter ship “Simferopol” (“Jupiter” in Soviet times). Then he served in the Naval Staff of Ukraine. After his retirement, he worked on mine clearing of Inkerman tunnels, and when Crimea has been occupied, he started to work in the “Ministry of Emergency Situations of Russia in Sevastopol”, where he continued to clear munition remnants left in the city after the Second World War.  


According to the Shtyblikov’s lawyer Aleksandr Popkov hired by his relatives, the detainee has been kept under observation for a long time.

“Apparently, they used both the tapping of telephone conversations and the external surveillance, because they know where the guys went, where they stopped and what places they visited. They were asked questions about why they visited certain places and left their car there. This means that investigation officers apparently has nothing but just their imaginations and suppositions,” the lawyer summed up.

It is not known what stories the FSB will write for subversives, but the video of how Shtyblikov was detained shows that the “case” will be fake. An “arms depot” found in his apartment turns out to be the airsoft equipment on close inspection, and the emphasize on the Ukrainian flag, a commemorative plate with a Ukrainian military unit’s number or a hetman’s bulawa seem to be an evidence of a nationalist nature of the Ukrainian “subversive”. And with the aim to dispel the last doubts of the audience, they demonstrated a killer argument – a Pravy Sector’s visiting card, the nationalist organization used as a scarecrow to frighten the masses in Crimea and in Russia.


Any right-minded person understands that FSB’s statements about “Ukrainian subversives” are a fake. But Russia has long had problems with a good sense. Moreover, opposing the FSB is like to go against a tank with bare hands: it will run you down and even not stop. In the meantime, new political prisoners – Ukrainian citizens – will appear in Russia soon.     


Sergey Marchenko

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