In the occupied territories, the Russian military and collaborators deliberately kidnap and torture journalists to force them to cooperate or ban their journalistic activities.
In the occupied territories, the Russian military and collaborators deliberately kidnap and torture journalists to force them to cooperate or ban their journalistic activities. The video has English subtitles.
“WE DON’T NEED JUST ANY JOURNALISTS, WE NEED OPINION LEADERS”
In March 2022, when Russian troops entered the territory of Zaporizhzhia oblast and began terrorising civilians, Halyna Danylchenko contacted Melitopol journalist Svitlana Zalizetska.
“I was taken to an enterprise in the city, where Halyna Danylchenko conducted an ‘interview’ with me. She said that they didn’t need ‘just any’ journalists, they needed opinion leaders who people would follow. And they were looking for them,” says Zalizetska.
The journalist says that Danylchenko persuaded her to cooperate and promised her “a career all the way to Moscow”.
Svitlana Zalizetska described in detail the role of Danylchenko in forcing journalists to cooperate with the occupiers in Occupation: The Price of a Word, the new film by Slidstvo.Info.
Halyna Danylchenko is the head of the Melitopol occupation administration. She used to be a member of the city council from the Opposition Bloc party, and after the full-scale invasion, she went over to the enemy.
Ukrainian prosecutors accuse Danylchenko of high treason, holding illegal referendums and voluntarily taking up a position in illegal authorities. However, one more crime can be added to Danylchenko’s crimes — hunting for journalists in the occupied territories.
According to social media, Halyna Danylchenko is currently in the occupied territories and is actively cooperating with the Russian presidential party United Russia.
“WE WILL KILL HIM SLOWLY”
In the first days of the occupation of the Kherson region, Oleh Baturin, a journalist from Kakhovka, was abducted by unknown persons. He later identified one of the kidnappers as the head of the Kakhovka occupation administration, Volodymyr Leontiev, who had been appointed by Russia.
“He was the first to start talking to me: ‘You know who I am, you wrote about me’. It seems like they wanted to break my arms, because I was in terrible pain,” Oleh Baturin recalls a conversation with Leontiev.
Volodymyr Leontiev is an entrepreneur who, before the full-scale war, worked at the Chumak enterprise and the Building Materials Plant No. 1. He also headed the Nova Kakhovka-based companies NK Cottage 2007 and UKRKARIERDOBUVANNIA, which were engaged in construction and mining.
When Kakhovka was occupied, Leontiev, together with the Russian military, seized power in the city. Later, the occupiers’ accomplice received an award for courage from Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The journalist identified the second offender who abducted and abused Oleh Baturin on his own.
“I was sent several photos, without names. And I was looking at the face of this man who threatened me with the ‘troika’ (an extrajudicial sentencing body in the USSR, when three punishers sentenced people to be shot — ed.), who would shoot me… It was Valentyn Motuzenko,” says Oleh.
Valentyn Motuzenko is a traitor with experience. Slidstvo.Info found out that in June 2014, when Russia had already annexed Crimea and started to seize Donetsk and Luhansk regions, Ukrainian Motuzenko flew across Russia from Sheremetyevo airport to Rostov-on-Don.
He later became an adviser to the head of the DNR terrorist organisation and founded the Kalmius militant battalion. Eventually, Motuzenko was imprisoned by his own people for looting. His accomplice, a militant of the so-called DPR, Pavlo Hubariev, told this story.
Hubariev and his wife were also directly involved in the abduction of the journalists. The militant spoke about this in detail in an interview with the occupation media. He said that his wife, Kateryna Hubarieva, compiled lists of pro-Ukrainian citizens who were then imprisoned.
Kateryna Hubarieva is a member of the so-called People’s Council of the DPR, and since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, she has become the deputy of the Russian-appointed governor of Kherson region, Volodymyr Saldo. This position is not accidental, as Hubarieva herself is from Kakhovka, and therefore must have known local activists well.
Nowadays, Hubarieva often travels to Russia. On social media, you can find a recent photo of her from the Museum of Russian Icons in Moscow.
“IT WAS AN ATTEMPT TO RECRUIT, LIKE THE KGB”
Another man involved in the persecution of journalists in the occupied territories was identified by Mykhailo Kumok, the owner of a publishing house in Melitopol, which was searched by Russians after the occupation.
The Russians were looking for both the publishing house and specialists who could work with the specific equipment of the printing house.
When Mykhailo refused, a man named Andrii Chuykov called him to a meeting. He was the rector of the occupied Melitopol University and a police officer until 2014.
The rector played the role of a “good policeman” who tried to convince Mykhailo of the benefits of cooperation with the Russians. Chuykov called Mykhailo and suggested a meeting.
“He says we need to meet: “Why don’t we start cooperating?” I said: “How do you imagine that, especially after what yours did in my editorial office and you published a fake issue of my newspaper with my logo”. It was a recruitment attempt, just like the KGB does. Not only in the KGB, but in any of the special services,” says Mykhailo Kumok.
Andrii Chuykov is a former Kharkiv police lieutenant colonel. In 2014, he apologised to Anti-Maidan activists for his participation in the operation to liberate the Kharkiv Regional State Administration.
After the start of the full-scale invasion, he defected to the enemy. The Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine notified Chuikov of suspicion of high treason and encroachment on territorial integrity.
Investigators have gathered evidence that since March 2022, Chuykov has been actively involved in Russia’s information war against Ukraine in Melitopol, spreading Russian propaganda narratives and denying Russia’s armed aggression against Ukraine.
But now we know about another crime Chuykov committed — a persuading local journalists to cooperate with the occupiers.
According to Slidstvo.Info, as of early 2022, Chuykov already had a Russian passport. In October 2014, he flew from Simferopol to Domodedovo (the main airport in Russia). At the same time, he was publicly apologising to Anti-Maidan supporters.
These are just a few of the names of collaborators involved in the abductions of journalists in the occupied territories. The journalists who survived the occupation identified them themselves and found them after their return from captivity.
These are the perpetrators who served the Russian authorities for years and took advantage of the opportunity to take occupation positions and perform dirty tasks. The names of the ordering parties, Russians and FSB officers behind these crimes remain unknown.