Dmitry Tymchuk, Head of the Center for Military and Political Research, Coordinator of the Information Resistance group
Translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine
About the “independent” and “objective” observers from Russia:
In my last post about the OSCE [Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe], I pointed out that I considered the issue closed at the time – [we] said plenty on the issue, our questions to the OSCE were prepared in a very specific and constructive manner, and I did not plan to return to it. However, in recent days we received mass appeals, primarily from the Western media, who asked to present the facts and explain how this conflict of interest manifests itself. To demonstrate the “strange” behavior of representatives of the mission, I gave a list of facts that repeated with surprising persistence. But the IR [Information Resistance] group also records other instances where questions arise to certain Russian citizens from among the supposedly “independent and objective” OSCE observers.
I will give just one example.
Thus, in June of 2014, representatives of the OSCE monitoring mission visited Sloviansk, which at the time was under the control of [Igor] Girkin’s terrorists. The OSCE came with the goal to “put together an objective picture of the city’s state.” This trip became the informational occasion for most Russian media and was covered in detail.
In particular, on June 27, a quote from one of the representatives of the monitoring mission, a certain Victor Likhachev, appeared on the RIA Novosti website. Likhachev said: “The picture is grim, a lot has been destroyed. Experts see traces of mortar attacks, destroyed homes and infrastructure. I saw Sloviansk a month ago, it was very different.”
The video of this episode has been removed from the RIA Novosti website. However, the identical story also went out on TV’s LifeNews with the commentary by Victor Likhachev. [Editor: the video starts at 6:42].
This information was used by the Russian media to illustrate the version that the Ukrainian army allegedly shells residential neighborhoods on a regular basis. This, in reality, has not happened. In fact, the destruction of Sloviansk was caused by the shelling of terrorists themselves, which is confirmed by numerous facts.
The following facts are interesting.
Victor V. Likhachev (allegedly an “independent observer”) is a senior advisor … at the Russian Embassy in Ukraine. The official Embassy website listed him in this capacity. He “was” listed, because as of November 14, 2014, this page has been blocked (by a strange coincidence, the IR group got interested in Likhachev and was seeking comments from his colleagues at the time); however, it is still visible in the Google search engine cache (see screenshot).
Numerous facts attest to Likhachev’s affiliation with the Russian Embassy.
For example, in May of 2013, he was summoned to the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the Ministry expressed its protest regarding improper statements aimed at the Crimean Tatars by Vladimir Andreyev, the Consul General of the Russian Federation in Simferopol. As a result, Andreyev was recalled by the Russian Foreign Ministry from this post.
And in 2006, Likhachev participated in the round table “The Black Sea between Russia and the EU.” The materials of the round table clearly noted his status – Senior Advisor to the Embassy of the Russian Federation (second photo).
Now look further.
On April 21, 2014, a Russian Reporter special correspondent, Dmitry Velikovsky, posted online his article “Everyday work of the OSCE.” [In Russian].
In this article, Velikovsky describes his trip along with other journalists and members of the OSCE mission in the districts of Donetsk. According to Velikovsky, at one of the roadblocks they were detained by insurgents who threatened them with violence if they did not immediately erase their videos and give the insurgents the memory cards from the camcorders.
Velikovsky suggests that in the midst of the conflict, when weapons were directed at the journalists, one man from the OSCE mission by the name of Victor turned to the terrorists (quote):
“Victor looks out from the car – he shows a blue passport: – MY name is Victor Likhachev, I’m a senior adviser of the Russian embassy, a diplomat, a Russian.”
That is, an active employee of the Russian Embassy, simultaneously enjoys all the powers of an international observer of the OSCE! The representative of the country which annexed a part of Ukrainian territory and unleashed a war, [who] can move freely, visit military facilities among others, collect and send information to the enemy.
Tell me, who believes that this “observer” can maintain objectivity? Will he report on armored convoys coming from Russia? Will he truthfully cover the shellings of residential areas by terrorists and the killings of civilians?
Who will dare to call this criticism “unsubstantiated?” And so as to dot the “i,” I will point out another fact.
On August 17, 2007, one of the Ukrainian websites published an article stating that Victor Likhachev is a suspected member of the Russian special services.
It may well turn out that a person disguised by the Ukrainian OSCE mandate is not just a diplomat but an agent of the Russian intelligence services. Do I [really] need to explain how this will affect the credibility of the organization? With his sole presence, he is able to nullify all the efforts of the OSCE to demonstrate [their] objectivity.
I’ll repeat once again. We would like the OSCE mission to work in Donbas, so that they help to establish effective control over the Ukrainian-Russian border. But in this situation, let’s agree that only a very naive person can count on this.
Source: Dmitry Tymchuk FB