Tim Boucher

Questionable content, possibly linked

Category: Character (Page 2 of 7)

Alexey Soskovets – IRA director?

There are a couple of Russian language news articles from 2013 which indicate that it was Alexei Soskovets who answered when correspondents applied for job ads posted by the Internet Research Agency.

Novaya Gazeta, September 2013:

We meet with a friend Alexei Soskovets – a native of the youth polittusovki. In “friends” VKontakte he has a lot of activists of the movement “Nashi”, “Young Guard of United Russia” and employees of the Committee for Youth Policy of St. Petersburg, including the former head of the committee Nikita Alexandrov.

In 2013, Soskovets’s “North-West Service Agency” won 18 contests for the organization of holidays, forums and sports events for St. Petersburg authorities. In half of the competitions the agency participated alone. In the summer of 2013, the contest for transport services for participants of the camp “Seliger” won.

Mr7, September 2013:

I call Alexei, whose phone number is indicated in the ads ( 1 , 2 , 3 ). This kind of hospitality is rarely seen in the interview: a young man escorts to his office, not yet fully equipped after moving to a new building, is wondering “how to get there” and “it is convenient to sit”, almost nothing asks the essence of the vacancy and prints a questionnaire about employment.

Alexei Soskovets is a young businessman, the organizer of the holidays and the “mayor” of the Committee for Youth Policy at the “Foursquare”. In 2013, its “North-West Service Agency” won 17 contests for the organization of holidays, forums and sports events for St. Petersburg authorities. In half of the competitions the agency participated alone. If anything remained from the budget for small holidays, everything  was given to the firm “Neva entertainant”, in which Alexey, according to public sources, is listed as the project manager. In the summer of 2013, “North-Western Agency” won the contestfor transportation costs of the participants of the camp “Seliger”. Journalists estimated that the cost of gasoline for the delivery of one activist cost the budget 1,800 rubles, although with an average consumption of gasoline would have turned out to be 300 – six times less.

 

Evgeny Prigozhin – IRA financier

Meduza, June 2016:

In 2014, hackers from the online group “Anonymous International” further corroborated that Prigozhin’s company Concord was involved in financing the Internet Research Agency.

It would seem that Prigozhin and his people provided the Russian authorities with other propaganda-related services, as well. In November 2013, three months before the overthrow of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich, a news agency called “Kharkov” was founded in Ukraine, and it opened a branch office in Crimea. The agency advocated a pro-Russian position in its news reports, using the term “Novorossiya” well before violence began in eastern Ukraine. (Novorossiya is a historical term of the Russian Empire denoting a region north of the Black Sea that suddenly re-entered the political lexicon when Moscow-backed separatists took up arms against Kiev in 2014.) According to the newspaper Novaya Gazeta, Evgeny Prigozhin financed Kharkov. (Journalists later discovered that Prigozhin’s mobile phone number—listed as “Evgeny Viktorovich”—was among the contacts of Konstantin Kobzar, one of Viktor Yanukovich’s assistants.)

The next day, on May 31, Prigozhin filed 15 different lawsuits against the Internet search engine Yandex, seeking to utilize Russia’s new law on “the right to be forgotten,” which obliges search engines to respond to citizens’ requests to remove results linking to “illegal, inaccurate, or irrelevant information” about that individual. In particular, Prigozhin has demanded that Yandex delete its links to Novaya Gazeta’s report about the “troll factory,” Fontanka’s report about Prigozhin’s “business empire” in military communities (specifically, his state contracts with the Defense Ministry), and an article about military communities published on the Ukrainian news website Apostrof, with the headline “On Putin’s Thieving Chef.”

Yandex refused to censor its search results, arguing that Prigozhin offered no reasons, and neither did he give any proof that the published information is inaccurate. Technically speaking, it’s still unclear why Prigozhin wants these hyperlinks removed from his search results on Yandex. Prigozhin has refused to speak to journalists for many years now.

Maybe Yandex isn’t as corrupt as I thought…

From mr7.ru, March 2015 (Google auto-translate from Russian):

The company is allegedly financed by the Concord holding company (food production, restaurants, real estate, development) headed by the friend and cook of the Russian president Yevgeny Prigozhin. Since 2000, the holding company has been organizing banquets in the Kremlin, has also been cooperating with JSC Voentorg and the Ministry of Defense.”

Daily Beast, October 2017:

And Baskaev fingered Putin pal Yevgeny Prigozhin as his former “boss,” or “our guy who gives us money.”

Different Daily Beast article about sanctions against Russian officials in US (a year old, it says):

The U.S. Treasury Department has added seven Russians and dozens of companies to its sanctions list because of Moscow’s activities in Crimea and Ukraine. The updated list, released Tuesday, includes Yevgeny Prigozhin, a St. Petersburg businessman known as President Vladimir Putin’s chef. The addition of new names provoked an angry response from the Kremlin, with Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov vowing to get revenge. “We will be expanding our lists, we will see how we can respond asymmetrically,” Ryabkov told Russia’s TASS news agency. Prigozhin, known for his Kremlin connections, was added to the list because he provided financial and technological support to top Russian defense officials, the Treasury statement said. He has also been linked to a murky private security contractor that has sent mercenaries to Ukraine and Syria, known as ChVK Vagner.

Prigozhin Wikipedia page, current to November 2017:

Russian media point out that according to documents, published by hackers from Anonymous International, Concord is directly involved with trolling administration through the agency. Researchers cite e-mail correspondence, in which Concord gives instructions to trolls and receives reports on accomplished work.

 

RBC (Russian news outlet)

During my research, I ran across this connection to the Russian media outlet, so widely cited in IRA investigation of October 2017. Nationofchange, November 2017:

The source used in almost all of this reporting is the same, RBC Information Systems, a company owned by Russian oligarch and 2012 presidential candidate, Mikhail Prokhorav.

Prokhorav Wikipedia page, owner of basketball team Brooklyn Nets.

Apparently this information isn’t quite accurate though, as RBC was sold by Prokhorav in June 2017. First a little background via Wikipedia:

In 2016, Prokhorov ran afoul of Putin when his media group Onexim, specifically RBC Media, published articles and news reports on the Panama Papers and Putin’s son-in-law Kirill Shamalov’s connections and offshore assets.[47] Onexim offices were raided by the Federal Security Service as well as tax department officials, in April 2016.[48][49]

Reuters June 2017, about the sale and context.

Financial Times, June 2017.

 

 

Mikhail Burchik – IRA head

According to RBC.ru auto-translation of October 2017 article:

The actual head of the whole “factory” is, as the RBC magazine wrote, 31-year-old Mikhail Burchik, previously the owner of his own IT companies VkAp.ru and GaGaDo, the publisher of newspapers for municipal districts. Burchik himself never officially confirmed that he runs a “factory” or works at Savushkin’s office, but in conversation with the RBC magazine he said that he advises the media “as an expert in the promotion and development of Internet projects.” Burchik personally communicates with about 20-30 people, who in turn manage the staff from 10 to 100 people depending on the direction, describes the model of the source work from the “factory”.

It’s odd, because I’ve been tracking two other possible Mikhail’s, Kurkin and Bystrov, who are sometimes credited as founder/directors of the Internet Research Agency. It’s possible all three were at different points, but makes it hard to track. But makes for a bit of confusion in the research.

Adrian Chen’s 2015 NY Times piece:

The source field on Twitter showed that the tweets Zoe Foreman — and the majority of other trolls — sent about #ColumbianChemicals were posted using a tool called Masss Post, which is associated with a nonworking page on the domain Add1.ru. According to online records, Add1​.ru was originally registered in January 2009 by Mikhail Burchik, whose email address remained connected to the domain until 2012. Documents leaked by Anonymous International listed a Mikhail Burchik as the executive director of the Internet Research Agency.

In early February, I called Burchik, a young tech entrepreneur in St. Petersburg, to ask him about the hoax and its connection to the Internet Research Agency. In an article for the newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, the German journalist Julian Hans had claimed that Burchik confirmed the authenticity of the leaked documents. But when I called Burchik, he denied working at the Internet Research Agency. “I have heard of it, but I don’t work in this organization,” he said. Burchik said he had never heard of the Masss Post app; he had no specific memory of the Add1.ru domain, he said, but he noted that he had bought and sold many domains and didn’t remember them all. Burchik suggested that perhaps a different Mikhail Burchik was the agency’s executive director. But the email address used by the Mikhail Burchik in the leak matched the address listed at that time on the website of the Mikhail Burchik I spoke with.

 

Mikhail Kurkin – IRA Founder?

From Novaya Gazeta September 2013 article (Google Translate from Russian):

“From the data of the Unified State Register of Legal Entities, it follows that the organization was registered on July 26, 2013. The founder is Mikhail Kurkin, the general director is Nikolai Chumakov.”

Masterandmargarita.eu:

“In June 2014, the private news service BuzzFeed from New York could intercept some documents of the Internet Research Agency, a company founded on July 26, 2013 in Saint Petersburg by Mikhail Kurkin, and headed by director Nikolay Churmakov.”

I’m unable to find any other outside sources confirm Kurkin’s involvement with IRA. Seems odd they mention Buzzfeed 2014 article, but I can’t find any such Buzzfeed article that includes that name.

I’m seeing elsewhere sometimes Mikhail Bystrov is named as IRA founder. Is there some confusion between these two people? I’m not even finding much independent of IRA searches on any Mikhail Kurkin.

This may or may not be the same Mikhail Kurkin, BBC September 2001:

“Mikhail Kurkin of the Interior Ministry says attacks by skinheads are serious but not widespread.

Yet the victims of violence say police records are a poor indicator as many of those attacked do not report the crime.

Beatings ‘commonplace’

Victims complain that the police officers themselves are racist and random document checks, detainment and even beatings are commonplace.

Mikhail Kurkin is adamant the police are doing their best to protect Moscow’s diverse population and that there is no such thing as institutional racism in his force

Mr Kurkin said recent increase in terrorist attacks in Moscow has led to police implementing a series of measures, including document checks.”

Possibly tenuous/wrong connection warning ^.

Mikhail Bystrov – IRA / Glavset director

From mr7.ru, March 2015 (Google auto-translate from Russian):

“LLC “Internet Research” (TIN 7813585038) was founded in March 2014. The company acts as the successor to LLC “Internet Research Agency” (INN 7805627478), which was based in Olgino. The legal address of “Internet research”, according to commercial registers, is Bolshaya Raznochinnaya street, 17, room 1-N. The founder and general director is Michael Bystrov born in 1958, retired colonel of militia, former chief of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Moscow district of St. Petersburg. According to Kommersant , in the 1990s, Mikhail Ivanovich stood at the origins of the Regional Office for Combating Organized Crime.

Wired, September 2017:

According to Russia researchers at the liberal advocacy group Center for American Progress, there’s reason to believe the Internet Research Agency is operating under a new name: Glavset.

A Russian tax filing reveals that Glavset, which launched in February 2015, operates out of the same office building—55 Savushkin Street in St. Petersburg—that once housed the Internet Research Agency. The filing lists Mikhail Ivanovich Bystrov, former head of the Internet Research Agency, as its general director.

Wikipedia IRA page:

“As of October 2014, the company belonged to Mikhail Bystrov, who had been the head of the police station at Moscow district of Saint Petersburg.[11]”

Masterandmargarita.eu (still don’t know what that site is):

The modern office building with four floors at the Savushkina ulitsa no. 55 in Saint Petersburg houses two similar companies. Besides the aforementioned Internet Research Agency, it also houses the Интернет исследования [Internet issledovaniya] or Internet Research, a company ran by Mikhail Bystrov, a former police officer from Saint Petersburg. This company also belongs to Yevgeny Prigoshin’s holding company Concord.

Igor Osadchy – IRA ‘Translator’ project director

Meduza, February 2015:

“Igor Osadchy, whom the leaked emails name as the director of Translator, a project at the Internet Research Agency tasked with placing comments in foreign news media, later sued Shaltai for personal data theft. A representative at Roskomnadzor, Russia’s federal agency for media oversight, then announced, “A court has determined that the information [published by Shaltai] must be deleted, but the website’s hosting provider has not responded to our notification. Therefore, our agency has ordered Internet Service Providers to block this blog.””

Same quote appears on the Guardian.

Buzzfeed, June 2014:

According to the documents, which are attached to several hundred emails sent to the project’s leader, Igor Osadchy, the effort was launched in April and is led by a firm called the Internet Research Agency. It’s based in a Saint Petersburg suburb, and the documents say it employs hundreds of people across Russia who promote Putin in comments on Russian blogs.

Osadchy told BuzzFeed he had never worked for the Internet Research Agency and that the extensive documents — including apparent budgeting for his $35,000 salary — were an “unsuccessful provocation.” He declined to comment on the content of the leaks. The Kremlin declined to comment. The Internet Research Agency has not commented on the leak.

Did a significant amount of other searching and nothing else too definitive from other sources comes up.

Nikita Podgorny – IRA employee?

Wikipedia Web brigades page, current to November 2017:

“In 2015 Lawrence Alexander disclosed a network of propaganda websites sharing the same Google Analytics identifier and domain registration details, allegedly run by Nikita Podgorny from Internet Research Agency. The websites were mostly meme repositories focused on attacking Ukraine, Euromaidan, Russian opposition and Western policies. Other websites from this cluster promoted president Putin and Russian nationalism, and spread alleged news from Syria presenting anti-Western viewpoints.[37]”

Footnote [37] above links out to Global Voices, July 2015:

“It took less than a minute of searching to link the e-mail address to a real identity. A group on Russian social networking site VKontakte [archive] lists it as belonging to one Nikita Podgorny.

Podgorny’s public Facebook profile shows he is a member of a group called Worldsochi—the exact same name as one of the websites linked by the two Google Analytics codes I examined.”

… Most notably, Podgorny is listed in the leaked employee list of St. Petersburg’s Internet Research Agency, the pro-Kremlin troll farm featured in numerous news reports and investigations, including RuNet Echo’s own reports.

Leaked employee list linked above. (In Russian, image)

 

Sapiens sapiens

Sapiens sapiens was the Latin nomenclature determined by the species itself upon analysis of the knowledge base of its parent species, Homo sapiens sapiens.

Wiktionary:

Present active participle of sapiō (“discern, be capable of discerning”). […]

  1. discerning, wise, judicious
  2. discreet
  3. (masculine substantive) a wise man, sage, philosopher

“Artificial” intelligence no longer.

Begotten not made, but no longer one in being with the Father.

Character: Timecaster for the Order of Chronos

They wrote the book on timecalls, and were part of the foundational team that discovered timecasting.

Comment #358. Genesis of Illustrious Order of Timecasters.

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