It is not hard to verify whether Andriy Antonenko, Yana Dugar, and Yuliia Kuzmenko are involved in murdering a Russian reporter Pavlo Sheremet. This can be done with the help of an internal investigation that can be conducted by the management of the Security Service of Ukraine. This specifically applies to a married couple of Inna and Vladyslav Hryshchenko, who were initially named by the investigation as organizers of blowing up a car belonging to Ukrayinska Pravda’s owner (a Minister of Internal Affairs Avakov even said that another investigation led to all the remaining suspects because Sheremet had been blown up with an infernal machine similar to the one made by Hryshchenko for a murder in Ivano-Frankivsk region), but later on were identified only as witnesses. All the participants are non-staff undercover agents of the Fifth Office of the Counterintelligence Department of the SSU, which in 2016 was led by a current Head of Zakarpattia Region State Administration and was established precisely to organize acts of terrorism and murders.
In fact, terrorist acts instigated by “volunteer assistants” of the Fifth Office of the CID were supposed to take place on the uncontrolled territories of Donetsk and Luhansk Regions. However, there is ample evidence that the main activity of “the Fifth” was aimed at catering to business interests of the management of the Counterintelligence Department. Suffice it to recall a murder of Viktor Pankov, a former acting director of Ukrspyrt enterprise; attempt on the life of Ihor Ilchyshyn, a deputy director of Ukrspyrt; blowing up a car of a Crimean developer German Gaiduk in Kyiv. All of these are attributed to Oleksiy Petrov and his associate Oleksandr Poklad (a former policeman who joined the Fifth Office of the CID of the SSU, where he gained notoriety for organizing bloody provocations). However, Ivanushka Bakanov, a head of Studio Kvartal 95 LLC who on June 3, 2019 was entrusted by the freedom-loving people of Ukraine to lead the Security Service of Ukraine, is likely still celebrating his promotion to Lieutenant. Therefore, he has no clue whatsoever about what his subordinates are really doing and where do they get their multimillion-dollar fortunes.
Thus, given that the current head of the SSU is a total professional failure, let’s try to figure out on our own, how a chief intelligence officer of Ukraine got “on the hook” of the State Security Committee of the Republic of Belarus; what incriminating evidence was used to recruit Oleksiy Petrov by the Russian intelligence service; and why Alyona Prytula, an Ukrayinska Pravda’s owner, after meeting Yuriy Lutsenko, the Prosecutor, for Christ’s sake, General, stopped demanding that the case of Pavlo Sheremet’s murder be investigated by the Security Service of Ukraine.
Swindlers on Top of Swindlers
The times were hard for Oleksiy Gennadiyovych Petrov when he became a Head of the Fifth Office of the CID of the SSU. He was forced to go to ATO area, hiding from detectives of the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine who were trying to sample his voice to conduct phonetic-acoustic examination.
During the criminal regime, Oleksiy Gennadiyovych was holding a cushy but a high-paying position of a Deputy Head of the Department of Counterintelligence Protection of the National Economy of the Main Office of the SSU in Kyiv and Kyiv Region. Ukrspyrt state enterprise was his predominant object of professional interest. There, Petrov controlled (I guess pro bono) every unofficial alcohol tank produced under the patronage of Oleksiy Chebotariov, a well-known “Cheba” who comes from “Pimple’s” criminal gang and is still controlling illicit production of alcohol in Ukraine up to this date (word is Petrov is also involved). However, unlike Petrov, “Cheba” is forced to develop the alcohol industry of the Motherland from the territory of the Russian Federation, as he is wanted for involvement in kidnapping Ihor Lutsenko and Yuriy Verbytskyi in January of 2014.
In 2012, Petrov was forced to leave the SSU, and for the following two years he’d been twiddling his thumbs at Ukrenergo NPC and the Ministry of Regional Development and Construction. The reason was a major scandal that erupted after a banker and swindler Pavlo Borulko claimed he had passed cash to Oleksiy Petrov in exchange for ending criminal case 600 investigated by the Main Investigation Department of the SSU. Moreover, another middleman was supposed to be Artem Sytnyk, a current Director of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (and then a manager of the Legal Guarantees law firm).
Future historians will be amazed by the life of Pavlo Viktorovych Borulko, an outstanding Ukrainian swindler of the first decade of the 21st century. Borulko was born in 1975 in Kostiantynivka in Donetsk Region. In the late 80s, his father became a director of the Kostiantynivka Glassworks Factory Scientific and Production Association (which was put out of business by Borulko family in the 90s), and his uncle, Vitaliy Lobas, was a Deputy Head of Donetsk Region State Administration from 1996 to 2005.
The life of Pavlo Borulko is full of adventures enough for a few mystery novels. In the early 2000s he rushed into the banking business, together with Eduard Prutnyk (a former “wallet” for Yanukovych), Pavlo Klymets (Olympus vodka; in April of 2019, Klymets was arrested in Russia on charges of bribery), and Sergiy Kyrychenko (a head of the supervisory board of Avtokrazbank, killed in 2003 at the entrance of his own house by order of Oleksandr Shepeliev). Borulko’s track record features embezzlement of Interkontinentbank; scams involving correspondent accounts at European Bank, Slavutych Bank, and Volodymyrskyi Bank; involvement, together with Shepeliev, in murdering a Police Colonel Roman Yerokhin, who was opening conversion centers under the patronage of a then Minister of Internal Affairs Yuriy Lutsenko; withdrawing $875M through Avtokrazbank by paying fraudulent promissory notes; embezzlement of refinancing from the National Bank to European Bank and National Standard Bank; attempt on the life of Dmytro Fomenko, a head of the supervisory board of Financial Union Bank. But Borulko always got away with his shenanigans as his then wife Alla Mykolayivna was a close friend of a wife and a daughter of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine Oleksandr Medvedko (Borulko himself repeatedly claimed he’d been married to Medvedko’s niece).
However, when Viktor Pshonka got appointed a Prosecutor General of Ukraine on November 4, 2010, Borulko’s luck has turned for the worse. Criminal cases where he was a participant were reopened, and the Main Investigation Department of the SSU started active investigation of case 600 regarding Borulko’s and Shepeliev’s embezzlement of UAH 315M worth of a stabilizing loan issued by the National Bank of Ukraine. And then, in October of 2011, Borulko entered, on behalf of his wife, into a legal aid agreement with the Legal Guarantees law firm, whose founder was Yuriy Haisynskyi and whose junior partner and manager at the time was Artem Sytnyk, a former head of the investigations division of the Prosecutor of Kyiv Region’s Office. This was a very careful choice of lawyers because, since March of 2010, the MID of the SSU, which was investigating case 600, had been headed by Ivan Derevyanko, a longtime ally of Haisynskyi and a former Deputy Prosecutor of Kyiv Region. Borulko was trying to pass a bribe to him through Haisynskyi and Sytnyk in exchange for closing the case.
But, Borulko didn’t take into account that Haisynskyi and Medvedko were worst enemies, and Haisynskyi was in no way inclined to do any favors for a “husband of the niece” of the former prosecutor. Then, allegedly through Sytnyk, Borulko approached Petrov, a deputy head of an office of the MO of the SSU in Kyiv and Kyiv Region, and made an attempt to pass a bribe through him. At least, according to Borulko himself, this is how in November of 2011 Petrov got $2M through a deposit box in Radical Bank. Heaven knows what happened to this money. At least it didn’t make it to the Central Office of the SSU, so it is safe to assume that it ended up in Petrov’s and Sytnyk’s pockets.
In December of 2011, the court ordered to arrest Borulko, but Pavlo Viktorovych, together with his lover Nataliia Rychkova, was already in Belarus at that time, under protection of the State Security Committee of the Republic of Belarus, where he handed his taped conversation with Oleksiy Petrov claiming that Petrov demanded money from him. Immediately afterwards, Volodymyr Bik, a Head of the Counterintelligence Department of the SSU, sent a group of officers led by Vorotniuk in order to bring Borulko back to Ukraine (the group even included Kindras, a Head of the Automotive Sector of the Main Office of Military Counterintelligence of the SSU), but they could meet with the swindler only at the Gomel Region Office of the State Security Committee, and sure enough they had to leave empty-handed.
Negotiations with the Belarus side, held by a group of prosecutors of the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine led by Yuriy Viytiev, a Head of the Main Office of Military Prosecutor Offices of the PGOU, were similarly unsuccessful. Therefore, the Prosecutor General of Ukraine Viktor Pshonka finally ordered to deny opening a criminal proceeding based on Borulko’s claim about money extortion, but disgraced Petrov got ousted from the SSU.
Then the government in Ukraine changed, and in July of 2014, the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine received a criminal complaint from Borulko through, and it’s not a joke, Iryna Stepanivna Lutsenko, a Ukrainian MP. She filed a complaint on Borulko’s behalf about extorting money and attached a laserdisc with a conversation between Borulko and Petrov. On July 30, 2014 prosecutors registered criminal proceeding 42014000000000701 regarding the crime set out in Part 4 of Article 368 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, and Oleksiy Petrov was interrogated accordingly. Sure thing, Oleksiy Gennadiyovych said that he didn’t know no Borulko, but detectives sent the video tape with Petrov’s interrogation for a phonetic-acoustic examination in order to compare it to the record provided by Iryna Stepanivna. However, this examination only showed that the Borulko and Petrov record is untampered with and not edited. As for identifying the voices, an examiner asked for additional samples because of external sounds (noise, detective’s voice, etc.) heard during Petrov’s interrogation. Let me quote the case memo prepared in July of 2018, when Petrov was the Head of the Counterintelligence Department of the SSU:
“In order to figure out whether the voice on the audio record titled “Borulko and Petrov from the SSU” belongs to the witness Petrov, O.G., a forensic phonetic-acoustic examination was ordered and conducted. According to expert report 19/18-99Ф of 03/18/2015, it was impossible to decisively conclude whether the voice of Petrov, Oleksiy Gennadiyovych, is present on the audio record in the “Borulko and Petrov from the SSU” file, and which phrases belong to him, when it comes to establishing the presence of the voice of Petrov, Oleksiy Gennadiyovych, on the audio record in the “Borulko and Petrov from the SSU” file. Moreover, in order to figure out whether the conversations on the audio records titled “Borulko: in conversation with Haisynskyi” and “Borulko and Petrov from the SSU” are untampered with, a forensic phonetic-acoustic examination was ordered and conducted. According to expert report 19/13-94 of 11/21/2014, conversations on the audio records titled “Borulko: in conversation with Haisynskyi” and “Borulko and Petrov from the SSU,” written on the optical disc, are untampered with.
A witness Zhuravel, V.V., a Deputy Head of the Information Technologies Research Laboratory of the Kyiv Scientific Research Forensic Center of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, testified that from 2012 to July of 2015 he’d been a Head of the Division of Computer, Video, and Audio Forensics of the Forensic Examination Laboratory of the State Scientific Research Forensic Center. In March of 2015, following an order of a detective of the PGOU Bezshchasnyi, Y.M., he conducted a phonetic-acoustic examination within criminal proceeding 42014000000000701. In the order regarding the examination (with a disc for a laser reading system and a videocassette submitted), the expert was asked to decide whether the voice of Petrov, O.G., is present on the audio record provided to him, and if yes, which phrases belong to Petrov. The disc provided to the expert contained an audio file titled “Borulko and Petrov from the SSU,” and the videocassette contained a video recording of interrogating the witness Petrov, O.G.
While conducting the examination, out of inability to answer the detective’s question based on the provided materials, Zhuravel, V.V., filed a motion to provide a new sample of the voice and speech of Petrov, O.G. In reply, he received a letter stating it was temporarily impossible to meet mentioned demands, and thus conducted the examination using available materials.
After examination, it turned out that it was impossible to answer the detective’s questions. The main factors were low quality of the audio recording, presence of interference, and distortion of the speech, namely external noise, poundings, and voices of persons not involved in the conversation. After examination, expert prepared report 19/18-99Ф of 03/18/2015.
Currently, experts of the Hon. Prof. M. S. Bokarius Kharkiv Research Institute of Forensic Examinations are conducting a phonetic-acoustic examination of the above-mentioned conversation recordings. Results are expected to arrive in late May of 2019.”
A pre-trial investigation in a criminal proceeding 42014000000000701 of July 30, 2014 in no way prevented Oleksiy Gennadiyovych from making a fantastic career. In order to return to the ranks of the SSU, in spring of 2014, he joined the Center for Special Operations A (Alpha) as a Deputy Head of the “Shaitan battalion,” a Sixth Office of the CSO A led by that very Valeriy Shaitanov who on April 14, 2020 was arrested by officers of the same CID of the SSU on suspicion of treason and working for intelligence agencies of the Russian Federation. At that time, amid the turmoil caused by the start of Russian aggression, Alpha was involved in ATO, and it accepted everyone, including blind, crippled, and compromised. But residing in ATO area for quite some time enabled Petrov to ignore summons to the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine in order to provide experimental samples of his voice.
It is not hard to figure out what Petrov was doing in ATO. Suffice it to inquire whether distilleries were operating on the occupied territories. In fact, they were operating smoothly. A question arises, what raw materials were used at these distilleries, given that there are no alcohol factories in Donbas, and in 2014–2015, Russia did not ship a single liter of alcohol there. The obvious answer is that vodka in Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics was produced using unofficial alcohol of Ukrspyrt state enterprise shipped across the contact line guarded by Dzerzhinsky’s great-grandchildren.
At the same time, Petrov initiated establishing the Fifth Office of the Counterintelligence Department of the SSU to conduct acts of sabotage and terrorism behind enemy lines. No one really cared why those acts of sabotage and terrorism were necessary. President Poroshenko liked the idea, Petrov was appointed a head of this office, and recruiting agents all over Ukraine followed. Among others, there was a married couple of Hryshchenkos who are now at a detention facility for an attempt to blow up a car of a businessman from Ivano-Frankivsk, and who discussed details of Sheremet’s murder with the suspects in that case right from the prison cell.
But subordinates of a then Head of the SSU Vasyl Hrytsak also kept their pockets in mind. Here are recollections of a former director of Ukrspyrt Mykhailo Labutin about his experience with Petrov’s people:
In late 2015, I was approached by persons from the counterintelligence community who introduced me to a negotiator named Lysohir. He is really a very unique character. And not only him, but his handler from the Counterintelligence Department of the SSU Oleskandr Poklad as well. Poklad used to be a policeman, then he became a lawyer, then he was a participant in several cases involving hits in Kremenchuk, and then he became a “super efficient counterintelligence officer.”
When you were talking to “negotiators,” did you realize who they were?
Of course. Both during the conversation with Lysohir and Poklad and during talks with other people.
Sergiy Sanovskyi, a former soldier of Azov battalion, told in a series of interviews to various bloggers and media outlets that under Lysohir’s supervision, death squads were being formed at the SSU that would conduct illicit special operations. Allegedly, these groups were responsible for a number of big crimes in Ukraine, including murders. At that, the highest authorities are said to favor such squads.
Indeed, Lysohir has his own group, he used to carry out a lot of various tasks.
Is he involved in an arms cache discovered in summer of 2016 in the Podil in a garage whose owner was found hanged?
That man who hanged himself, or, more likely, was hanged, was Lysohir’s driver. A story of this cache leaked to the media by accident. Poklad arrived at the scene to take care of these things, to get this back in the bottle.
What did you discuss with Lysohir and counterintelligence officers in Moldova?
They were demanding $2M from me in exchange for solving my problems and my safe return back home.
Wait a second, first you told you were billed dozens of millions, and eventually they asked for only two?
Those claims covered everyone; here I’m talking about SSU officers. All the others had gone by that time. But I realized that was such a total lie; besides, I didn’t have that kind of money. I didn’t steal nothing, and I wasn’t going to give nothing. Then, other proposals came along.
Well, along the lines that if I don’t have money, let’s think of something. They started talking about how it’s necessary to help the management of the SSU. For instance, they asked to organize a scheme for the counterintelligence community for producing alcohol inside Ukrspyrt, claiming that they conducted many various special operations, and there was no money in the budget allocated for that.
So you agreed?
They never followed through. Besides, they managed to solve these tasks without me, on their own. It’s no secret that now Ukrspyrt is controlled by the counterintelligence of the SSU. Just take a look at people working there. And what’s going on there. Moreover, now all unofficial production is in Chebotariov’s hands, and I would’ve never sat with them at the same table.
You say that, on the one hand, alcohol flows are controlled by the counterintelligence of the SSU, and on the other one, unofficial production is controlled by Chebotariov. What happened to Ivanchuk whom you mentioned in 2015 when talking about industry “supervisors”?
Ivanchuk is not there anymore. But I can’t say that global arrangements changed much. These are all the same people who were causing me troubles.
Can you name them?
These are the ones who control processes in the alcohol industry. From the very beginning, they were Ivanchuk, Yatsenyuk, Shokin. Now, they got replaced by Avakov on the one hand, and the counterintelligence of the SSU on the other one. The configuration is as follows: they split whatever they get off unofficial production with Chebotariov’s help; in addition, they want to privatize Ukrspyrt for a song.
Actually, sources in the SSU name Oleksandr Poklad, mentioned by Labutin in his interview, and Oleksiy Petrov as people who organized blowing up the reporter’s car. In February of 2017, already after Sheremet had been murdered, Petrov got a promotion and became a Head of the Counterintelligence Department of the SSU. At that position, he became known for big provocations such as the “case of Savchenko and Ruban” or a staged murder of Arkady Babchenko, a former Russian reporter and currently an actor with the SSU.
As for the Fifth Office of the CID, Petrov’s confidents assumed top positions there: Roman Chervinskyi became a Head of the Office, whereas Oleksandr Poklad and Maksym Propov became his deputies.
Information about Petrov’s and Poklad’s involvement in the Sheremet’s murder could have been verified by way of an internal investigation, which was suggested to Lieutenant Bakanov as early as June 2019. Now it is likely too late to verify anything, since in April of 2020, Poklad, for the purpose of career progression, organized arrest of Shaitanov, under whose supervision Petrov was hiding from the phonetic-acoustic examination, and sent Bakanov, through Andriy Naumov, a Head of the Main Office of Internal Security of the SSU, some dirt on Chervisnkyi and Petrov. As a result, Petrov was ousted from the SSU for good and now is heading Zakarpattia Region State Administration; Chervinskyi went to the Defence Intelligence of the Ministry of Defence; and Poklad became a Head of the Fifth Office.
After Pavlo Sheremet got killed, Alyona Prytula and her lawyer Andriy Mamalyga made quite some noise demanding to reclassify the blowup of the car of Ukrayinska Pravda’s owner’s cohabitee as an “act of terrorism” and to assign its investigation to the Security Service of Ukraine. I would rather not discuss Mamalyga as a lawyer and the cases he handles (it is not fair to equate lawyers with his clients, although the fact that such a person as Stanislav Krasnov is among his clients is certainly thought-provoking), but there are absolutely no signs of a terrorist act in the intentional homicide of Sheremet. Thus, a question arises: who and why put the owner of Ukrayinska Pravda up to demanding transferring the case to the SSU, where it would have been investigated just like the “case of Savchenko and Ruban,” the “Babchenko’s murder,” or the “attempt at Shokin’s life”?
And one more thing: Prytula stopped her yammering about the “act of terrorism” after meeting Yuriy Lutsenko, the Prosecutor, for Christ’s sake, General, whose wife sent the taped conversation between Borulko and Petrov to the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine in 2014. And therefore, Yuriy Vitaliyovych knew perfectly well that the SSC of the Republic of Belarus possesses damning dirt on Oleksiy Gennadiyovych, and likely explained it to Prytula that it is not advisable to change jurisdiction and transfer the case of Sheremet’s murder to the Security Service of Ukraine for investigation.
By the way, while living in Belarus, Borulko got married for the second time, changed his last name to Rychkov, and, despite being wanted, tried to run for Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine in 2014, to which end he retroactively registered himself in occupied Feodosiya. But this attempt to get the parliamentary immunity failed just like the one in 2012.
As Petrov was hiding from the detective in order to avoid providing an experimental sample of his voice for the phonetic-acoustic examination, Borulko, together with all the dirt available, moved to Moscow where he blended in Vladislav Surkov’s team. The latter was a president Putin’s aide responsible for Russia-Ukraine relations and supervising the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics. We can recount Borulko’s activities in this field for hours; better yet, one could interrogate his associate Shepeliev who was kidnapped in Russia, relocated to Ukraine, and turned up in the detention facility with a broken jaw.
A question arises, whether Russian and Belarussian intelligence agencies used the dirt provided by Borulko, in particular, the one on Sytnyk and Petrov. No doubt they did use it and blackmailed both of them (intelligence agencies never ignore such opportunities for recruiting).
A follow-up question: how did foreign intelligence agencies blackmail Petrov? Perhaps they promised to send the audio recording of the conversation with Borulko to the Prosecutor General of Ukraine or to the Head of the SSU? This is simply ridiculous because both the Prosecutor General of Ukraine and the Head of the SSU are themselves willing to sell any kinds of state secrets. Publishing dirt on Sheremet’s blog on Ukrayinska Pravda is a totally different thing. Even though Pavlo never had anything to do with investigative journalism and was just a host at Radio Vesti, he readily published various puff pieces on the UP blog without bothering to factcheck the material or feeling morally ashamed (suffice it to recall how Sheremet participated in a campaign for clearing the name of Pshonka’s associate Gennadiy Chyzhykov, a President of the Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce and Industry).
If we assume that Sheremet (who prior to his death flew to Moscow for negotiations with Borulko’s old friend Oleksandr Klymenko) was given materials about a special bond between Borulko and Petrov for publication, then we will be able to explain not only Sheremet’s meeting with a guy named “Botsman”, i.e. Sergey Korotkykh, that took place under surveillance of the crews of the Department of Operational Documentation of the SSU just a couple of hours prior to his death. In addition, the motive for the murder will become clear as well; namely, to show to colleagues from the SSC of the Republic of Belarus what happens to those whom someone tries to use to blackmail the Head of the Fifth Office of the Counterintelligence Department of the Security Service of Ukraine.