Pavlo Lakiichuk

Deputy Editor-in-Chief of quarterly “Black Sea Security”,

Director on information programs of the “NOMOS”Centre in 2003-2014,

Expert of the Centre for Global Studies “StrategyXXI”

(Kyiv, Ukraine)

2016, November 9thor Pre-war Memories about Colleagues and Friends

Foto 2. Volodymyr Dudka, Oleksii Bessarabov, Dmytro Shtyblikov (fromleft to right)

In a pre-war period, this date was associated for meonly with the “second day” of Shtyblikov’s Birthday. DmytroShtyblikov, my colleague from the “NOMOS” Centre, Director oninternational programs of the Centre, Assistant Editor of “BlackSea Security” magazine. On November 9, 2016 the FSB of the RFpublished an announcement that “a subversive terrorist group of theMinistry of Defense of Ukraine, involved in preparation of subversiveacts on the military objects in Crimea was detained in Sevastopol”.Dmytro Shtyblikov, Oleksii Bessarabov and Volodymyr Dudka formed sucha group. My purpose in writing this article therefore is to tell youmore about my friends and former colleagues from the pre-warSevastopol life.

Dima Shtyblikov was born on November8, 1970 near Сhita. Later his parents moved to Crimea. He lived withhis mother in Yevpatoria, studied with his future wife Olena in the8thSchool. After school, he chose a military career, graduated from theKyiv High Military Command School. After collapse of the USSR, he wasappointed in the newly formed 32nd Army Corps in Crimea. His militarycareer passed on the peninsula. In 2004, he discharged for medicalreasons. Dmytro was severelyinjured as a conscript had not properly fired from the grenadelauncher, so Dima had to discharge a weapon and a projectileexploded. He became a handicapped person with injured head, asplinter under his heart and a mutilated hand. However, a Caplan Jewhad excellent brains! Analytic was his talent.

Before the occupationof Crimea by Russia, he worked in the “NOMOS” Centre as amilitary expert, then became a director of the internationalprograms. He was an active contributor to Ukrainian, Russian andWestern media, worked under the scientific study on the internationallaw aspects of counter-terrorism, took part in conferences inUkraine, Russia and South Caucasus states.

Together with Dmytroand other colleagues, we set the “NOMOS” Centre on its feet, itwas a unique non-governmental think tank with a long official name –Sevastopol Centre for Assistance to the Geopolitical Problems andEuro-Atlantic Cooperation of the Black Sea Region Studies. In fact, aphrase “assistance to Euro-Atlantic cooperation” in the name ofthe Centre had itself supposed for its experts a special case-file in the Russian Black Sea Fleet headquarters even in pre-war period,so after the occupation of the peninsula it was a label of “NATO’sabode”. With Dmytro as an assistant editor we published the firstissues of «Black Sea Security», looked for authors, wrote articles,edited, imposed…During round table discussions and conferences,Dima didn’t give a break to manipulators and duffers – neitherRussian, nor Armenian, Azerbaijanian or any else. For these reasons,he was respected by colleagues and partners not only in Ukraine, butalso overseas. He was invited to forums in Moscow, Tbilisi, Yerevan,and Istanbul.

Asfar back as in 2008, Dmytro predicted results of the Russian policyin the Black Sea region. His article in “Black Sea Security” No.10 of 2008 had eloquent title “Russian-Georgian Conflict. WillUkraine be the next?” He clearly understood what was going on inspring 2014, and made his conscious choice.Instead of the further career of expert in the free country, “onland” as they say in Crimea, he chose family care in occupation.But what about work? Any work is honorable for a decent man, - hesaid. If there is no other work, then I will be a yard-keeper or acoal-heaver…I don’t know how he survived these three horribleyears, but I know for sure he remained decent and honest man.

Foto 3. Dmytro Shtyblikov in the family circle: with his daughter Tetyana –a future architect, his brother Oleksii and a nephew (Source - Facebook)

I remember Lesha Bessarabov as a cadet of NakhimovSevastopol Naval Institute. He graduated in 1999 and served in Odessain the Western region, then in Sevastopol – in the headquarters ofthe Marine Forces of Ukraine. In Odessa, he began to publish hisarticles in the "Sudokhodstvo" journal. Journalism was hishobby, which later became a profession. Having picked up a stomachulcer, he was released from the Armed Forces for health reasons in2008. Oleksii obtained bachelors degree in the Institute ofJournalism of Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv. Weinvited him to work in "NOMOS" but he agreed to becomedeputy editor of the "Black Sea Security." Publication ofthe magazine was to him. In addition, Bessarabov as a creativeperson, was a correspondent of the Kyiv authoritative media“Glavred”. Oleksii Striletsky - that was his creative pseudo,rendered topical materials and picture stories.

He is a native habitant of Sevastopol, whose familyroots stretched somewhere from Novgorod, had grown up in theindependent Ukraine and loved it as his motherland. After occupation,he had no choice as he had family and old mother in Crimea…As manyothers, who had stayed on the peninsula as on the native Ukrainianland.

Being a talented journalist andsystematic analyst, Oleksii loved and knew perfectly his native citySevastopol. My wife and me felt it while visiting the city. Thanks toOleksii, Sevastopol showed us not only its tourist face, but also itsreal face – a friendly, warm, sunny and joyful one”, – mentioned thewell-known Ukrainian journalist Volodymyr Kravchenko, a columnist ofthe weekly “Dzerkalo Tyzhnya. Ukraine”.

Dmytro Shtyblikov and Oleksii Bessarabov were arrestedby the Russian FSB and accused of preparing sabotage and terroristacts. The paradox and irony - the authors of numerous publicationsand analytical materials aimed at consolidating the internationalcommunity in the fight against terrorism, were accused of terrorismby the regime that, in the words of Alexander Litvinenko, underminedRussia.

I should mention here another person, third ‘Crimeanterrorist and saboteur’ - Volodymyr Dudka. He has never been anemployee of the “NOMOS” or contributor to the "Black SeaSecurity", but he was a critical and meticulous reader. Hewas also my friend, so without his story this article will beincomplete.

Volodymyr Mykhailovich Dudka is from Sumy. He graduatedfrom Kaliningrad High Marine School several years earlier than me,served in the Black Sea Fleet in Myrnyi on Donuzlav. After thedivision of the USSR Black Sea Fleet, he went on service to theMarine Forces of Ukraine, was a captain of the “Simferopol”.Then, when his own ship was put on "an eternal anchor" atthe plant, V. Dudka served in the Navy headquarters in theoperational shift at the command post. After retirement in 2009,worked as an engineer for safety in mobile units of the UkrainianEmergency Ministry, accomplished demining of the Inkerman galleriesand places of fighting of the World War II period on MeckenzievMountains in Crimea. After annexation, the demining program wasclosed by the occupational authority. He didn’t move to hismotherland in Sumy as in Sevastopol he was closely tied to his onlysun’s family, whom he brought up alone. All his free time hedevoted to his grandchild…

Foto 4. Volodymyr with his granddaughter(Source - the family archive)

The detention and arrest on false charges of thewell-known in expert circles analysts from the “NOMOS” Centrecannot be interpreted in any other way as Kremlin’s revenge fortheir analytical and journalistic activity in Sevastopol and Crimeabefore occupation. In addition, after the FSB had disgraced itselfwith fake news about "August saboteurs" – Panov, Zahtiy,Suleymanov, – the Crimean FSB service had been tasked to findsomething more "elegant". Executors were found quickly fromamong the traitors and collaborators of the SBU. The motive was toavoid an assignment to distant regions of the RF and to show theirirreplaceability exactly in Crimea. Therefore, for the legend of"subversive and terrorist group" Dmytro Shtyblikov andOleksii Bessarabov aptly suited - both former officers, both worked“for NATO” in “NATO's abode”, called “NOMOS”, andpublished “anti-Russian” “Black Sea Security” magazine.Volodymyr Dudka, engaged in the demining works in the past,organically complemented a group, as two terrorists, spies andsaboteurs – is not enough. In such a way, the Crimean KGB menfabricated one more wave of “Ukrainian saboteurs” for the sake oftheir Moscow chiefs.

However, the phoniness of the falseFSB story with the "Crimean terrorist saboteurs" has beenclear for any unbiased observer. I personally, as any Ukrainian, donot believe in the generosity of NKVD-KGB-FSB system and the justiceof Russian Themis. We have seen this in the cases of Sentsov,Kolchenko, Semena, Sushchenko and many other Kremlin’s prisonersfrom Crimean Tatars. Only an international publicity will acceleratefreedom for Dmytro Shtyblikov, Oleksii Bessarabov and VolodymyrDudka.

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