Українці в Перемишлі показали речі, які їм вдалося зберегти під час акції «Вісла»

Об’єднання українців Польщі з 28 до 1 травня вшановує 70-ті роковини акції «Вісла» у Перемишлі. Саме з цих теренів східної Польщі у 1947 році польська комуністична влада примусово виселила українців у північно-західні регіони. Загалом рідні домівки і землю тоді змушені були покинути близько 150 тисяч людей.

У неділю, 30 квітня, українці на березі річ Сян у Перемишлі представили акцію «Збірний пункт», де були показані речі, які українські родини зберегли від часу операції «Вісла», – вишивані сорочки, рушники, предмети домашнього вжитку, картини, книжки, зокрема «Кобзар» Шевченка 1932 року видання.

«Мені було вісім років, і пам’ятаю багато. Чому пам’ятаю, бо діє не пам’ять, а травма, яка сидить у голові. При таких нагодах, вшануванні все це пригадуєш…Гута Поруби Березівського повіту, нас звідти було виселено 28 квітня раненько. Гарно світило сонечко. Мама вийшла на подвір’я, ми були в хаті, і мама нам сказала, що військо йде до села. Тоді почути це слово військо, це як струмом по тілу, бо був страх, що буде за 5–10 хвилин. Прийшов військовий і сказав усім дорослим на зібрання…» – пригадує Юліан Бак, який пережив операцію «Вісла».

«Я уже третє покоління українців. Мої тато, бабусі, дідуньо були виселені примусово зі східних теренів. Мені змалку вони розповідали про атмосферу рідного села Волоч, звідки були виселені, там мешкали українці і був український дух. Звідти вирвали всіх і виселили в Любуське воєводство на заході країни. Для мені ці спомини дуже завжди зворушливі, це була травма для рідних на все життя. Я вчитель у польській школі, і мене учні питають, чому я вважаю себе українкою, коли є полькою. Але моя душа українська», – каже Мирослава Тимечко.

Речі, які українці представили на березі Сяну, дуже дорогі для кожного, бо це їхня пам’ять про родину і про їхнє українське походження.

1 травня у Перемишлі українська спільнота продовжить заходи щодо вшанування 70-х роковин акції «Вісла». Люди обговорюватимуть питання української меншини у Польщі, співпрацю з українськими мігрантами, які масово виїжджають до Польщі.

70-ті роковини операції «Вісла» проігнорувала польська влада, провладна партія. Участь у заходах взяли кілька польських інтелектуалів, заступник мера Перемишля, депутати від опозиційної партії «Громадянська платформа».

«Ми налаштовані, що можемо почекати, що політики польські прийдуть і ми будемо розмовляти про наше спільне майбутнє. З нашого боку все робитиметься, щоб зберегти стратегічні відносини з Польщею», – наголосила співголова депутатської групи Верховної Ради України з міжпарламентських зв’язків з Польщею, народний депутат Оксана Юринець.

Guy in Gorilla Costume Finishes London Marathon After 6 Days

An English policeman wearing a gorilla costume while crawling the London Marathon has finally finished the race, almost a week after starting.

 

Metropolitan Police officer Tom Harrison, who goes by the name “Mr. Gorilla,” raised a reported 26,000 pounds ($33,650) for the Gorilla Organization, which is dedicated to conserving gorillas in countries including Rwanda and Uganda.

 

The 41-year-old Londoner started the 26.2-mile (42.2-kilometer) route last Sunday and crossed the finish line on Saturday.

Harrison slept at friends’ houses in the evenings after completing around 10 to 12 hours and 4.5 miles per day. He has swapped between crawling on his hands and knees and up on his hands and feet to save his blistered knees.

He crossed the finish line in central London flanked by his two sons – and beating his chest.

Акторка Меріл Стріп приєдналася до кампанії за звільнення Сенцова – Найєм

Американська акторка, триразова володарка кінопремії «Оскар» Меріл Стріп приєдналася до міжнародної кампанії за звільнення українського режисера Олега Сенцова. Про це 30 квітня повідомив депутат Верховної Ради України Мустафа Найєм, який раніше цього тижня у США відвідав церемонію вручення родині Сенцова премії американського ПЕН-центру імені Барбари Голдсміт «Свобода писати».

За словами Найєма, Меріл Стріп, яка є давнім партнером ПЕН-центру, знала, що серед номінантів премії є засуджений режисер, але не була поінформована про деталі. «Під час недовгого діалогу мені вдалося досить детально розповісти їй про історію Олега Сенцова – про матеріали його справи, про його родину, про Крим, про насильно нав’язане громадянство і двох його дітей, які залишилися на анексованій території», – написав Найєм у Facebook.

Він додав, що наприкінці розмови Стріп сама запитала, «чим ми можемо йому допомогти». «Я… запропонував їй символічно підтримати Олега фотографією з табличкою #FreeSentsov. Вона погодилася без будь-яких застережень. «Тільки знаєте що, давайте разом – хто ж повірить, що я сама придумала цю табличку», – запропонувала акторка», – цитує діалог Найєм.

Американський ПЕН-центр наприкінці березня присудив кримському режисерові Олегу Сенцову щорічну премію «Свобода писати». 27 із 40 переможців премії «Свобода писати» вийшли із в’язниці впродовж 18 місяців з моменту нагородження. Щорічну нагороду Барбари Голдсміт американський ПЕН-центр вручає в’язням сумління, які опинилися в надзвичайно складних обставинах.

Олег Сенцов разом із Олександром Кольченком був затриманий представниками російських спецслужб у Криму в травні 2014 року за звинуваченням в організації терактів на півострові. У серпні 2015 року Північно-Кавказький окружний військовий суд у Ростові-на-Дону засудив Олега Сенцова до 20 років колонії суворого режиму за звинуваченням у терористичній діяльності на території Криму. Кольченко отримав 10 років колонії. Обидва свою провину не визнали.

Правозахисний центр «Меморіал» вніс Сенцова і Кольченка до списку політв’язнів.

VOA Observes Jazz Appreciation Month

April 30 is International Jazz Day, with events and concerts being held throughout the world. It also marks the end of Jazz Appreciation Month in the United States. Sponsored by the National Museum of American History, it’s designed to stimulate and encourage people to participate, study and listen to a genre of music that is uniquely American. Jazz has a storied place in Voice of America’s 75-year history. For 40 years, millions of people worldwide listened to VOA’s Jazz Hour with Willis Conover. During the Cold War, Conover’s programs created a connection to the United States for millions of people living behind the Iron Curtain. Earlier this past week, Voice of America hosted The Frankie Addison Quintet to mark Jazz Appreciation Month and VOA’s part in keeping the free form music genre alive. Enjoy the music.

Українська тенісистка Еліна Світоліна виграла турнір у Стамбулі

Перша ракетка України 22-річна Еліна Світоліна виграла свій третій у поточному сезоні титул.

У фіналі турніру у Стамбулі з призовим фондом 250 тисяч доларів українка переграла 21-річну бельгійку Елізу Мертенс – 6:2, 6:4.

Ця перемога дозволить Світоліній піднятися на одну сходинку в новому рейтингу Жіночої тенісної асоціації. Нині українка є 13-ю ракеткою світу, раніше в цьому сезоні вона входила й до чільної десятки тенісисток планети.

Президент України Петро Порошенко у Facebook відзначив успіх співвітчизниці.

Нині провідні теніситки планети готуються до головного змагання сезону на ґрунтовому покритті – відкритого чемпіонату Франції, який стартує наприкінці травня.

‘The Godfather’ at 45: The Trials, Inspiration Behind the Film

Al Pacino was considered too short, Marlon Brando was required to do a screen test, and director Francis Ford Coppola was almost fired.

The director and cast of The Godfather reminisced Saturday in a 45th anniversary reunion in New York about the trials, perseverance and inspiration that resulted in the Oscar-winning Mafia movies.

Coppola, Pacino, Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton, James Caan, Talia Shire and Robert Duvall watched back-to-back screenings of The Godfather (1972) and The Godfather: Part II (1974) along with an audience of 6,000 on the closing night of the Tribeca film festival.

“I haven’t seen these movies for years,” Coppola said. “I found (watching) a very emotional experience. I forgot a lot about the making of it and thought about the story, and the story used a lot of family and my personal stuff.”

Brando too difficult

The two films won nine Oscars and their tale of how an orphan from Sicily emigrated to the United States at the turn of the 20th century and formed the Corleone crime family became movie classics.

But the film had a less than auspicious start. Coppola recalled that Hollywood studio Paramount wanted to set the movie in the 1970s and make something “cheap and quick.”

Coppola was almost fired several times and met stiff resistance to the casting of Pacino as Michael Corleone and Brando as the titular Godfather.

Brando, who died in 2004, had made several box-office flops after a stellar career in the 1950s and had a reputation for being difficult.

“I was told (by studio executives) that having Brando in the film would make it less commercial than having a total unknown,” Coppola said.

The studio later agreed “if Marlon will do a screen test and do it for nothing and put up a $1 million bond that he wouldn’t cause trouble during the production.”

Brando created the rasping voice, jowly cheeks and oiled hair for Corleone in the screen test. Yet three weeks into shooting, there was more trouble.

“They (the studio) hated Brando. They thought he mumbled and they hated the film. … It was very dark,” Coppola said. Brando went on to win an Oscar for his performance.

Pacino too short

Newcomer Pacino had to screen test “countless times” for the role of Michael, the college-educated son who takes charge of the Corleone business of casinos, gambling and racketeering.

Studio bosses though he was too short and wanted to cast Robert Redford or Ryan O’Neal.

Yet Coppola persevered because “every time I read the script, I always saw his (Pacino’s) face, especially in the scenes in Sicily.”

Pacino said he originally wanted the part of the hot-headed son, Sonny, and thought Coppola “was really nuts” about wanting him to play Michael.

“I thought this is either a dream or a joke … and then started the whole trial of them not wanting me and Francis wanting me,” Pacino recalled. The film launched his career as one of the most honored actors of his generation.

Then some luck

Luck played a part in the creation of some of the most memorable scenes in the two films. The revelation by Corleone’s wife Kay (Keaton) that she had aborted their baby because of horror over her husband’s criminal activities was suggested by Talia Shire (Connie).

And the cat Brando cradles in the opening scene of “The Godfather,” making for a stark contrast with his intimidating presence, was a last-minute addition.

“I put that cat in his hands. It was the studio cat. It was one take,” Coppola said. 

White House Press Corps Dinner More Sober, Less Glitz

The White House press corps gathered Saturday for its annual black-tie dinner, a toned-down affair this year after Donald Trump snubbed the event, becoming the first incumbent U.S. president to bow out in 36 years.

Without Trump, who scheduled a rally instead to mark his 100th day in office, the usually celebrity-filled soiree hosted by the White House Correspondents’ Association took a more sober turn, even as it pulled in top journalists and Washington insiders.

Most of Trump’s administration also skipped the event in solidarity with the president, who has repeatedly accused the press of mistreatment. The president used his campaign-style gathering to again lambaste the media.

“I could not possibly be more thrilled than to be more than 100 miles away,” he told a crowd in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, calling out The New York Times, CNN and MSNBC by name.

‘Not fake news’

In Washington, WHCA President Jeff Mason defended press freedom even as he acknowledged this year’s dinner had a different feel, saying attempts to undermine the media was dangerous for democracy.

“We are not fake news, we are not failing news organizations and we are not the enemy of the American people,” said Mason, a Reuters correspondent.

Instead of the typical roasts — presidents of both parties have delivered their own zingers for years — the event returned to its traditional roots of recognizing reporters’ work and handing out student scholarships as famed journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein presented awards.

“That’s not Donald Trump’s style,” NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell told MSNBC, referring to the self-deprecating jokes presidents in the past have made despite tensions with the press.

Jokes for free speech

Instead, the humor fell to headline comedian Hasan Minhaj.

“We’ve got to address the elephant that’s not in the room,” Minhaj, who plays a correspondent on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, told the crowd. “The leader of our country is not here. And that’s because he lives in Moscow. It’s a very long flight. As for the other guy, I think he’s in Pennsylvania because he can’t take a joke.”

He also joked about Trump, despite organizers’ wishes, saying he did so to honor U.S. constitutional protection of free speech: “Only in America can a first-generation, Indian-American Muslim kid get on this stage and make fun of the president.”

Trump in Pennsylvania

Trump was indeed in Pennsylvania, having scheduled a rally in Harrisburg to mark his 100th day in office. He began his remarks with a lengthy if familiar attack on the news media while dismissing the dinner and its participants.

 

“A large group of Hollywood actors and Washington media are consoling each other in a hotel ballroom in our nation’s capital right now,” Trump said. He added: “And I could not possibly be more thrilled than to be more than 100 miles away from Washington’s swamp, spending my evening with all of you and with a much, much larger crowd and much better people, right?”

Trump became the first president since Ronald Reagan in 1981 to skip the event — and Reagan was recovering from an assassination attempt. 

In a video message, actor Alec Baldwin, who has raised Trump’s ire playing him on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” program also encouraged attendees.

Fewer celebrities

Few other celebrities graced the red carpet, although some well-known Washingtonians, such as former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Republican Representative Darrell Issa of California, appeared.

Trump attended in 2011, when then-President Barack Obama made jokes at the expense of the New York real estate developer and reality television show host.

In an interview with Reuters this week, Trump said he decided against attending as president because he felt he had been treated unfairly by the media, adding: “I would come next year, absolutely.”

In Pennsylvania, Trump told supporters the media dinner would be boring but was noncommittal on whether he would go in 2018 or hold another rally.

Late night television show host Samantha Bee also hosted a competing event — “Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner” — that she said would honor journalists, rather than skewer Trump.

Journalists honored

The WHCA awards and this year’s recipients: 

Aldo Beckman Memorial Award winner: Greg Jaffe of The Washington Post for stories on President Barack Obama’s speeches and policies that contrasted the realities of 2016 with the hopes of 2008. 
Merriman Smith Award winner for outstanding White House coverage under deadline: Edward-Isaac Dovere of Politico for his coverage of the historic meeting between Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro.
Edgar A. Poe Award winner: David Fahrenthold of The Washington Post for stories on Donald Trump’s philanthropic claims.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Polls: Labour Gains Support, Conservatives Still Lead

Three polls Saturday showed a rise in support for the opposition Labour Party, although the governing Conservative Party maintained a commanding lead.

The polls showed the party of British Prime Minister Theresa May remained between 11 and 17 points ahead of Labour, still enough to deliver a clear victory as she seeks a mandate ahead of negotiations over Brexit, set to begin in the summer.

However, the polls showed the gap had closed from leads of up to 25 points reported last weekend.

Labour-Conservative gap

One poll by YouGov showed the Conservative lead over the Labour had fallen to 13 points, compared to the 23 points that the same polling firm found last week.

The YouGov poll for the Sunday Times found that 44 percent were set to back the Conservatives, down from 48 percent last weekend. Support for Labour climbed to 31 percent from 25 percent.

May said April 11 that she would look to hold an election June 8, to secure a mandate for her plan for leaving the European Union.

A further tightening in poll ratings might generate more uncertainty over what Britain’s position will be when it sits down in June to begin negotiations in earnest.

Is Conservative support falling?

However, despite the narrowing gap, pollsters were divided over whether support for the Conservatives was actually falling.

An earlier poll by Opinium showed support for the Conservatives had risen 2 percentage points, but the gap between the biggest parties narrowed nevertheless as Labour boosted their support by 4 percentage points. Smaller parties saw their share of the vote drop.

The smallest gap between the parties was 11 points in a poll by ORB for the Sunday Telegraph. It showed support for the Conservatives at 42 percent, while support for Labour was 31 percent. It was ORB’s first poll on the election since May called the poll last week, and is not necessarily comparable with polls by other firms.

Late-night TV Host Samantha Bee’s Show Briefly Upstages Correspondents’ Dinner

Washington’s once-glitzy “nerd prom” was briefly upstaged Saturday as comedians and Hollywood stars gathered for jokes and jests about President Donald Trump for a tongue-in-cheek event to counter the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

Late-night TV star Samantha Bee pulled in celebrities for the first “Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner'”: Alysia Reiner of “Orange Is the New Black,” Retta of “Parks and Recreation” and Matt Walsh of “Veep.” Bee’s show, a comedic tribute to American news organizations, featured actor Will Ferrell and other guests roasting Trump and his allies.

The star power of the real correspondents’ dinner took a hit this year when Trump declined to attend, the first president since Ronald Reagan in 1981 to skip it. In Reagan’s case, he was recovering from an assassination attempt. Trump did his own counter-programming, scheduling a rally Saturday night in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to mark his 100th day in office.

The absence of the president himself at the WHCA dinner or even officials from the administration seemed to diminish attendance by big names in film, television and sports.

Barack Obama’s humorous remarks had become a highlight at the dinner. Last year, for Obama’s final appearance, the crowd included Will Smith, Emma Watson, Kerry Washington, Helen Mirren and model Kendall Jenner.

For years, the event offered Washington’s press corps an opportunity to wear black tie and stunning gowns while mixing with celebrities. With Trump out, organizers put the focus on the First Amendment and the role of the press in democracy.

The scheduled headliners were Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, set to present journalism awards. Woodward told The Washington Post the two planned to speak about “the First Amendment and the importance of aggressive but fair reporting.”

The dinner still booked a master of ceremonies: Hasan Minhaj of The Daily Show. Broadcast coverage was to begin at 9:30 p.m. on C-SPAN, followed by Bee’s event airing on TBS at 10 p.m.

Jeff Mason, the WHCA president, said this year would have been different even if Trump had attended, “based on the tension that has existed in the relationship and some of the things he has said about the press. We were preparing for a different dinner either way.”

Trump has called the media “fake” and “dishonest” and even “the enemy of the people.” In an emailed fundraising appeal before leaving for Pennsylvania, Trump cited among the accomplishments over his first 100 days, “We fought back against the media’s lies.”

Mason promised that Minhaj would use his comedy chops, without “roasting the president in absentia.”

“People don’t want to come to a dinner and feel bored or preached at. Hopefully neither of those things will happen,” Mason said.

Bee, who hosts TBS’ weekly show Full Frontal, said she cared deeply about the press.

“For God’s sake, we could not do our show if things were more restricted. So, boy, nobody needs press freedom more than we do,” she told The Associated Press in an interview.

Bee’s taped show singled out the Committee to Protect Journalists, the nonprofit group that will receive proceeds from the show. The show humorously assailed topics like “alternative facts,” a remark once made by Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway that drew heavy criticism.

The official WHCA dinner began in 1921. Most people trace the development of the celebrity guests to 1987, when Baltimore Sun reporter Michael Kelly brought Fawn Hall, the secretary at the center of the Iran-Contra affair.

For Russia and US, Uneasy Cooperation on Cybercrime Is Now a Mess 

Agents from the FBI and the U.S. Secret Service showed up in Moscow in May 2009 with a specific mission: to nab one of the world’s most notorious hackers. But to do that, the Americans needed Russia’s help.

They turned to the Federal Security Service (FSB), the country’s main intelligence agency, and shared operational information with officers from its computer-crimes unit, the Center for Information Security.

The hacker, Roman Seleznyov, shut down his operations a month later in a move prompted, the U.S. believes, by a leak from the FSB. The credit-card fraudster, it turns out, had bragged in conversations intercepted a year earlier about his protection from the computer-crimes unit.

US court

The incident, detailed in the legal filings that resulted in a U.S. federal court recently sentencing Seleznyov to 27 years in prison, exposes an unintended consequence of Washington’s cybercrime cooperation with Russia: the United States finds itself indicting some of the top-level Russian security officials it worked with. 

At least one of those officials is a former hacker who worked with the FSB — an agency accused of involvement in the hacking of U.S. political parties’ computers in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

Adding to the confusion is the fact that one of those very FSB officers has himself been charged in Russia with high treason.

In short, the Russians were recruiting hackers while the Americans sought to work with the FSB to thwart cybercriminals. Now the Americans are indicting — and in Seleznyov’s case, sentencing — hackers tied in some way to the FSB. The Russians, meanwhile, are charging some of those same individuals with treason.

“Russia sees those who cooperated as traitors,” explained Pavel Vrublevsky, a prominent e-payment entrepreneur who was imprisoned in Russia for ordering a cyberattack against a competitor. “Now America sees the very same people as cybercriminals themselves.”

Seleznyov is not the first Russian to have been caught up in a widening U.S. dragnet that has snagged cybercriminals from around the world. Others include Aleksandr Panin, convicted in a federal court in Atlanta in 2016 for creating a computer program that infected millions of computers and drained bank accounts in multiple countries.

WATCH: Czech Police Arrest Yevgeny Nikulin In Prague

There’s also Yevgeny Nikulin, who has sat in a Czech jail following his October arrest while Moscow and Washington both fight for his extradition. And the same day that Seleznyov was sentenced, U.S. prosecutors announced the indictment of another Russian, Pyotr Levashov, arrested in Spain, accusing him of masterminding a “bot net” of infected computers to steal money from bank accounts.

Seleznyov, the son of a Russian lawmaker, raked in $170 million selling stolen credit-card information online beginning in 2007, according to U.S. officials. By 2009, his operation was one of the largest providers of such stolen data in the world.

The determination that Seleznyov was behind the scheme was what led U.S. investigators to seek the FSB’s help in 2009, according to material submitted by prosecutors in a U.S. federal court.

In Moscow, they met with officials from the agency’s Center for Information Security, including deputy chief Sergei Mikhailov and his subordinate, Dmitry Dokuchayev, current and former U.S. officials with knowledge of the case told RFE/RL.

 

 

Unfortunately for the Americans, news of the meetings apparently leaked. Seleznyov shut down his so-called carding operations a month later.

As U.S. prosecutors noted in court documents, Seleznyov had been recorded telling a colleague in 2008 that he had “obtained protection through the law-enforcement contacts in the computer-crimes squad of the FSB.”

Seleznyov eventually resurfaced using a different alias, but was indicted by a federal grand jury in 2011 and arrested by U.S. agents while vacationing in the Maldives in 2014. A federal jury convicted him on 38 counts in 2016, and he was sentenced on April 21 to 27 years in prison.

“Never before has a criminal engaged in computer fraud of this magnitude been identified, captured, and convicted by an American jury,” prosecutors wrote in their court filings.

In from the cold

The 2009 Moscow discussion was just one of many between U.S. and Russian officials as they sought to work together in investigating international computer crimes. 

The effort was largely ad hoc, and U.S. officials sought over the following years to a build a more formal arrangement, according to David Hickton, a former U.S. prosecutor involved in several high-profile criminal investigations of alleged Russian hackers. 

They include the 2014 indictment of Yevgeny Bogachev, who is accused by the FBI of helping to build a network of infected computers around the world using software known as GameOver ZeuS, and using it to steal money from online bank accounts.

Competing legal systems, differences of opinion, and distrust proved to be formidable obstacles to cooperation.

“They tried to develop a dialogue that would lead to cybernorms and some understanding of [what the] rules of the road would be and how we would navigate our adversarial relationship,” Hickton said of the Russians. “And that broke down.”

Luke Dembosky, who was the resident legal adviser for the Justice Department in Moscow between 2010 and 2013, told RFE/RL that “it was never easy working these kinds of cases with Russia. There were different systems, different laws, different interests.”

To really make an international cybercase work, Dembosky explained, “you need some alignment of interests and political will, and you need some commonality of law and capabilities.”

More than anything, he said, “you need some modicum of trust.”

A troubled relationship

As U.S.-Russian cooperation stumbled, the FSB’s computer-crimes unit was growing in clout and notoriety, thanks in part to one officer’s previous work as a hacker.

Dokuchayev, with whom the Americans met with during their 2009 meetings in Moscow, was once well-known in cybercircles under the nickname Forb.

He worked with other FSB officers, including one named Igor Sushchin, to recruit hackers to cooperate with the Russian agency on cyberactivities. Among the recruits was Aleksei Belan, who has been wanted by the FBI since 2012 for alleged hacking and computer fraud. 

Officials from the FSB’s Center for Information Security were also involved in the investigation of IT entrepreneur Vrublevsky, the founder of a successful online payment system called ChronoPay.

He was convicted in 2013 of orchestrating an attack on a ticketing system used by the airline Aeroflot. Mikhailov, Dokuchayev’s superior in the computer-crimes unit, testified against Vrublevsky during the trial.

U.S. intelligence officials have concluded that the hackers who broke into email accounts and computer servers belonging to the Democratic and Republican parties during last year’s election campaign did so with authorization from top-level Russian officials.

The declassified summary of a report released on behalf of the intelligence community in January pointed the finger at the FSB’s security rival, the military intelligence agency known as GRU. There was no mention of the FSB, or its computer-crimes unit.

But the previous month, then-President Barack Obama announced new economic sanctions and other punitive measures in response to alleged Russian hacking during the U.S. election campaign.

The list of those targeted included both the GRU and the FSB, as well as Belan and Bogachev.

High treason

Just prior to Obama’s announcement, Russian security officials moved to arrest FSB computer-crimes unit officers Mikhailov and Dokuchayev. That news became public when the Russian newspapers Kommersant and Novaya Gazeta reported in January that the two had been charged with high treason for giving classified information to Western intelligence, including possibly the CIA.

In a dramatic twist, according to Kommersant, Mikhailov was detained during an FSB meeting and taken from the room with a bag over his head.

There has been no comment on Mikhailov’s or Dokuchayev’s arrests from the FSB or Russian prosecutors; the only confirmation of their incarceration came from the lawyer for another computer expert also caught up in the arrests.

The U.S. Justice Department did not respond to a phone message or e-mail seeking comment.

In March, Dokuchayev’s name surfaced again when the U.S. Justice Department announced his indictment, and that of FSB officer Sushchin, in connection with the massive data breach at the Internet company Yahoo. Mikhailov’s name does not appear in the indictments, although cyberexperts believe someone identified only as “FSB Officer 3” is, in fact, Mikhailov.

Sushchin, according to the indictment, worked as an undercover officer at the investment bank Renaissance Capital.

That indictment also named Belan, who U.S. officials said could have been arrested by the FSB at the behest of the FBI any time after being named a top wanted cybercriminal in 2012.

Instead, “the FSB officers used him,” according to the indictment. “They also provided him with sensitive FSB law-enforcement and intelligence information that would have helped him avoid detection by law enforcement, including information regarding FSB investigations of computer hacking and FSB techniques for identifying criminal hackers.”

Gray zone

First and foremost, the arrests and criminal charges in both Russia and the United States highlight what experts say is the blurry line between Russian law-enforcement and security agencies and criminal networks, in cybercrime or otherwise.

“Moscow still depends, to a considerable extent, on recruiting cybercriminals, or simply calling on them from time to time, in return for their continued freedom,” Mark Galeotti, a Prague-based expert on Russian intelligence agencies, wrote in a report published on April 18.

It’s a gray zone that poses substantial danger for Russia itself, according to one of the other Russians charged with treason stemming from the December arrests: Ruslan Stoyanov, a former Interior Ministry investigator.

In a letter published by the Dozhd TV channel, Stoyanov, who worked for the Moscow-based computer security company Kaspersky Lab, warned that cooperating with cybercriminals would only embolden them.

“The worst scenario would be to give cybercriminals immunity from punishment for stealing money in other countries in exchange for intelligence. If this happens, an entire layer of ‘patriotic thieves’ will appear, violating the principles of the rule of law and the inevitability of punishment,” he wrote. “We will see a new wave of crime in Russia.”

Former U.S. prosecutor Hickton, who now heads the University of Pittsburgh Institute for Cyber Law, Policy and Security, said Russia could have easily arrested Bogachev after he was indicted in 2014 but there is no extradition treaty between the two countries.

Moreover, according to the research firm Fox-IT, the infected computers believed to have been used by Bogachev were also allegedly used to search for information about top-secret government files in places such as Ukraine, Georgia, and Turkey. That suggests the involvement of someone who was more than a mere criminal hacker — perhaps an operative working on behalf of an intelligence agency.

But the arrests also represent another facet of the collapsed relationship between Moscow and Washington.

Hickton said the Bogachev indictment may have been one factor in why U.S.-Russian cooperation in cybercrimes deteriorated. Or it may have merely been a casualty of other points of conflict between Washington and Moscow, such as Russia’s seizure of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and support for separatists in Ukraine’s east. 

“This all — this all is a mess,” Vrublevsky told RFE/RL. “And it’s a mess to be dealt with in both countries. The sooner the better.”