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How Dmitry Tymchuk Broke the Russian Blogosphere

Russian bloggers not sure what to make of Dmitry Tymchuk (pictured on the laptop). Images mixed by author.

Russian bloggers not sure what to make of Dmitry Tymchuk (pictured on the laptop). Images mixed by author.

Dmitry Tymchuk is many things. He claims to have traveled on “official assignments” to Iraq, Kosovo, and Lebanon. He identifies himself as a colonel in the Ukrainian army reserve. Since 2008, he has been chief editor of flot2017.com, a website that lobbies for the expulsion of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet from Sevastopol. According to Tymchuk’s Facebook profile, he has also served as director of the “Center of Military-Political Research” in Kiev for the past six years.

Earlier this year, he and other officers in the army reserve created a group called “InfoResist,” regularly reporting and commenting on events in Ukraine’s turbulent southeast. “InfoResist” doesn’t yet have its own website (though another group promptly hijacked the name and Web address). (April 25 update: Tymchuk's InfoResist now does have its own, Russian-language website.) So far, Tymchuk publishes InfoResist’s many news bulletins to his personal Facebook page, where he has an astounding 77,420 followers. (Two months ago, he had half as many followers.) Since March 2014, the newspaper KyivPost has published nearly forty of his articles (translated into English by the group Voices of Ukraine). Two days ago, the Huffington Post published a translation of Tymchuk’s “dispatch from Donetsk.”

On March 3, 2014, an article by Artem Sannikov appeared on the pro-Russian website Peacekeeper.ru claiming that Dmitry Tymchuk might not be a real person at all. The “Center of Military-Political Research,” it seems, has no website. (Internet searches reveal that an institute with this name does exist, but it belongs, ironically, to the Foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation.) Tymchuk’s Facebook posts, Peacekeeper.ru points out, regularly attract thousands of “shares,” but only a few dozen comments. “Such signs,” Sannikov explains, “usually indicate some kind of artificial inflation.” The article goes on to suggest that Tymchuk’s persona could be part of a larger NATO operation to infiltrate and manipulate online social media.

There is currently a single Wikipedia entry for Dmitry Tymchuk. Written in Russian and already targeted by moderators for deletion, Tymchuk’s Wikipedia page describes him as “a virtual personage of informational war, in whose name anti-Russian pronouncements are published and then cited in the Ukrainian mass media.”

Suspicions about Tymchuk’s identity dovetail with a popular RuNet meme that emerged roughly two months ago, when the online debate about Russia’s absorption of Crimea was especially heated. Commenting on YouTube, a user named Dmitry Kakegotam endorsed a video’s anti-annexation message, writing in the feminine voice, “Believe me! I’m a Crimean woman myself! I’ve lived here for 50 years. I’m the daughter of an officer!” Another user soon responded, “You forgot to log out, Khokhol,” implying that the man had been posting pro-Kiev messages under various false identities. The exchange perfectly captured the widespread suspicion among Russians that nefarious agents are responsible for much of the pro-Ukrainian outpourings online.  

Dmitry Tymchuk, in the flesh. Interview with Hromadske.TV, 27 March 2014, YouTube screen capture.

Dmitry Tymchuk, in the flesh. Interview with Hromadske.TV, 27 March 2014, YouTube screen capture.

Dmitry Tymchuk is, in fact, a real person. His Facebook posts attract so many shares and so few comments because the ability to comment on his posts is restricted to his friends. (He has almost 80 thousand followers, but just 5 thousand friends.) Since Sannikov’s article was published, Tymchuk has appeared in person for several interviews and conferences. When he granted an interview to Ukraine’s premier Internet television station, Hromadske.TV, the host even poked Tymchuk in the arm, to confirm for viewers that he isn’t an Internet phantom invented by NATO.

Tymchuk has been publishing pro-Ukrainian, anti-Russian memos and opinion pieces for nearly six years. In August 2008, when Russia was at war with Georgia, he wrote that Ukraine should study the conflict, in anticipation of facing future Russia aggression. In December 2008, when Ukraine finally withdrew the last of its armed contingent from the multinational force deployed to Iraq, Tymchuk wrote that Ukraine had gained military experience that would be valuable in future conflicts closer to home.

In other words, Tymchuk is your standard patriotic blogger. Certainly more energetic and better informed than the average Internet user, Tymchuk has scribbled away on obscure websites for nearly six years, consistently thrashing what he perceives to be Ukraine’s aggressive neighbor to the east. After annexing roughly four percent of Ukraine’s population, and threatening to “liberate” still more, Russia has made Tymchuk a star of Ukraine’s political scene.

Rather than acknowledge Moscow's role in promoting Tymchuk, some Russian bloggers prefer to blame NATO. Life, after all, is simpler with your head in the sand.

Correction: the original text of this article claimed that KyivPost is responsible for translating Tymchuk's texts into English. In fact, the group Voices of Ukraine produces these translations.
  • Pingback: How Dmitry Tymchuk Broke the Russian Blogosphere | Freedom, Justice, Equality News

  • woloshin

    :D “Dmitry Tymchuk might not be a real person at all”

  • Alexey Belyaev

    Nothing new, same speculation about Georgia, same patriotic vawe.

    Tymchuk maybe a real patriot, who knows? But the most disgusting thing, he uses term “terrorist” to south-east people, while at Ukrainean law this term more atract for Maidan people and actions of new government.
    “Статья 1. Основные понятия В этом Законе приведенные ниже термины употребляются в таком значении: терроризм – общественно опасная деятельность, которая заключается в сознательном, целенаправленном применении насилия путем
    захвата заложников, поджогов, убийств, пыток, запугивания
    населения и органов власти или совершения других посягательств на жизнь или
    здоровье ни в чем не повинных людей или угрозы совершения преступных
    действий с целью достижения преступных целей;
    террористический акт – преступное деяние в форме применения
    оружия, совершение взрыва, поджога или иных действий, ответственность за
    которые предусмотрена статьей 258 Уголовного кодекса Украины. В случае,
    когда террористическая деятельность сопровождается совершением преступлений,
    предусмотренных статьями 112, 147, 258-260, 443, 444, а также
    другими статьями Уголовного кодекса Украины ( 2341-14 ),
    ответственность за их совершение наступает в соответствии с Уголовным
    кодекса Украины; “. Use google tranlsate for understanding.

    • Taras Khomytskyy

      They are terrorist! And I don’t think that you from Barnaul knows better the situation in Ukraine than me living in Ukraine.

      • Serge Kabud

        Where in hell Barnaul is? Those who are in barnaul should mind there own business

        • Ricardo Galvan

          Barnaul is where Putin found Right-Sector’s business card.

      • Alexey Belyaev

        If i said that i know situation well? I told about information and law. If we speaking about terrorism as phenomenon we must use your the law of your country. According to this i told that burning police and taking administrative buildings is. Can you disagree with arguments? I don`t believe no russian reporters nor ukrainean.

        • Ricardo Galvan

          So was Berkut and the Russian Puppet following the law when they were having people kidnapped and beaten, and then, under the direction of the Russian GRU, began shooting at protestors? What do you think started everything, dummy?

          • Alexey Belyaev

            What is for police forces need? Try to resist police in USA and the less thing you got is pain and law punishment, if you have armour you’ll be shooted. If Berkut realy kidnaped somebody – this is only unprofessional.

          • Alexey Belyaev

            So, continue after new facts appeared. You know that Rada made it`s inspection of snipers at Maidan, haven`t read yet?
            Is there some words about Russia, GRU?

      • Alexey Belyaev

        And besides of all i don`t like situation then citizens of country fight with each other. Ukraine has great potential for groving, sad that it has such situation as now.

    • Taras Khomytskyy

      And another one thing, STOP saying south-east. The only one problem we have in Ukraine are terrorist from east not south-east.

      • Serge Kabud

        yes, terrorism sponsored by KREMLIN dictatorship of gangsters and serial killers

    • Serge Kabud

      добрехался кацапчеГ

      this is exactly what is going on:

      STATE(Russian Federation) SPONSORED TERRORISM AGAINS POPULATION AND STATE OF UKRAINE

      ознательном, целенаправленном применении насилия путем
      захвата заложников, поджогов, убийств, пыток, запугивания
      населения и органов власти или совершения других посягательств на жизнь или
      здоровье ни в чем не повинных людей или угрозы совершения преступных
      действий с целью достижения преступных целей;

      regarding Maidan:

      terrorism indeed was happening there, sniper shootings included , kidnappings, murders and many more :

      all done by spetznaz form Russian Federation, their gangster unit known as
      GRU of General Staff

      We will find every single one of them terrorists and annihilate them all

      • Alexey Belyaev

        No proof, just words. Leaders of Maidan agreed that they used guns and Molotov coctails – that is proff.
        з приводу брехательства бажаэш поговорити?

        • Serge Kabud

          Maidan never had leaders. You just have no idea what to say. Go away and continue to suck putin dick

          • Alexey Belyaev

            Realy????
            leaders from the word lead,if you don’t understand simple things -it’s so sad

    • Guest

      Sick Homo Sovieticus will never stop lying. Regarding terrorist, Tymchuk uses proper definition in this case. So just repeat Moscow voice that these ppl are terrorist http://image.zn.ua/media/images/original/Dec2013/79636.jpg

      How many you counted with mask and amos in this pic? How you would call those ppl with kalashnikov on the hands from East Ukraine, who kidnapping journalists and 13th of OSCE watchers? Peaceful citizens? So you mean those pro-russian criminals peacefully killed local young politic Rybak (Рыбак) in Slavyansk. It calls Syndrome of Moral Idiotism. Also there much providence of Russia forces support those terrorist. And you still keep lying son of the Stalin’s bitch? Killers‘ phone conversation youtube.com/watch?v=sA8Co1Sglgs

      Russia face today – it is a nation of total lie!

      Back to Maidan. All the world already know that there were a third side of provocateurs in Maidan. In the beginning there were just several of them. Only few months later, peaceful demonstrates appended their forces with anybody, just to sustain against
      criminal government. Thanks to that, ex government-thieves all gone to Russia
      :) Now, Putin defends criminals, just because they are also Russians. So it is
      nationalist intentions!

      Shame on Putin, shame on Russia, shame on You!

    • Evaldas Pocius

      Sick Homo Sovieticus will never stop lying. Regarding terrorist, Tymchuk uses proper definition in this case. You just repeat Moscow voice that these ppl are terrorist http://image.zn.ua/media/images/original/Dec2013/79636.jpg

      How many you counted with mask and amos in this pic? How you would call those ppl with kalashnikov on the hands from East Ukraine, who kidnapping journalists and 13th of OSCE watchers? Peaceful citizens? So you mean those pro-russian criminals peacefully killed local young politic Rybak (Рыбак) in Slavyansk. It calls Syndrome of Moral Idiotism. Also there much providence of Russia forces support those terrorist. And you still keep lying son of the Stalin’s bitch? Killers‘ phone conversation youtube.com/watch?v=sA8Co1Sglgs

      Russia face today – it is a nation of total lie!

      Back to Maidan. All the world already know that there were a third side of provocateurs in Maidan. In the beginning there were just several of them. Only few months later, peaceful demonstrates appended their forces with anybody, just to sustain against
      criminal government. Thanks to that, ex government-thieves all gone to Russia
      :) Now, Putin defends criminals, just because they are also Russians. So it is
      nationalist intentions!

      Shame on Putin, shame on Russia, shame on You!

      • Alexey Belyaev

        you don’t even mind what terrorism is, I gave you Ukrainean definition of it see above.According to it make suggestion,don’t be a parrot, be clever. Most of ansvered weren’t clever, so weren’t you.And this is my suggestion, but all I read from your brothers in mind, seems like a stupid repost.

  • Alexey Belyaev

    So he is not InfoResist he is InfoShortCut, but as source of information he can be.

    • Serge Kabud

      Since Ukrainian media is 100% SPONSORED: Tymchuk is a creature of the SPONSORS

      • Alexey Belyaev

        Tymchuk is creature of his parents, if we speek about his role in Ukraine situation – he is source of information and part of that people, which can say what is happening and why it’s happening from his point of view

  • Serge Kabud

    I follow events and must say that Tymchuk publications ARE SPREAD throughout all the Ukrainian news channels. Now think about this: in Ukraine there is no commercial mas media: advertisement DOES NOT create any sufficient revenues at all: 100% mass media in UA is SPONSORED from shady sources.

    This means Tymchuk is a creation of THE SHADY SOURCES

    Who is SHADY in UA? The answer is simple of course they are kremlin agents.

    Since it all began I did NOT see even a single original report or blog or article by Tymchuk, based on facts and NOT redundant to OTHER publications

  • KhooyloPtn

    Hey Kevin,
    Just wanted you to hear a sane voice with insider knowledge, beyond all these insane paid trolls on here who will continue puking all over your solid journalism. ;)
    You did a good job on this all round and took a unique perspective on it. Kudos.

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