You can find the first part here.
It is necessary to emphasize that the project of Revanche is associated with MP Ihor Mosiychuk (“Radical Party”), who, in turn, has close relations with Dmitry Korchinsky’s Brotherhood. Mosiychuk is a nationalist who stands in opposition to the president and the governing parliamentary coalition. The nationalist organizations under his control frequently hold anti-government protests. The most notable examples are Revanche’s protests against Poroshenko’s Roshen confectionary shops, which involved arson and throwing cakes into windows.
Revanche activists criticize the policies of the interior ministry, headed by one of the most influential members of People’s Front representatives, Arsen Avakov. They employ anti-authoritarian slogans whenever activists of nationalist organizations face administrative and criminal penalties. Cooperating with Mosiychuk, Revanche became a kind of opposition to Azov’s nationalists, who, in their turn, are more dependent on Avakov and other People’s Front members.
The fact that Ihor Shchedrin joined the political council of the organization Tradition and Order, which had been created on the base of Revanche, shows that the latter has switched from opposing to cooperating with the President’s Administration. Even though details are uncertain, Revanche’s uncritical support of the Administration is self-evident.
Ihor Shchedrin is the head of an NGO called Medical Control, which was founded in 2013. Its aim is to supervise procurement of medicines by the Ministry of Health. Members of the organization believe that in the Ministry, corruption and lobbying by monopolists are widespread, as well as shadow schemes of production and distribution of codeine-based medicines. They claim that the situation hasn’t changed since the regime change in 2014, so the organization continues its work.
However, Shchedrin is alleged to have worked in media projects of Raisa Bohatyryova, minister of health under Viktor Yanukovych. Those projects had been aimed at lobbying and whitewashing the aforementioned schemes. Allegations of this cooperation were voiced by the activists of Vitaliy Shabunin’s Anti-Corruption Center, which is a part of the public council of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU).
For the first time the allegations were made at the beginning of 2016, in the midst of the conflict between President’s Administration and NABU. As a representative of the Anti-Corruption Center and NABU, Shabunin accused MP Ihor Kononenko from Petro Poroshenko’s Bloc of illicit enrichment. In the subsequent exchange of accusations, both parties engaged loyal public activists. According to the allegations, Shchedrin and his Medical control has taken the side of the President’s Administration. The members of the Anti-Corruption Center recalled that Shchedrin was previously linked to Bohatyryova. However, this fact didn’t prevent the organizations from holding public events together.
Alexander Noinets (“Piotr and Mazepa”) and Dmitry Sherembei (member of the Anti-Corruption Center council)
Alexander Noinets and Dmitry Podturkin
Ihor Shchedrin has been one of the founders of the website Piotr and Mazepa, which later promoted Tradition and Order. But the main man behind this website is Alexander Noinets.
Noinets positions himself as a political strategist and an expert in negative campaigning. It’s easy to find information on his work for the Party of regions. In 2013 he was a press officer of Eugene Anisimov, the member of the “Family” (Viktor Yanukovych’s political clan) responsible for the situation in Zaporizhia region. But Noinets didn’t stay there long. He also used to cooperate with Bohatyryova, just as, allegedly, Shchedrin. Besides, Shchedrin also comes from Zaporizhia. The two men have known each other for a while, working on the same projects. Therefore, Tradition and Order may be easily called Noinets’ organization, as well as Shchedrin’s.
Another founder of Piotr and Mazepa is Dmitry Podturkin, head of a consultancy called Manager Consulting Group. In 2011 he was invited to perform tasks in the health sector, namely, to produce expert analysis of the healthcare reform project. In 2012 he became a part-time adviser to Bohatyryova and continued his work in the health sector. But in 2013 he left the job at the ministry because of critical differences in views with his bosses. This explanation may have been an attempt to whitewash his image after cooperation with an influential Party of regions member.
Manager Consulting Group specialized in analysing industry (geology, mining, thermal power). It is not clear what these activities have to do with healthcare reform which became object of Podturkin’s research. But it’s obvious that his partner Ihor Shchedrin becoming the head of Medical control wasn’t a mere coincidence. The fact that in 2016, after Maidan, the representatives of the Anti-Corruption Center claimed that Podturkin hadn’t broken ties with Bohatyryova and continued lobbying old corruption schemes (even though officially their cooperation had ended back in 2013), doesn’t look like a mere coincidence, either.
Sputnik and Pogrom
The website Piotr and Mazepa was created in March 2014. Later in 2014 it gained popularity as an Internet source covering Russia’s intervention into Crimea and Donbass from a pro-Ukrainian viewpoint. But it started as a franchise of Sputnik and Pogrom, which works in the niche of so-called “intellectual nationalism”. S&P’s creators posed as advocates of pro-European liberal values, and, simultaneously, as supporters of Russian orthodox monarchism. The website’s founder Yegor Prosvirnin took part in the anti-Putin “white ribbon” protests. In January 2014 Prosvirnin visited Maidan and went on the air of Hromadske TV, claiming that he would salute Ukrainian tanks on the Red Square in case of war. However, after Maidan Sputnik and Pogrom changed its rhetoric drastically, supporting Russia’s annexation of Crimea and separatists’ actions in Donbass.
S&P is a propaganda website of Russian nationalists. Its staff regarded Piotr and Mazepa as its branch, a source for propagating its ideas in Ukraine. Since spring 2014, editorial staff of the two websites disagreed on the matter of Ukrainian events. S&P supported the so-called “Russian spring”, while P&M criticized it from a viewpoint of Ukrainian-based Russians. At the time, their approach obstructed the efforts of the Russian propaganda machine to establish monopoly on representing the Russians who were living in Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk regions, and felt discriminated against by Kyiv’s new nationalist authorities.
The “Russian Center”
Ukrainian Maidan was enthusiastically accepted by Russian opposition, including nationalists. Some prominent members of Russian nationalist movement visited Kyiv in winter 2014. Maxim Martsynkievich (Tesak) and the aforementioned Yegor Prosvirnin were among them. In December 2013-January 2014, VK groups of radical right movements Wotanjugend and Misanthropic Division wrote enthusiastically of the events.
They were particularly delighted by the fact that Ukrainian ultra-right participated in Maidan’s events and received recognition among journalists and public activists. At the time, it seemed that Maidan would give nationalist forces a chance to attain power and, subsequently, to increase the amount of external funding of Russian opposition, including nationalists, and ensure the victory of an anti-Putin Maidan in Moscow.
Maidan sympathizers who came to Ukraine founded their own organization, the “Russian Center”.
Alexander Noinets joined the political council of the newly founded organization.
Andrei Kuznetsov, Roman Zheleznov and Alexander Noinets
The announcement of its creation was also posted on Piotr and Mazepa.
“The goal of the Russian Center, as I see it, is to gradually (even if it’ll take years) prevent any country’s government from speaking on behalf of the Russian people. Only Russians themselves, represented by relevant organizations which conduct educational activities, may speak for themselves. As Mustafa Jemilev and Refat Chubarov (not Erdogan or Poroshenko) speak on behalf of Crimean Tatars, so the representatives of those organizations, not Putin, should speak on behalf of the Russian people. I want the Russian Center to become such an organization, and I’ll do my best to ensure that it becomes one.”
Among the members of the Russian Center there is a number of prominent Russian far-right activists. For example, there’s Roman Zheleznov, who simultaneously participates in several Russian Nazi movements, including “National-socialist society” (NSO), Wotanjugend and Misanthropic Division.
According to the criminal file of a notorious terrorist group “Russian Nationalists Combat Organization” (BORN), which has a record of killing antifascists and human rights activists, Zheleznov is a well-known person in a subculture movement. It’s hard to tell whether he can claim to be the nationalists’ informal leader – although it’s highly unlikely, he’s been involved in a number of big criminal cases related to the nationalists’ political activities in Russia.
Another Russian Center member is Andrey Kuznetsov, the admin of a social media group Orange. Unlike Zheleznov, he has no criminal record, makes no radical statements and doesn’t belong to a Nazi group. Nevertheless, he is a part of a right-wing Nazi movement. Kuznetsov positions himself as a national liberal and, according to him, is a member of “National-democratic Alliance”.
Kuznetsov has been in Ukraine since summer 2014 as a political refugee. He had difficulties explaining why he needed this status. According to him, the recent amendments to the Russian anti-extremism law targeted National-democratic Alliance, and so Kuznetsov decided to leave the country before the police comes for him. The admins of “Orange” (namely, Andrey Kuznetsov and Yuri Terekhov) are mentioned in the recently published “SurkovLeaks” email dump, where one of them was considered as Surkov’s possible ally, despite their opposition views and support for Maidan.
The most bizzare member of Russian Center is Ilya Bogdanov, a Russian volunteer of the Right Sector. In his time, he gained popularity in Ukraine as an FSB officer who had defected to Ukraine because of his anti-Putin views. Bogdanov comes from the Far East, where he was in touch with the “Primorye Partisans”, a group of local nationalists who had murdered several police officers accused of corruption.
Ilya Bogdanov in 2010
The Primorye Partisans in 2010
“All of the Primorye Partisans are my friends. Sasha Kovtun, who is serving time now… He supposedly converted to Islam… it’s all a bit confused… also Andrey Sukhorada. I know all the others too.”
It would be difficult to become an FSB officer with a record of such contacts. But the suspicion of Bogdanov being involved in an undercover activity has increased after the recent spy scandal in Azov. Alexey Filippov, a Pacific Fleet marine from Vladivostok, was sent to Ukraine by Russian security forces, in order to infiltrate Azov. Filippov crossed the border and stated that he was a Russian nationalist who wished to join Ukrainian forces fighting against Russian army in Donbass. After joining Azov, Filippov has been delivering information on its activities to his supervisors for 1,5 years. Afterwards, he went back to Russia. At home, he was arrested on charges of joining the Ukrainian volunteer regiment and brought before court. Famous Russian blogger Alexey Zhuchkov stood up for Filippov, claiming that his arrest was a result of rivalry between different FSB departments, and called Filippov a real Russian patriot and L/DNR supporter.
Ilya Bogdanov, Alexey Filippov and a detained Main Intelligence Officer in Luhansk region
Petro Poroshenko Bloc
It is obvious that the Russian Center is an organization of the Russian ultra-right. However, authorities in Kyiv acted loyally and allowed its members to participate in the elections.
In the run-up to the municipal elections of 2015, Ilya Bogdanov expressed his intention to run for a deputy of Kyiv-Svyatoshyn district (Kyiv region) on the party list of the president’s Petro Poroshenko Bloc (BPP).
How did Bogdanov manage to enter the BPP circle? There are many other Russian volunteers in Ukraine. The only possible explanation is Alexander Noinets’ participation in BPP projects. Noinets is the assistant of Yuri Biryukov, the head of the BPP local organization in Nikolaev region.
Alexander Noinets, Yuri Biryukov and the head of the Nikolaev regional state administration Olexiy Savchenko
This text, posted on Noinets and Shchedrin’s PR-agency old website, is also of interest. It deals with Mykhailo Havrylyuk’s victory at the parliamentary elections in autumn 2014. The author gives a satirical portrayal of Havrylyuk, who is presented as a person not wholly worthy of the victory, which was achieved only because Havrylyuk had got beaten by “Berkut” during Maidan, and then took advantage of the “People’s Front” high rating.
Havrylyuk’s main competitor in that constituency was Alexander Tigov, the head of the BPP local unit in Kyiv-Svyatoshyn district. Later he became head of the eponymous district council.
One year later, during the municipal election, Bogdanov became a candidate in the same district. Tigov uploaded a lot of his photos with Bogdanov to his Facebook profile.
Alexander Tigov and Ilya Bogdanov (center)
Russian nationalism is not the sole ideological phenomenon endorsed by Noinets. He is also loyal to the sympathizers of Hitlerism and Scandinavian Paganism.
In 2014, a banner of a neo-pagan and neo-Nazi website Misanthropic Division had been added to Piotr and Mazepa website. After the reconstruction of the website, the banner was gone, but Noinets’ apology remained on P&M. According to the message, Noinets has been frequently accused of supporting Nazis, but he always made excuses for it by emphasizing the anti-communism of Misanthropic Division members and their participation in the current military conflict.
Misanthropic Division also added “P&M”’s partnership banner to the website.
The local radical right decided to join one of the Russian Center’s actions, but their intentions ran counter to the organizers’ plans. The event was held in front of Russian embassy in Kyiv, and was dedicated to honoring the memory of victims of political repressions. The organizers had also intended to support political prisoners who are currently serving time in Russia. During the meeting, a group of unknown activists started shouting Nazi slogans to disrupt the event. The organizers were indignant, and a conflict erupted between two nationalist groups.
This event could not evade Alexander Noinets’ attention. He interceded for the Russian Center and pointed out that among its members there were activists of Misanthropic Division, who equally resented the provocateurs’ behaviour.
It’s necessary to understand that the criticism of Russian authorities can be driven by different motivation. While Ukrainian nationalists hate Putin’s regime because of its imperialist policies, Russian radical right hate Putin for his alleged liberal migration policy and leniency towards crimes committed by ethnical minorities. In fact, the question of territorial belonging of Crimea or Donbass doesn’t bother the radical right in Russia, while the increase of tension between Russia and Ukraine may provide an impetus for the regime change and the strengthening of nationalists’ political positions, just like it happened in Ukraine after Maidan.
The Russian Center is a nationalist organization akin to Andriy Biletsky’s projects Azov and National Corps. The latter two depend more on the National Front members, particularly on the minister of interior, Arsen Avakov. Menanwhile, Noinets is compelled to look for opportunities with BPP.
Despite the visible disparity, the Russian Center and Revanche have much in common. There is no critical disagreement between them. In spite of their previous stance towards Ukrainian authorities, Revanche activists take part in campaigns together with Azov members, who do not oppose the government, but rather express the desire to cooperate with it.
After the emergence of Tradition and Order, Revanche participated in the presentation of the National Corps, which took place on October 14th 2016 during “The National March”. They preferred this rally to the competing event held by Svoboda party on the same day.