Documents Found in Borova. Russian Soldiers Identification. Part 4

Ґвара Медіа - 08 March 2023 | 16:39

With the help of documents that Gwara Media journalists found in liberated Borova in Kharkiv Oblast, we could confirm the participation of an elite unit of special forces of the National Guard of Russia in the occupation of Kharkiv Oblast. In the fourth part, we tell you about nine more de-anonymized occupants of this unit.

What is known so far? 

In a small warehouse in the very center of the village of Borova, the occupiers left the distribution/delivery records of fuel and lubricant materials of military unit 6832.

Thanks to the information, we discovered that the 28th special forces unit, “Ratnik,” had been in Ukraine for about six months and had prepared for the invasion since at least Feb. 21.

The “Ratnik” is an elite unit that participated in almost every invasion campaign of the Russian government after the USSR collapsed.

“Ratnik” Special Forces Unit

We noticed the identified special forces men to have common features: they do not hide their affiliation with the invading army and their friendship with each other.
It allowed us to continue the search for the military personnel using the information we had already found.

Identification of Russian servicemen

Let’s start our identification with Andrii Ozyhin.

Ozyhin A.L.

On his page on “Odnoklassniki” [Russian network service owned by VK, formerly Group – ed.] in 2009, the occupier actively shared details of his personal life, photos from his military service, and wedding day.

However, since Nov. 7, 2016, the Odnoklassniki network was no longer attractive to Ozyhin, and he moved to VK [VKontakte, a Russian online social media and social networking service based in Saint Petersburg – ed.], under the fake name of Andrii Andriiev.

Andrii Andriiev. Screenshot from Ozyhin’s personal page on VK

This account shows a photo of older Andrii Ozyhin and his wife. But unfortunately, we could not see the posts on the personal page.

Among Andrii Ozyhin`s friends, we found another Russian serviceman who was in Kharkiv Oblast, Ihor Shelyhin.

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Ihor Shelyhin also has Fedor Zimbakhtin and Selieverstov among his friends in VK, who were mentioned in the last part of the investigation. His name also appears in the documents we found in Borova.

Shelyhin`s name in the document

Shelyhin does not stand out from other soldiers in any way. Like other servicemen of the unit, he likes fishing, underwater fishing, and hunting. On his page, one can find relevant photos.

One can also see memes, photos, and selections of communities dedicated to hunting.

The military man is also an admirer of the “strong Russia” army groups and those that support armed aggression against Ukraine.

In 2010, Shelyhin shared a photo in a military uniform with the previously identified Zimbakhtin standing next to him.

It, firstly, means their military experience is more than 10 years. Secondly, it once again proves the close connection between the special forces.

It is also worth mentioning that Shelyhin involves his children in activities related to military celebrations. There are his son and daughter in these photos:

The photo was taken on Aug. 2, when Russia celebrates Airmobile Troops Day.
Shelyhin took and published a photo with another identified serviceman, Oleh Popov. Popov is a professional military man who graduated from the Military Academy of Communication of Marshal of the Soviet Union S.M. Budenny.

On his page on social media, Popov shares a photo from 2018, where a chevron with the name “combat unit of the special forces unit of the Ministry of Internal Affairs” is visible. It should be noted that this chevron is not linked to a specific unit but indicates the connection to special forces.

The photo of the online shop with the same chevron. 

Roman Boikov is the next de-anonymized Russian soldier of the 28th special forces “Ratnik” unit. His name can be found in the documents of the occupation army and in the list of friends of other Russian soldiers: Zimbakhtin, Selieverstov, and Shelyhin.

“Boikov R.” in the document

Boikov has a higher education, which he is proud of, as he shared publicly on his page.

In addition to information about his education, the soldier’s page contains 90s music, math theory, and English grammar.

In 2014 he published posts supporting the Russian regime on social media, but in 2016, posts with opposing views could be seen.

Screenshot of Boikov`s social media page. “Repost at your own risk. Let’s see how many brave ones are here. Article 23 1. Everyone shall have the right to the inviolability of private life, personal and family secrets, and the protection of honor and good name. 2. Everyone shall have the right to privacy in correspondence, telephone conversations, postal, telegraph, and other messages. Limitations of this right shall be allowed only by court decision. Article 24 1. The collection, keeping, use, and dissemination of information about the private life of a person shall not be allowed without his or her consent. The Constitution of the Russian Federation 1993 – 2016”

It is worth paying attention to a common feature: such memes also appear on other identified individuals` social media, but only before 2017. We can assume that after that, they started following certain directives and rules regarding social media management. However, it is only an assumption.

Since 2016, any kind of political discussion disappeared from Boikov`s page. Since then, Roman has been an exemplary father, family man, and military man.

We found the next military invader Yevhenii Kryvopolinov among Boikov’s friends.

“Kryvopolinov Y.B.” in the document

On Kryvopolinov’s page, which has already been deleted, there are also various military-related posts and many thematic community subscriptions.

Judging by the photos, in 2014, Kryvopolinov was proud of his access to special equipment, as he took all personal photos exclusively next to cars.

Let’s move to the next serviceman – Ivan Istomin.

Istomin`s name in the document

Ivan Istomin is a petition connoisseur.

On his page, we see calls to sign petitions against QR codes, COVID-19 vaccination, vaccination of children, and to our surprise, against mobilization.

Istomin published the post supporting the petition on Sept. 26. That is when his unit had already returned to the Russian Federation (we previously proved that the unit left Ukraine on Aug. 12).

“Against mobilization. Please support the petition“

Let’s pay attention to the fact that just in one year, the serviceman`s views changed from a mocking attitude towards the “United Russia” leading party to a total support of Russian external aggression and, therefore, the ruling party’s policy.

Ivan Istomin liked: 04.10.22 “Ukrainian soldiers wanted to laugh at “stupid Russian Soviet supporters.” But the wave of posts with this heroic older woman shows they were mistaken! In fact, they have just created a new symbol of our Bravery, Courage, and Honor!”
Ivan Istomin liked: 08.13.21 “Dear United Russia agents. We sincerely ask you not to enter our house! You won’t find any support here! Your party has long turned everyone against you by approving retirement reform and increasing utility bills, VAT, etc. Keep on helping Ukraine, Syria, and others. Don’t waste your time on the citizens of the Russian Federation. We will manage ourselves.”

One can also find photos from Istomin’s family vacation on his page. He actively involved his sons in attending the shooting range or visiting museums related to the period of the USSR and the Second World War.

The next Ratnik soldier can also be found in documents and the other servicemen`s friends lists

“Fefilov I.” in the document

Fefilov graduated from the same university as Boikov, and they are friends on social media.

Fefilov’s page also demonstrates his offspring`s “patriotic upbringing”.

Mykola Nieronov, who also serves in the unit, is a friend of the previously identified Shelyhin. Nieronov is also present in the found documents.

Nieronov`s name in the documents

Like most of his colleagues, Nieronov does not hide his status. He has a thematic profile photo on the Odnoklassniki social media page.

Occupant Nieronov does not share information on his VK page. However, we noticed that out of 14 known occupiers, at least 6 have him as a friend.

Another identified Vasyl Dumin shows that the soldiers of the 28th special forces unit “Ratnik” do not hide.

In his profile picture on social media, Dumin is dressed in a military uniform and wears a beret with a Soviet star, traditional for Russians.

The conclusion

Thanks to the information found by Gwara Media journalists in Borova, we identified 15 soldiers of the elite special forces unit of the National Guard of Russia who were in the territory of Kharkiv Oblast and were supposed to capture it.

While looking for military personnel of this particular unit, we were repeatedly convinced of the close connection of special forces: they hunt together, study, and their children are friends.

All this confirms that the “Ratnik” unit is not just a group of soldiers but a coherent unit with a common ideology.

We hope this data will make it possible to bring the Russian military to justice. For their part, Gwara Media fact-checkers will collect as much Russian military`s personal data as possible to help the investigation if necessary.

Translated by Alisa Yarova

Edited by Tetiana Fram

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