How illegal transport and financial business in occupied territories of Ukraine relates to the head of the State Rear Operator SE

How illegal transport and financial business in occupied territories of Ukraine relates to the head of the State Rear Operator SE

Is the head of the State Rear Operator, which is state enterprise under the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine, Arsen Zhumadilov still involved the illegal transport and financial business in the occupied territories? 

Here below we publish the investigation of Ukrainian activist and human rights defender Oleksandr Aronets, which was posted a few days ago on censor.net.

From Skadovsk to Moscow and back to the Ministry of Defense

It seems shocking, but the topic of the presence of Russian passports in the families of Ukrainian high-ranking officials continues to pop up in the information space at the end of the second year of the full-scale war.

Every time it causesquite a scandal.

Public indignation is understandable: after all, in addition to the audacious immorality of having citizenship of a country that kills Ukrainians every day, questions arise: which country does the top official work for - his own, or the one where his family's "spare airfield" is located? Two recent examples are: the ex-deputy head of the National Police, Dmytro Tyshlek, whose wife and mother-in-law were found to have Russian citizenship, and  the head of the newly created State Rear Operator Arsen Zhumadilov, who, after being appointed to the position, admitted that his wife had Russian citizenship.

Both officials were in no hurry to resign. However, the Ministry of Internal Affairs still ordered an internal investigation, during which Tyshlek was suspended from duty. Although he has returned to duty after the investigation, he is no longer coordinating and directing the activities of criminal police units. On December 19, it became known that Tyshlek wrote a report on dismissal from his position and informed that he was waiting for receiving the results of the official investigation by the SBI and the NAPC.

At the same time, the Ministry of Defense did not react to the scandal with Zhumadilov. It neither ordered an internal investigation nor suspended the official from duty or applied to the SBI and the NAPC.

Actually, the leadership of the ministry did not comment on the situation at all. It looks strange, given, firstly, the significance of Zhumadilov's position (because the agency must have full control over the supply of non-lethalwepons to the AFU), and

secondly, the fact that, unlike Tyshlek, whose family received Russian citizenship in the early aughts, Zhumadilov's wife, according to him, received a Russian passport in the spring of 2021.

Only Zhumadilov personally commented on the situation. First – in the posts on his Facebook page, then - in an official response to the request from well-known journalist Dmytro Tuzov.

Zhumadilov’s response is that his wife was visiting her relatives who remained in the territory of occupied Crimea. According to Zhumadilov, the reason for obtaining a passport was that "representatives of the occupation authorities repeatedly prevented" his wife from visiting Crimea, as well as "threatened her, forcing her to receive a passport issued by the aggressor country."

The official noted that his wife's Russian passport is "real" only "in the eyes of the public", while the legislation defines documents issued in the occupied territories as invalid.

The position of the high-ranking official seems contradictory and unconvincing, since the rule about the invalidity of Russian documents was established for Ukrainians who remained in the occupied territories rather than those who visit these territories. 

Yet that begs the question of why after the scandal, the official announced the initiation of the procedure on refusing the Russian passport, if he considers the voluntarily obtained citizenship to be invalid. In addition, the official did not explain which representatives of the Russian authorities put pressure on his wife and why.

The date of obtaining the passport - spring 2021, 7 years after the occupation of Crimea, less than a year before the full-scale invasion - also raises many questions!!!

The period of obtaining the passport coincided with the first escalation by the Russian Federation on the eve of the full-scale invasion, when the Kremlin amassed 28 battalion tactical groups near the Ukrainian borders and in the occupied territories. Arsen Zhumadilov's words about the fact that he himself visited the occupied Crimea during his time in the "public service" (before being appointed to the Ministry of Defense, the official headed the SE "Medical Procurement of Ukraine"), also deserve special attention. The official did not disclose the dates of these visits.

I decided to find out whether only family ties connect the official with the occupied territories. And it turned out that the official's brother probably manages a Russian transport business that operates in the recently occupied territories. And the official himself is involved at least in starting this business. 

But let’s consider everything in order.

The head of the State Rear Operator or the administrator of the Russian carrier?

Arsen Zhumadilov, his wife Sabrina and brother Murat аdministrate the Chongar-Chaplynka-Kalanchak group on Facebook, where since 2015 they started publishing the status of the checkpoint to Crimea and advertising passenger transportation services from/to Crimea, as well as related logistics services. 

Translation.1

Here is Arsen Zhumadilov’s post (dated 2015) with an advertisement of Kyiv-Simferopol transportation services.

Translation: "Arsen Zhumadilov: A car will travel on the Kyiv-Simferopol route next Saturday, July 11. Departure at noon. People, parcels and people with parcels are accepted)
For details - in PM.
"

The official's brother, Murat Zhumadilov, has repeatedly made public comments in the media as an administrator of this Facebook group - for example, here

There is also a post on Murat's brother's Facebook page advertising the services of the Аtlant Service carrier. The owner of the Facebook page of this carrier is also the administrator of the Chongar-Chaplynka-Kalanchak Facebookgroup. 

So, what kind of company is the Atlant Service that is connected with the Zhumadilov brothers?

From its Vkontakte page, you can find out that the company’s "main activity is the organization of passenger transportation in Ukraine, the Russian Federation, the CIS, Poland, Crimea, Georgia, Latvia." And that it is "the leading passenger transportation company in Zaporizhzhia, Kherson regions, and Crimea", founded in 2015, has more than three dozen employees and has transported more than 20,000 passengers. 

It is already interesting, because the message "unites"  the occupied Crimea with the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions - also partially occupied. From this message, it can be understood that the  Atlant Service is positioning itself as the main carrier in the southern Ukrainian territories occupied by Russia. 

Until the end of 2023, one of the two "Atlant Service" websites operated in the Russian domain .su.

The website contained the entire list of regular routes, including from Moscow to the cities of Crimea and the occupied cities of the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions. 

Currently, only the website in the .org domain is operating. Although no trips from Moscow to Enerhodar and Berdyansk are mentioned here, "Nova Kakhovka - Warsaw" is listed among the "popular routes". As you know, Nova Kakhovka is occupied by Russian troops. And the bus route from it to Europe can only go through Crimea and the territory of Russia.

The Atlant Service Telegram group confirmed that the website in the Russian domain belonged to their company, but now "moved" to the .org domain.

But the screen shots do not burn. And all the more detailed information about trips from occupied Ukrainian cities from the Atlant Service website in the Russian domain is available in the Russian Yandex cache, as well as on the Atlant Service Facebook page and the Vkontakte and Telegram pages of the company.

Translation: Atlant Service. Melitopol - Energodar - Berdyansk. Kakhovka - Gola Prystan. Simferopol. Moscow. Warsaw - Berlin - Prague. Kyiv - Lviv - Dnipro. Daily routes.

I don’t think anyone doubts that transportation from occupied Ukrainian cities can be organized only if there is communication with the occupation administrations, and most importantly - with the Russian military and special services. 

It is interesting that in one of its explanatory articles, where Ukrainian citizens are given advice on how to travel through Belarus, the Atlant Service provides  contact phones of the FSB Border Service of the Russian Federation and the FSB hotline as "support".

Who owns the carrier that takes people from the occupied territories to Moscow and back?

The contact phone number provided on the website and in the advertising images of "Atlant Service" is similar to the one that was provided during the registration of the Ukrainian LLC "Crimean Style", which is currently owned by Murat Zhumadilov. Arsen Zhumadilov was the co-owner and director of this company until 2014.

Translation: Atlant Service. mob. +38 050 13 13 999 [comment: Ukrainian mobile operator]. +7 978 013 14 15 [comment: russian mobile operator].
Translation: LLC Crimean Style. Director Zhumadilov Murat Kuatovych. mob. +38 050 13 13 999.

Besides, in his declaration for 2015, Arsen Zhumadilov indicated a Russian phone number as the contact phone ofVasco da Gama LLC registered in Crimea, which is also provided as Murat Zhumadilov's contact phone on Russian websites providing logistics services. For example, here

Translation: 9. Legal entities whose ultimate beneficial (owner) is the subject of the declaration or members of his family. The final beneficiary owner controller: Declares: Surname: Zhumadilov. Name: Arsen. Legal entity: Legal entity name: LLC "Vasco Da Gama". Country of registration of the main office: Ukraine. Adress and contacts of legal entity. Phone number: +79788514799. Address of the legal entity: Autonomous Republic of Crimea. Simferopol.
Translation: State of cargo. ru. Zhumadilov Murat Kuatovych. physical person. Contacts. +7(978)8514799.

Agree, this is a non-trivial approach: a Ukrainian official (then the head of the District State Administration in the Odesa region) provides a Russian phone number as a contact for his business.

The Atlant Service company is most active in its Тelegram groups, where it shares posts about  consultations of the company's clients regarding border crossing using their Ukrainian passports and Russian passports obtained after the occupation.

At the same time, the group administrators provide Ukrainian men with advice on how to LEAVE!!! for Russia.

But they mostly provide transportation consultations. For example, here is a post by one of the Atlant Service administrators on Facebook and Telegram advertising the company's regular Moscow-Crimea bus route.

Translation: post to Facebook group Chongar - Chaplynka - Kalanchak. Date: July 22, 2022 (after the beginning of the full scale russian invasion) Special offer. Moscow - Crimea.

In another of its Telegram resources, the company clearly shows one of the typical routes from the occupied Ukrainian territories to Moscow, and then to Europe.

Legally, the Atlant Service company's activities, as stated on its website, are carried out by a private entrepreneur from Simferopol, IE Аlyadinov Shamil Alimovich. Accordingly, the company has Russian registration, carries out licensed activities in accordance with the laws of the Russian Federation and pays taxes to the Russian budget.

And this company, which pays taxes to the Russian budget, also operates on the territory of Ukraine and organizes trips from Ukrainian cities to Crimea. The law enforcement officers have to give the answer on what grounds this ishappening.

The illegal money transfer business established by the Atlant Service and advertized on its Facebook page should also be of interest to the law enforcement officers.

Translation: Date: January 2. Crimea help sends advertising massage to the Facebook group "Chongar - Chaplynka - Kalanchak". Money transfers: Ukraine - Crimea - russia. Hryvna - Ruble - US dollar. Transfer assistance. Purchase and exchange $. Safe transaction. Guarantee of reliability.

The advertisement assures us of the possibility of transfers from Ukraine to Russia - safely and with a guarantee. I decided to go ahead and try to transfer money to occupied Luhansk. As it turned out, it is possible. It is necessary to transfer money from a Ukrainian card to a Ukrainian card provided by the operator. And then the "addressee" in Luhansk receives the corresponding amount of money on his Russian card from the operator's Russian card. This is if the amount is "small" like the one I mentioned. And if the amount is bigger, the Atlant Service also transfers it in cash, as the operator informed by voice message. Most likely, the money is taken out by the same buses belonging to the company.

Conversation with the Atlant Service operator 

It probably goes without saying that the above activity is prohibited in Ukraine and falls under Article 258-5 of the Criminal Code - financing of terrorism. After all, it is obvious that the scheme is an illegal channel through which it is possible both to withdraw money from Ukraine and to finance the activities of enemy agents in Ukraine.

 Murat Zhumadilov’s legal status

According to the records in the registers of the local occupation administration, the records in the register of court cases of the Russian Federation and the  photos of Murat's cars in Crimea, he has Russian citizenship and has registered all movable and immovable property in Crimea according to Russian legislation.

Murat Zhumadilov leads an active life and does not hesitate to travel to "picturesque" nooks of Russia and the CIS. In recent years, Murat visited Novosibirsk, Altai, and Kazakhstan.

As evidenced by his brother Arsen’s declaration for 2019, there have been positive changes in Murat's property status. He acquired acquired a house of 110 square meters near Simferopol, the ownership of which was registered in 2018, according to Russian legislation. The right to use the house, as stated in the declaration, was given to the current head of the State Rear Operator, which suggests that he is a co-owner of this house in the Russian registers.

Indirect evidence of Arsen Zhumadilov's visits to Crimea during his time in the civil service are the photos posted by Murat in 2016 and 2021, as well as the photos posted on his wife Sabrina's page in 2020. In turn, Murat Zhumadilov regularly visits Ukraine. This is also illustrated by his photos and posts. For example, together with Arsen in 2015 in Мezhyhirya, in 2016 – in  Kherson, in 2019 – in Kyiv, later he even underwent surgery at the Feofania Clinic in Kyiv.

I suggest that the Ukrainian law enforcement agencies establish how the brothers are related to transportation from/to Ukrainian territories occupied by Russia, illegal money transfers between Ukraine and Russia, as well as between theoccupied territories.  

UKFL

  1. Facebook group print screen: Chongar - Chaplynka - Kalanchak. Administrators ans moderators. Arsen Zhumadilov listed among his brother Marat Zhumadilov and his wife Sabrina Zhumadilova ↩︎
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