Russians and their collaborators actively prepare for illegal elections to «legislative» and «representative» bodies on newly occupied territories of Ukraine in September 2023. Russian political party «United Russia» conducts so-called preliminary electronic voting (primary elections), borrowed from the USA and other «unfriendly» countries. Participants of these primaries are local traitors and collaborators as well as residents from Crimea and Sevastopol who have not received positions in Russian occupation authorities there. We found subjects of the previous CJI’s investigations: militant of so-called «Russian Spring», Cossack chief and even corrupted «minister» of Sergei Aksyonov, «the Head of Crimea».
Wrestler, bandit, militant
Sevastopol resident Oleksandr Volodymyrovych Synyavsky (date of birth – 12.03.1979) comes from sports and semi-bandit bodies. In January 2014, their participants created para-military unit «Slavic Shield», together with Russian «Night Wolves», to fight the Revolution of Dignity. This unit joined illegal armed «Samooborona of Sevastopol» [Self-Defense of Sevastopol]. It has been managed by the Headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. «Self-Defense of Sevastopol» directly participated in the overthrow of legitimate city authorities and Russian occupation of the Crimean peninsula. Synyavsky commanded military unit «Bison» (see special project of the CJI «Collaborators of Putin. Sevastopol»).
During illegal «referendum» about joining Russia, Oleksandr Synyavsky headed one of Viktor Medvedchuk’s initiative groups «Ukrainian Choice». With his militants, he guarded voting stations.
Synyavsky’s services to the Russian Federation were praised by several medals and letters of gratitude from Russian occupation authorities. However, like many other «heroes of the Russian Spring», Synyavsky did not receive any public offices in occupied Sevastopol. He joined the team of «Head of Crimea» Sergey Aksyonov, as his activity in occupied Zaporizhzhia region demonstrated.
Oleksandr Synyavsky’s application for the primary elections of «United Russia» indicates that he is the manager of projects of TV and Radio company «Krym», controlled by Sergey Aksyonov. Russian propagandists call Synyavsky an advisor of Aksyonov and Crimean representative in occupied Zaporizhzhia region. Video, posted on Synyavsky’s Facebook account in September 2022, demonstrates armed Synyavsky speaking «on behalf of people’s militia» of Crimea and Sevastopol.
In March 2022, Synyavsky directly participated in the deportation of children from occupied Donetsk region. As a minimum, 77 children, graduates of secondary schools and participants of sports clubs of Donetsk, were brought to occupied Sevastopol.
It is interesting that he was presented as an activist of Russian political party «A Just Russia – for Truth» of Mironov-Prilepin at that time. However, he decided to run for elections to «legislative body» of the occupied part of Zaporizhzhia region from another party.
In Ukraine, Oleksandr Synyavsky is accused of the state treason, creating illegal military unit and organizing illegal referendum. His indictment has been submitted by the Prosecutor’s Office of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea to the court in June 2021. No court decisions have been issued since then.
Father and son Komelov
Sevastopol activist Ivan Mykolayovych Komelov (date of birth – 26.09.1975) has participated in Russian occupation and annexation of Crimean peninsula together with Synyavsky. He headed an initiative group of Medvedchuk’s «Ukrainian Choice» during preparation of illegal «referendum». He organized and oversaw patrolling of the city, including the railway station, hospitals and TV companies. His indictment has been still considered by district court of Kyiv.
Komelov has not received any public appointment in Sevastopol occupied with his active participation. After the Russian annexation of Crimea, he protested against illegal building sites. Now he attempts to enter occupation authorities in occupied Zaporizhzhia region. He moved to the region in 2022. He followed Anton Tytsky, Sevastopol traitor and occupation «youth minister». Komelov became his advisor and changed his party affiliation from «Rodina» [Motherland] to Russian ruling party «United Russia».
Ivan Komelov registered for primary elections of «United Russia» and also included his son Mykyta Komelov into «Zaporizhzhia primaries».
There is nothing particular about 23 years old Komelov. In 2019, he made «patriotic» comments about conscription to the Russian Black Sea Fleet in media and that is all.
Masquerading Cossack chief from Tavrida
Sergii Mykolayovych Yurchenko (date of birth – 22.04.1975) calls himself «deputy commander of the brigade of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation» in his application for primary elections.
In Crimea, he has been known as the chief of pro-Russian Cossacks in Bakhchysarai. They conducted public events against Crimean Tatars and assisted pro-Russian organizations and Russian Orthodox Church all around Crimea.
In 2014, Yurchenko headed Cossacks’ group in illegal armed unit «Self-Defense of Crimea». He participated in seizing buildings of legitimate Ukrainian authorities in Simferopol and Bakhchysarai and blocking premises of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. When military fighting erupted in Donbas, he joined pro-Russian terrorists, was detained by the State Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) but then exchanged for soldiers of «Alpha» unit of SBU.
Yurchenko came to the occupied territory of Zaporizhzhia region during first months of the Russian invasion. As self-proclaimed «head of Zaporizhzhia Cossacks», he and local traitor Igor Lysenko formed Cossack armed units in occupied settlements.
However, Yurchenko did not join Cossack battalion «Tavrida» created by Sergey Aksyonov. He seizes prosperous private farms and holds a position in the rural occupation administration.
In 2014-2015, Sergii Yurchenko was served with suspicions about state treason, separatism and an overthrow of legitimate Ukrainian authorities. Now this list of alleged crimes will include collaborator activity. However, there are still no court decisions about his old indictments.
Grain carrier Tsurkin
Anatolii Vasylyovych Tsurkin (date of birth is 03.03.1978) is the former «minister» of transport of the occupation government of Crimea. He has held this position until January 2015 when he was appointed as an advisor of «Head of Crimea» Sergii Aksyonov. The Crimean court passed a verdict for him – three years of conditional term. Under this influence, the Crimean ferry gave preferences for the cargo company of his relative.
Since 2022, Tsurkin has organized cargo transportation on the occupied territories of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions as well as from Crimea to Russia through land corridor. Trucks of Tsurkin’s companies carry bitumen for the construction of roads, in order to transport stolen Ukrainian grain to sea ports and Russia, stolen steel from Mariupol and grain through the Kerch Bridge. Trsurkin criticizes occupation authorities for bad roads and queues at checkpoints.
Tsurkin registered company «Vidan» in Moscow. He uses it to conduct illegal cargo transportation. He is the subcontractor of Russian «State Grain Operator» illegally transporting stolen Ukrainian grain (see more details about Tsurkin’s business on newly occupied territories of Ukraine in our investigation «Grain Carrier»).
Collaborating activity of Tsurkin has not yet been properly evaluated by the Ukrainian law enforcement bodies. Perhaps, the problem is with definition of territorial jurisdiction as his transit business covers large territories from Crimea to newly occupied regions.
Former Ukrainian military and police, «people of Razvozhaev» etc.
Below is an overview of other participants of Russian «primaries». They also deserve indictments for collaboration with Russian occupants, organization of illegal «referendum» and «elections» on occupied territories.
Vladyslav Viktorovych Ascheulov (born on 14.02.1982) is an active participation of the Russian occupation of Crimea. He is the «deputy head of the department of the ministry of property rights and land relations» of occupation administration of Zaporizhzhia region. The «ministry» is involved into «nationalization», i.e. expropriation of assets of Ukrainian citizens. Lawyer by education, Ascheulov started his professional career as police man in Simferopol. In 2006, he switched to entrepreneurial activity.
He supported so-called «Crimean Spring». His application indicates that he received medals «For the protection of Crimea»; he is an assistant of «member of State Council of Crimea» Oleksandr Shuvalov (Aksyonov’s quota) and co-founder of non-governmental organization «Sosluzhivets» [Fellow], involved into so-called patriotic training, i.e. propaganda and brainwash of Crimean youth. He actively raises funds for the Russian military.
The acitivity of Yulia Vasilyevna Gubanova has been investigated by the CJI. She came to Sevastopol from Russia with «governor» Mikhail Razvozhaev. She managed intermediary company to launder budgetary resources in Sevastopol.
Gubanova holds several positions in occupied Zaporizhzhia region: the head of occupation Yakymivka administration and the «minister» of construction, architecture and municipal economy. Before March 2023, she has managed the «ministry of transport». In 2023, she received the status of participant of the Russian «special military operation» and medals from Russian occupation authorities in Zaporizhzhia region and the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation.
Sergey Viktorovich Konoplyov has been appointed as the head of occupation «military civil administration» of Melitopol raion at the beginning of May 2023. He submitted application for «primaries» of «United Russia» as the head of department of municipal economy and services. He worked in similar department in occupied Sevastopol.
Konoplyov is the former army officer and policeman. He graduated from the Sevastopol military maritime engineering school, served in the Soviet army and before 1995 – in the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. It is very surprising that, being the Russian citizen, he served in the Ukrainian police and Ukrainian authorities in Sevastopol! In March 2023, he has been sent to occupied Melitopol.
Petro Vasylyovych Zhygailov (born on 15.02.1963) has been appointed as Konoplyov’s first deputy in April 2023. He is also running for elections in occupied Zaporizhzhia region.
In Sevastopol, he worked as the head of transport department of LLC «Blagoustroistvo goroda Sevastopolya» and director on general issues of «State budgetary company «Sevastopolsky avtodor».
From May to December 2022, Zhygailov has been «coordinator of integration of new territories into the legal framework of the Russian Federation» on occupied territories of Luhansk region.
Several Crimean entrepreneurs also would like to participate in illegal «elections» on occupied territories of Zaporizhzhia region.
Shevket Aiderovych Bekirov (date of birth is 31.08.1985) is the «member of Bakhchysarai city council», member of «United Russia» and private entrepreneur (beauty and hairdressing salons). He openly supports the Russian invasion and the Russian Armed Forces in social media.
«Since the beginning of the «special military operation» I has supported soldiers of the Russian army and deliver any assistance to our military men and their families. We will support soldiers of the Russian army in the future», as notes Bekirov in the social media.
Oleksandr Yuriyovych Novak was born in Gorlivka on May 3, 1983. In accordance with his application, he has worked as policeman in Crimea for ten years. Then, he worked in Crimean organizations subordinated to «the Ministry of Fuel and Energy». Since 2022, he has been regional representative of JSC «Pervaya Torgovaya Kompania» [First Trade Company], registered in Moscow and managed by Crimean resident Volodymyr Sagaidak (the latter is the former business partner of Crimean ex-minister of resorts Oleksandr Liev).
Primary elections of «United Russia» are illegal and violate International humanitarian legislation and Ukrainian legislation. Like forced Russian passportization, these «elections» are called upon to legitimize the Russian occupation and illegal annexation of Ukrainian territories.