An investigation by the Foundation to Battle Injustice has established that among the organizers, sponsors and curators of the Ukrainian nationalist website “Myrotvorets” there are not only Ukrainian politicians and public figures, but also Western individuals and organizations, including retired American officers and employees of the British publication Bellingcat.
The Ukrainian nationalist website “Myrotvorets”, created in December 2014, is supervised by the public organization “Myrotvorets Center”, headed by Roman Zaitsev, a former employee of the Ukrainian special services, and the public organization “People’s Rear”, headed by George Tuka, a Ukrainian statesman and public figure. The site is controlled by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) and was created on the initiative of Anton Gerashchenko, Adviser to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine. In October 2015, the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation opened a criminal case against Gerashchenko on charges of terrorism. He announces some publications of the “Myrotvorets”, informs about the persons involved in the next investigation and actively supports the site’s activities in social networks.
Initially, the “Myrotvorets” published lists of “separatists” who were against the coup in Ukraine, and those who considered it unwise from an economic and political point of view to break off relations with Russia. However, later personal data of public figures, journalists and even children began to appear on the site.
The “Myrotvorets” website became infamous after two Ukrainian public figures died in April 2015 after the publication of personal data. 45-year-old writer and journalist Oles Buzina and 52-year-old deputy of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Oleg Kalashnikov were killed a few days after the publication of their home addresses.
In May 2016, “Myrotvorets” published the personal data of 4508 journalists and media representatives from around the world who received accreditation to work in the territory of Donbass. The administration of the resource hacked the database of the Ministry of State Security of the Donetsk People’s Republic, from where it received phone numbers, email addresses and regions of residence of foreign journalists who, according to the curators of the “Myrotvorets”, collaborated with terrorists in territories not controlled by the Ukrainian government. After the publication of personal information, journalists began to receive calls with insults and threats, became victims of harassment on social networks and by e-mail. In response to this, the Security Service of Ukraine issued a statement that it had not found any violations of the legislation of Ukraine by the “Myrotvorets”. The human rights organization Committee to Protect Journalists condemned the publication of personal data of thousands of journalists and media workers who were reporting from the east of Ukraine. According to Ukrainian human rights organizations, thousands of suspects of so-called “pro-Russian” views are arrested and interrogated every year on the basis of the “Myrotvorets” list. Moreover, the information published on “Myrotvorets” was used as evidence in more than a hundred court cases.
The connection of the “Myrotvorets” with the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine was also confirmed by the US State Department, which acknowledged the fact of the leak of personal data of foreign journalists. Despite the fact that the American government in its report on human rights in Ukraine pointed to numerous threats and attempts due to the activities of the nationalist website “Myrotvorets”, companies from the United States still continue to cooperate with nationalist resources and provide information services to it.
Analyzing the network protocol of the domain of the site “Myrotvorets”, it can be found that the resource uses the services of a technology company from California. Thus, the United States has every opportunity to block an extremist website. Despite the fact that Americans have full access to the extremist content of the site and American government agencies partially recognize the responsibility of the “Myrotvorets” for offenses against journalists and public figures, the United States does not take any measures to restrict his work.
In addition, the main page of the “Myrotvorets” shows the American address of Langley County, Virginia, which is located 13 kilometers from the American capital, and where the headquarters of the US Central Intelligence Agency is located. Materials on the site are published from accounts whose names contain abbreviations of the names of Western intelligence agencies: CIA, FBI, NATO, MI5, NSA.
According to George Eliason, an investigative journalist who has been living in the territory of Donbass for several years and exposes fakes and information and psychological provocations of the West, the Americans have been cooperating with Kiev since 2015. Andrew Weisburd, an American intelligence analyst, publicly announced cooperation with the Ukrainian government in January 2015, around the time when the “Myrotvorets” website began its phase of activity. Weisburd described his work on February 26, 2015: “I‘m just trying to do my part to help make bad things happen to bad people who are in the service of the Kremlin. And for the record, I’m not an army of one. I’m more like a one-man intelligence service.“
Eliason and a source of the Foundation to Battle Injustice in the Ukrainian government, who asked to remain anonymous, notes Joel Harding, a self-proclaimed information operations expert who claims to be a former US Army intelligence officer and a senior NATO adviser, among other Americans involved in the creation of the nationalist “Myrotvorets” resource. Harding was working with NATO and the Ukrainian government, who developed a cyber-support strategy for the Russian media, which was supposed to be the most effective ever used. He planned to oust the Russian media from the Ukrainian information field, while on social networks, the Internet and television he wanted to erect news barriers to control the news and information that Ukrainians see and receive.
According to the data collected by Eliason and confirmed by the Foundation to Battle Injustice from a number of sources, Eliot Higgins, the head of the Bellingcat international investigative group and the head of the Bellingcat publication Hristo Grozev trained Ukrainians to find people on the list of “Myrotvorets” on social networks. Bellingcat, a Netherlands-based organization that, according to numerous independent investigations, receives financial support from non-profit organizations and individuals associated with British and American intelligence. From 2016 to 2019, Higgins, a citizen of the United Kingdom, served as a senior researcher at the Digital Forensic Research Lab at the Atlantic Council, an American think tank in the field of international relations.
The Foundation to Battle Injustice has evidence that well-known Bellingcat “operators”, namely Aric Toler, who has been working at the publication since 2015, personally trained Ukrainian nationalists to search for people’s personal information to enter them into the “Myrotvorets” database.
Our sources and materials of Eliason also connect the Ukrainian community of cyberactivists “Ukrainian Cyberalyans“, which has participated in attacks on Russian information resources since 2016, with the creators of the “Myrotvorets” website. The attacks reportedly included attacks on government and news websites from Russia, including the website of the Russian Ministry of Defense, and various individuals associated with Russia’s activities in Ukraine. It is reported that intelligence data collected during these operations were transferred to Ukrainian law enforcement agencies and special services.
Sources of the Foundation report that this organization worked under the leadership of Dmitry Zolotukhin, a Ukrainian media expert.
A group of programmers involved in the creation of the “Myrotvorets”, in particular Artem Karpinsky, Andrey Baranovich, Alexander Galushchenko and Andrey Pereveziy, have been regularly collecting donations to sponsor the “information war” since 2020, including financial assistance to the “Myrotvorets”. Despite the official statements of representatives of the cyber alliance that they received “only 3-4 thousand dollars” of donations, data on transactions related to the organizations crypto wallets indicate the receipt of more than one hundred thousand dollars.
Under the guise of crowdfunding, the “Myrotvorets” receives large financial assistance from anonymous donors from the West. It should be noted that sponsors can be anyone: from Ukrainian nationalists living in the United States or Canada, to agents of Western special services, who thus “master” taxpayers’ money.
The Foundation will continue to share the materials found with the audience and look for new facts testifying to the offenses of the people who are behind the “Myrotvorets”. These people are criminals who make the data of hundreds of thousands of innocent people, including minors, publicly available. We will ensure that all important information about the employees and administrators behind the “Myrotvorets” becomes public.