The Russian invaders seized the building of the Kherson branch of the Public Television and the TV tower as soon as they entered the city – on March 2. The armed Russian military turned off surveillance cameras and checked the bomb shelter, which then held 15 people. Luckily, they were released the same day. Journalists have not had access to the premises since then, but continue to work remotely.
On March 3, stretch marks were seen around the perimeter around the captured building. In a video posted online, locals warn people as the stretch marks are easy to miss.
After the premises were under the control of the invaders, they took up their usual business – robbery. From the offices of the employees of the branch, the Russian military carried out absolutely all computers and any equipment worthy of the attention of marauders.
Such a conclusion can be drawn because nothing from the new technology and equipment was included in the plot filmed by the propagandists in the Public Building. Russian propagandists convince viewers that the workers of the Public Society stole their equipment and left their audience in a complete information vacuum. But this is a complete lie.
According to Mikhail Svarychevsky, branch manager, the video shows outdated and decommissioned equipment that was in the basement, as well as a studio that was used as a warehouse.
“According to the norms of the law, we must write off this equipment, the write-off process was slow. And so the equipment was just in the warehouse, ”says Svarichevsky.
He also says that the employees of the branch saw how, in the first days, the Russian military drove a truck to the branch from the side of Perekopsky Street and carried out the stolen equipment.
“These were cameras, audio and video equipment, work computers, editing stations. We can say, according to eyewitnesses, literally in the first days of the occupation, trucks drove up near our building, this equipment was loaded and simply taken out,” Svarichevsky says.
On May 16, the occupiers kidnapped Aleksey Vorontsov, an engineer in the Kherson branch of the Public. Fortunately, the husband returned home on May 21, his wife said.
Now, on the basis of the captured shopping mall, another information dump is being created, which will distribute propaganda and be called Tavria. The invaders are already looking for employees for this structure by placing an ad in the media.
Oleg Kryuchkov, general producer of the TV and radio company “Krym” and at the same time adviser on information policy of the Gauleiter of Crimea Sergey Aksyonov, reported that the occupation authorities of Crimea intend to help the commandant’s office of the Kherson region create a new regional TV channel.
In the meantime, in the process of content production and for the new occupied territories, conditionally Crimean media workers are involved.
They justify Russian aggression, lie that Ukraine has abandoned its citizens and now only Russia will help them, cover the voyages of Russian top officials and their Crimean apostates, who have special plans for the resources of the southern territories.
Creating a platform for propaganda
One of the key tasks of all the resources that have emerged around the occupied Kherson region and the Zaporozhye region is to be a platform for collaborators from the occupation administration and a source of dissemination of information that Russia needs.
On May 14, a telegram channel of the Kherson24 project was created, where news produced by the editors of Krym24 began to appear. Later, Zaporozhye was added to the name of the channel. One of the first widespread videos was a benefit performance by Kherson collaborators from the so-called Salvation Committee, where the future Gauleiter of Kherosonshchyna Volodymyr Saldo and his deputy Kirill Stremousov lit up.
On April 18, the first news release appeared, produced by the Krym TV company for distribution in the territory of Kherson, where Russian channels seized all the television space. For several days, the presenters read the news using video from the network. And on April 23, the work of the propagandists was announced on the first Russian channel and the first produced own story was shown.
On the website of the TRC Crimea, in the section where the regional subdivisions on the peninsula are listed, there was a bookmark of Kherson and Zaporozhye. It is on the basis of “Krym24” that daily evening news releases are produced under the logo “Kherson and Zaporozhye24”.
Film crews of the Crimean TV channel are constantly working on the territory of the occupied south. And the first story appeared in the first hours of the Russian invasion. Semenyuk, a journalist, worked in the pool of journalists who were traveling in the convoy of the Russian army. The first inclusion is from the border with the Rostov region.
Who is in charge of producing content that justifies Russian aggression, propagates a war against Ukraine, incites discord among Ukrainians, and promotes Russian narratives in the occupied territories of the south?
ANO “Teleradiocompany Crimea” as a legal entity is headed by Vadim Pervykh. This is a Crimean journalist who started as a host of the Leader radio company. In 2016, he was appointed deputy of the so-called Minister of Information and Communications of Crimea. And in April 2020, he headed the Crimean television company, fully controlled by Russian structures.
The general producer of the Krym TV and Radio Company is Oleg Kryuchkov, a well-known propagandist and concurrent adviser to the “head of Crimea” Aksyonov.
Prior to the occupation of Crimea, Kryuchkov combined work in the Russian television company NTV and the Ukrainian Novy Kanal. Since then, he has had a scandalous reputation due to the spread of obvious fakes and narratives of the Russian special services. It was Kryuchkov who, in the first days of the occupation of Crimea, helped traitors and occupiers to equip an information center in the captured state-owned Krym shopping mall.
As an adviser to Aksyonov, Oleg Kryuchkov voices statements that should create the attitude that Russia needs from the inhabitants of the occupied territories towards what is happening. The main trick: Ukraine is to blame for all the troubles.
Now about those who directly produce content about the occupied territories by order of Russian officials and special services.
Daria Safonova, editor-in-chief of the Krym24 TV channel, which now includes Kherson and Zaporozhye.
Former surname Koshelenko. At the beginning of the 2000s, she left Russia for Crimea with her future husband, Alexander Safonov. According to some reports, in order to obtain Ukrainian citizenship, she entered into a fictitious marriage with a Crimean cameraman. Together with Safonov, Koshelenko filmed stories for Ukrainian and Russian TV channels. By the time of the occupation of Crimea, they were correspondents for the TV channel “Ukraine”, and Alexander also worked part-time at the STRC “Crimea”.
Daria Safonova is a participant in a corruption scandal: in February 2014, the Republican Information Center Crimea paid her company 217.5 thousand hryvnias for a 30-second image video about Sudak dedicated to the 1800th anniversary of the city.
Dmitry Mikhailov directly manages the production of propaganda content for the new territories of Ukraine occupied by Russia. He is the editor of the Kherson24 project.
Considering Dmitry’s position, it is through him that all fakes and manipulations created by propagandists for viewers of the occupied south and Crimea pass. The stories from the “liberated territories” are also in demand on Russian channels.
The real name of Dmitry is Koksharov. A citizen of Ukraine, originally from Odessa, graduated from the Odessa Mechnikov National University. Until 2014, Koksharov earned money by organizing jousting fights – he was a reenactor and, in particular, headed the organizing committee of the Steel League fencing tournament.
One of the founders of this league was Boris Yemets, the ex-director of the Odessa TV channel ATV, which belonged to the head of the pro-Russian Rodina party, Igor Markov. Yemets also headed the Odessa organization “Russian Unity” of Sergei Aksenov, so in March 2014 he moved to the Crimea. And he headed the Krym TV and Radio Broadcasting Company. So the appearance of Koksharov on the Crimean television company is quite natural.
In 2018, the Russians, in some detour, dragged a whole group of propagandists from Crimea to the OSCE conference on the human dimension. They were not allowed to speak at the panel discussion on freedom of speech, so Koksharov tried to attack the Ukrainian participants, well-known media experts, in a provocative “Skabeev” style.
Soldiers of the information troops
Now let’s move on to those who directly produce propaganda materials – correspondents and cameramen, fighters of the aggressor’s information army.
“There is an epiphany for the locals. They understand that a special operation is a liberation from lies, liberation from fascism and Bendera lawlessness, work, brothers – we are working, ”says correspondent Yuri Avdeev in one of his stories.
These words of his are a vivid example of justifying Russia’s armed aggression against Ukraine. This is punishable under Article 436-2 of the Criminal Code.
Avdeev is a citizen of Ukraine, worked as a journalist on the Crimean TV channels, in the press services, for some time in the political parties of Aksenov – Russian Unity.
In the story about the export of stolen or bought for a penny of agricultural raw materials from the south. And about the joy of Russian Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin that now he will eat Kherson tomatoes more often.
One of the brightest materials of the propagandist Avdeev is again about the branch of the Public Television. The plot is saturated with the theses of Russian temniks – about the Ukrainian Nazis, the ban on the Russian language and other nonsense.
“Nazi ideology was aggressively pressed into the public consciousness. However, for the liberated territories this nightmare was already in the past,” he said.
Sergei Rudenko is another permanent correspondent for the Krym TV channel in the occupied territories. Among his stories are stories about the filtration measures of the Russian military. The purpose of such materials is to demoralize people who are ready to resist the invaders in the occupied territories.
Correspondent of the Crimean television company Margarita Semenyuk came to Crimea from distant Yugra, that is, Khanty-Mansiysk, which is located 3,600 kilometers from Simferopol.
Together with cameraman Alexander Smychek, Margarita Semenyuk was one of the first to visit the new occupied territories, and together with the fighters of the National Guard. Of course, with a humanitarian purpose.
Another correspondent is Elena Noskova. In one of the stories, he talks about how the collaborators plan to use the squeezed-out printing house in Kherson.
The task of Russian propagandists is to convince the population that Ukraine seems to have left them, and the Russian regime has come forever. For this, lies are being spread about the flight of the Ukrainian military, disconnection of communications, and so on.
In fact, the Armed Forces of Ukraine are approaching Kherson and Melitopol, Ukrainian missiles are already finishing off Novaya Kakhovka, where they recently destroyed an enemy ammunition depot. But it is important to record the criminal actions of both collaborators and soldiers of the information troops, because they are also weapons of mass destruction in the war between Russia and Ukraine.