Translator’s Note: What I find most interesting about this story of dirty little infiltrations and attempts at dirty little tricks against the opposition is how pathetically inept, empty and ignorant the Kremlin’s little hirelings are. Being somewhat older myself, I have not had much contact with young Russians who grew up entirely after the collapse of Communism and the USSR. Looking at the vacuousness and sloppiness of the thinking (if there is any thinking done at all) here and the total deficit of any morals whatsoever, it is clear that the education system collapsed as well. Aren’t these vacuous little hirelings neat miniatures of the supreme Lilliput (in Michael Saakashvili’s wonderful allusion)?
Petersburg Branch of Oborona Uncovers Nashi Spies
Translated from the Russian by Dave Essel
The Petersburg Branch of Oborona has uncovered a number of paid infiltrators working to the order of a secret project called Runners of the President. This project was set up by the pro-Kremlin Nashi movement and has been operating for the last 18 months. Its particular purpose was to collect information on opposition groups and to set them up for provocations during demos. The infiltrators engaged in the latter activity have unfortunately not yet been uncovered. We know that spies of this kind have been infiltrated into other organisations in Petersburg and other towns around Russia.
The paid informers infiltrated into the Petersburg Branch of Oborona, who received about 20000 roubles a month (~$550), were Vladimir Bynkin, who joined Oborona in July 2008 and became a member of the St. Petersburg Branch coordination committee, and Taras Filatov, an activist recruited by Bynkin in December. We also discovered that prior to these people joining, Darya Odintsova, who earlier left the Runners of the President project and ceased being active in Oborona, had also been a paid infiltrator. The three have now been officially expelled from Oborona at a General Meeting of the organisation.
Joined Oborona in July 2008, referring himself from Darya Odintsova, who was in the Runners of the President but had already stopped “working for” Oborona.
Took an active part in all Oborona activities and as a result got himself elected to the Coordination Committee of the movement in September 2008, gaining him an entrée into Oborona’s Press Relations office.
Reported planned internal and external activities of the movement to his supervisor – Anna Bukovskaya – and provided written reports subsequent to them. Paid 20,000 roubles p.m. for his services. [NOTE: Bynkin's statement and interview with Oborona appears below]
Joined the organisation in December 2007. Took an active part in many of Oborona’s activities. Held no positions of rank in the movement. Reported planned internal and external activities of the movement to her supervisor – Anna Bukovskaya – and provided written reports subsequent to them. Ceased being active in the movement in Spring 2008 because, in the words of her supervisor, she had “taken to drink, dope, and junk”. Paid 20,000 roubles p.m. for her services.
Aged about 21, worked as a temp. In February 2007, worked as an analyst for Nashi. Joined Oborona in November 2008. Took part in a number of the movement activities, included the Dissenters’ March of 14 December. Collected information on the Movement and provided analyses. Paid 20,000 roubles p.m. for his services. Bynkin and Filatov have disappeared from sight along with their “supervisor” Anna Bukovskaya, who was herself infiltrated into the Yabloko Youth Section, besides being the deputy to the federal head of the Messengers of the President project.
Statement of Anna Bukovskaya
I, Anna Alexandrovna Bukovskaya, was deputy to the federal head of the Runners of the President secret state project, as it was initially called until December 2007, after which it had no name at all. The project’s purpose was to infiltrate its people into opposition groups in town all over Russia. The project officially – so to speak – began on 10 September 2007, starting up in 3 towns: Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Yaroslavl. Penetration priorities included: NBP (National Bolshevik Party&), OGF (United Civil Front), Oborona, and MSYa, the Yabloko Youth Union.
Briefly about myself as deputy to the federal head: prior to the project, I spent nearly two years in the Nashi movement, doing ideological work in St. Petersburg. I stopped that about 18 months ago and shortly thereafter was offered work on this project. I was not a Nashi commissar as I declined to be inducted.
The federal head of the project was Dmitri Aelxandrovich Golubyatnikov (a.k.a. Dmitri Morozov) in Moscow. The project ceased to exist about a month ago, following my refusal to continue with it and to provide reports on “my” organisations. I did this because I had come to realise that everything I had been told about the opposition was a pack of lies. It became clear to me that it was all a big game and the people involved mere pawns. And everything that our Government does is in fact not all what the mass media says. When the project was uncovered, I went myself to Oborona in St. Petersburg and told them everything myself. Below, I will describe how work on the project was carried out.
The main subject of interest was forthcoming opposition activities. Accordingly, there were two types of report: pre-advices (sent as soon as one heard of a forthcoming activity being planned) and so-called physical reports (these were delivered no more that 24 hours after an event). Photographs from events were also to be included as were briefings (short information pieces on particular people – leaders or officials in the opposition organisations. Reports were also sent on our own people with their personal details.
The towns in which we operated until the last were: Kaluga, Ivanovo, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yaroslavl and Voronezh.
Operatives in these towns and organisations infiltrated:
Leader: Anna Bukovskaya
Organisations: OGF Anastasya Rashitova
Oborona Darya Odintsova, Vladimir Bynkin, Taras Filatov
MSYa Anna Bukovskaya
NBP Boris Khannanov
Leader: Federal Head Dmitri Golubyatnikov
Organisations: Everything was handled by Dmitri so I do not really know much, except that both the OGF and NBP were penetrated
Leader: Andrei Dobrosotsky
Organisations: NBP – Vitali Mitasov
AKM (Red Youth Vanguard)
I never knew the names of the infiltrators in the last two as they were handled by the town leader.
Work in this town did not go well. After a 1-month trial period a second, parallel, leader for the town was appointed – Alexander Mozgovoi, who was in the NBP. A competition for the town ensued, won in the end by Andrei Dobrosotsky.
Town leader was initially Marina Rodionova. The town was then dropped and only one organisation remained infiltrated – the NBP, the town branch of which was actually set up by the project. This was run by Vladimir Yakushev.
Leader for this town right until then end was Stanislav Kremkov, who is currently engaged in what we call sabotage work against the opposition. Dmitri Golubyatnikov has also been engaged recently in running the town. Yulia Ivanova was another person involved in the town. Organisations infiltrated include the OGF and the NBP. I believe that the branches involved were not actually in Kaluga town but in the district, in Obninsk.
The only town about which I know practically nothing as it was run personally by the federal head of project, from the very start and up until now. Organisations of interest there were NBP, AKM, OGF, and Oborona (now, as I understand it, the Unity Party). The only name I can come up with in connection with this town is Andrei Basurin.
In the early days, there were activities in the following towns:
Leader: Sergei Bogomolov
Organisations: SKM (Union of Communist Youth) – Irina Rusanova
NBP – Ilya ? (nickname Simon)
Yabloko – Maxim Gorbenko
Leader: Ivan Arkatov (Nashi commissar)
Organisations: NBP – nickname Sun Boy
SPS (Union of Right Forces) – nickname Prideking
Leader: Vladimir Radzikovsky
ЕСN [Trans: who they?]
DPNI (Movement Against Illegal Immigration)
These three towns were closed down [sic] 2-3 months ago. Kaliningrad closed about 7 months ago as it became ‘uneconomic’ to support.
At one time, there were plans to set up an analytical department within the project (around late August 2008). Yekaterina Zakharova (from St. Petersburg, to which she came from Ivanova, and a Nashi commissar) was keen to run it. However, it turned out she was a lousy analyst and the idea of an analytical department was dropped.
Prior to my taking the position, the post of deputy federal head was occupied by a good friend of Dmitri Golubyatnikov’s – Georgi Panasyuk (a.k.a. Georgi Kuznetsov). After quitting this position I know that Georgi was for a while in the NDS(m) Popular Democratic Union of Youth.
It was also planned in summer to open up in further towns, this time in the so-called second ring: Tambov, Tula, Nizhny Novgorod. Kostroma was also considered. Kirill Trufanov (St. Petersburg, Nashi commissar) was in charge of the second ring project. Eventually, only Nizhny Novgorod was opened – temporarily, for a couple of weeks.
Two other new towns were selected: Tula and Great Novgorod. I was put in charge of these. I visited them and decided it would not be worth trying to operate there.
In its basic format of providing timely information about planned opposition events, the project ran from about 7 February 2008 until early January this year.
The federal leadership had plans to restructure the project in the future but I categorically refused to take any part in this and the project per se died a death since about 90% of its participants reported to me.
My personal opinion is that the project was a stupid move by the current government and I truly regret that I was involved in it.
I also know that it was planned that the project should become more “aggressive” in nature. In the following ways: collection of so-called kompromat (compromising info) from the computers of infiltrated organisations, compromising photos and videos of organisation members, and outright provocations against opposition leaders – provocations of the kind the press would enjoy. An example of the sort of thing that was being mooted are what was done in Moscow to Ilya Yashin [leader of the Yabloko youth wing], in whom our authorities are intensely interested – sewage thrown at him, his car covered with filth.
I think it was then that I recognised what was really happening. After the Yashin incident, I contacted Ilya and wrote down for him the names of the people who could well have been involved in these provocations.
How I decided on my further actions… About a month ago (a bit less), I personally wound up the project where I could and left the rest to coast. I wanted to remain in the organisation I had most recently infiltrated – but now out of ideological conviction. That did not work out because information about the project came to light.
After that, I agreed to go to the office of the local Oborona branch and told them all the fact I knew about the project. I consider that I was justified, logical, and correct in doing this. These people, who genuinely defend the rights of plain citizens and do all they can to help them flourish, are the true patriots and needed to know about this. By ‘these people’, I mean people who are “officially” called the opposition, one of whom I now count myself despite the fact that after what I have written here, I will most certainly not be made welcome.
Statement of Vladimir Bynkin
I, Vladimir Bynkin, joined Oborona in July 2008 in order to collect intelligence. I was recruited by Anna Bukovskaya. I was paid 20000 roubles a month for doing this.
I gathered information about all the events I attended or had knowledge of.
After the format changed, i.e. after we were asked to gather kompromat, I stopped doing this work.
Unfortunately, the closer I got to the organisation, the more my conscience troubled me.
I have no more to say. I was wrong. People make mistakes.
Conversation with Vladimir Bynkin
Оборона (О): We only have sources of information but you know they are serious. They are taken seriously and you’ve got to understand that if Mukhin puts out a press release tomorrow, then the news will be everywhere, first and foremost in Yandex. We know of at least three people, and there are…
Vladimir Bynkin (VB): What are you asking for exactly?
O: Names, surnames, places
VB: I only know Bukovskaya. Actually, there was a Sasha Kaminskayq, in Yabloko, by the way.
O: Have you got anyone in Oborona?
VB: No, there’s no one else in Oborona.
O: So, what precisely did you report? What did a typical report consist of? Sort of “We got together, this guy didn’t have any money, this other guy was despicable…” Briefings, informatiuon of members of the organisation?
VB: We sent information. Name and phone number.
O: And who did you send it to?
VB: I don’t know. I sent it to a mail address.
O: So the names Messengers of the President means nothing to you?
VB: I have heard the name.
SR: How did you actually communicate with Anna?
VB: By phone. Email. Aska, that was her addfress. That’s all. I sent everything to Dasha. Odintsova. She was also in it.
O: Okay, Odontsova. That’s another name that you know. Maybe you’ll remember some more? Just now, you said you didn’t know anyone, then all of a sudden you mention Odintsova.
VB: I suppose I meant people active now.
O: So should Mr. Pidrushnyak interest me?
VB: Yes, him as well.
O: Did you know him before he came here?
VB: Yes, I’d seen him before.
O: So how was the information passed back, really?
VB: Well, I sent it to Anka Bukovskaya.
O: So you knew her?
VB: We met a long time ago.
O: Why did you go and do this?
VB: Me? I needed the money.
O: How much were you paid?
VB: I got… I suppose I got about 20 thou a month. Recently the format changed and we didn’t need to do anything about demos or rubbish like that, we were just supposed to get kompromat. When the project chznged, I said I didn’t like it anymore. I waited to be paid/
O: Did you get paid?
VB: Not so far.
O: So against whom did you provide info and what info did you provide?
VB: I didn’t supply any kompromat against anyone.
O: So what was the point of the whole thing? Not from yor point of view but from the point of view of those running you? Did they ever tell you what ttheir plans were, what their strategy was?
O: So you provided info about forthcoming demos?
O: But we send out our own press releases.
VB: Yes, but you know.
O: So what information did you provide?
VB: Names and phone numbers. That’s all. And I suppose the organisation they were in. Yanloko, Oborona etc.
O: What internet activities of ours was made known to them? Do they read our emails?
VB: They read emails.
O: … groups in touch …
VB: I don’t know anything about contacts but they read emails, and not just mine.
O: Can you say whose?
VB: I don’t know exactly, but they do read them, that’s a fact.
O: How do you know?
VB: Well, if they just read my mail, then the mail will show as read.
O: There are ways around that!
VB: If there’s a way, it’s not something I know how to do.