By Mykhaylo Kryvolapov
05.25.2014 RBK Ukraine
Translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine
The Head of the Center for Military and Political Studies, a representative of the Information Resistance group, Dmitry Tymchuk in an interview with RBK-Ukraine discussed how he created the initiative, on what money it runs, how it obtains information, what [Ukrainian] law enforcement lack to complete the ATO successfully and if a war with Russia is possible.
RBK-Ukraine: How long have you been engaged in military affairs? How was the Information Resistance initiative formed?
Dmitry Tymchuk: I’ve engaged in “military affairs” since childhood because my father is an officer. Before enrolling into military school, I had experience driving a tank and an IFV [infantry fighting vehicle], and at some “amateur” level mastered the technique of firing PM and APC handguns, the Kalashnikov assault rifle, and the PK machine gun.
Military affairs” came into my life on a more serious level in 1991, when I was accepted to the last “imperial” class (before the collapse of the Soviet Union) at the Lviv Higher Order of the Red Star Political College, in the Faculty of Military Journalism. After graduation, I began to serve outside my specialization–working with the general staff. Because of that, by continuing my further service at headquarters structures (namely, the Main Directorate of the Commander of the National Guard of Ukraine, and later in the Ministry of Defense), I had inside knowledge about the Army.
As for the IR [Information Resistance] group, it was created on March 2, 2014, with the beginning of Russian aggression against Ukraine, as an initiative of the “Center for Military-Political Studies” NGO headed by myself. I believe that the creation of this initiative is a natural reaction of Ukrainian society to the information war imposed on us by Russia, along with its military invasion of Crimea. It is a “natural reaction” in the sense that it couldn’t happen in any other way, since our state showed itself to be not fully ready for the confrontation “on all fronts.”
If we didn’t do it, someone else would. A nation that has become a victim of aggression must protect itself–otherwise it is not a nation. Ukrainians have a disastrously weak state. But we have a huge reserve of patriotism and aspiration for freedom. I can imagine a Ukrainian to be a thief or a corruptionist. But I can’t imagine a Ukrainian to be a slave.
RBK-Ukraine: Where do you get operative information on the status of hot spots?
Dmitry Tymchuk: Rule #1 of the IR group: anonymity and only anonymity. On this rests the whole system. This is a mechanism for obtaining and verifying information, built on personal contacts. Maybe someday we’ll reveal the details. But not when there is a de facto war on.
I can only say that no one, including me, has any idea about even the approximate number of members of the IR group. We only communicate with those [people] that we trust, but at the same time, we verify any information on parallel networks. And we can trace these networks to certain key agents. With whom they communicate, what the structure of their system of personal sources is, we don’t know, but we don’t need it anyway. Key agents also don’t know each other. At the moment, we see the mechanism in the whereabouts of 300 people, but we are well aware that this is only the tip of the iceberg.
We work closely with the intelligence agencies and security forces in general; we don’t hide [this fact]. Again, [based] only on personal contacts. This is a very important component in our system of obtaining and verifying information. I would say that we combine the potential of both government agencies and patriots who operate outside the government agencies. Due to our absence of a bureaucratic system with its slowness and corruption, this potential is realized very efficiently.
Ultimately, the only important thing for us would be that the provided information was confirmed by parallel networks. Misinformation, through such a system, is detected immediately.
RBK-Ukraine: Who funds the organization? What is its budget?
Dmitry Tymchuk: Currently, the IR budget is somewhere around 2,000 Hryvnias [USD $170] (per month–Ed.). These are the expenditures of our three coordinators for mobile communications and the Internet. The sources of funding are our pockets.
However, our website requires a higher level of investment now. It was also created using our personal funds, but it requires permanent funding for normal operation. To be honest, we don’t yet understand how to solve this problem.
RBK-Ukraine: Do you manage your own Facebook page, or does someone help you? What about your website? How many people are there in your team?
Dmitry Tymchuk: I manage my FB page myself. This, of course, complicates personal correspondence in Facebook, as it’s very difficult to answer all the messages, although I aspire to do so. But it doesn’t always work out–especially when there is a “force majeure” situation, which happens quite often.
Another coordinator works on our website–Yuri Karin; he’s also the chief editor of the website. His team includes two other people as well as the IR member who is responsible for technical support.
RBK-Ukraine: Do you visit the combat sites (battlefields)?
Dmitry Tymchuk: All coordinators of the IR group regularly work “in the field.” I’m sorry, I cannot tell you more.
RBK-Ukraine: When did the anti-terrorist operation [ATO] begin in eastern Ukraine? What are the casualties, according to your data, of Ukrainian servicemen involved in the ATO at this point? And what are the separatist casualties? Civilian casualties?
Dmitry Tymchuk: We don’t provide this information; this is the prerogative of the government structures.
RBK-Ukraine: On May 12, Viktor Yanukovych, dismissed by the Verkhovna Rada from the position of the President of Ukraine, said that the current Ukrainian government has destroyed over 300 civilians in Ukraine. How plausible are these numbers, in your opinion?
Dmitry Tymchuk: I think it might be worth it for Yanukovych to come to Ukraine and clarify his data in personal conversations with our security forces. It is not clear how he counts from the territory of Russia. I am sure that [Ukrainian] law enforcement officers also anticipate this meeting.
Although, considering that the puppeteers and the current owners of Yanukovych in the Kremlin consider the terrorists in Donbas who are armed to their teeth to be “peaceful civilians,” then I think that Yanukovych is quite modest in his estimates.
RBK-Ukraine: What, in your opinion, do Ukrainian security officials lack to complete the ATO in the coming days?
Dmitry Tymchuk: My deep belief is that the ATO lacks decisive and responsible leadership, and that our law enforcement structures lack such leadership in general. This is the root of evil. And here are its main results: lack of ability to respond quickly to changing conditions, the lack of interaction between security forces, lack of an acceptable level of logistics, the lack of a basic ability to take responsibility at almost all levels [of command], etc.
RBK-Ukraine: Do you see any threat from Russia conducting its [military] exercises “Aviadarts 2014” on May 21-25? If so, what threat in particular?
Dmitry Tymchuk: This is another component of Russia’s general pressure on Ukraine. Its goal is clear– to intimidate and further destabilize the situation in East Ukraine.
RBK-Ukraine: What do you think, can Russia still formally enter its troops into Ukraine? Under what circumstances?
Dmitry Tymchuk: I have already said that I don’t know the exact composition of the IR group, but I can guarantee that there is no Ms. Kabayeva [rumored girlfriend of Putin] among its members. Therefore, we have no knowledge of all the plans of Putin.
At the same time, we see that Putin is unpredictable, and that there are no boundaries or deterrence in the form of international public opinion, international law, etc. that exist for him. And that’s why we should be ready for anything, and there is the likelihood of a Russian invasion. So we must be prepared for this.
RBK-Ukraine: Were you offered a position in the security enforcement agencies?
Dmitry Tymchuk: Yes. My answer was clear: if myself and all the IR coordinators occupy the bureaucratic chairs, our effectiveness can be immediately multiplied by a zero. I mentioned earlier that our state is extremely inefficient. Therefore, we don’t want to be part of this ineffectiveness for the sake of an impressive inscription on a business card. Ukraine does not have the time now to completely reformat its system of national security and defense; you need to act now. That’s what we’re trying to do.
Source: RBK Ukraine