Whatever happened to the Kharkiv Partisans?

Screenshot of a video-appeal of the "Kharkiv Partizans"

Screenshot of a video-appeal of the "Kharkiv Partizans" 

2016/03/08 • Analysis & Opinion, Military analysis, Politics, Russia

For over a year Russian propaganda pushed the story of an anti-Ukrainian “resistance” movement in Kharkiv. This guerrilla army known as the “Kharkiv Partisans” supposedly scored major successes in sabotaging the Ukrainian military machine, which were then covered up by the dastardly Ukrainian censors. The group openly claimed to be based in Belgorod, Russia, and it would take credit for bombs that went off in Kharkiv, except for any bombs that killed or wounded people (these were false-flag attacks, you see.) Via interviews and videos, members of the group promised an imminent war of liberation in Kharkiv alongside radical Orthodox, anti-semitic, and conspiracy theory laden rants against Ukraine. Then around October they went silent. Their spokesman more or less stopped talking about the Kharkiv Partisans, and their activities appeared to totally cease.

What happened? The group may have been nothing more than a propaganda front for subversive activity in Kharkiv and Sumy carried out by the Russian special services and their proxies. Perhaps when Russia began its “counter-terrorism” propaganda drive to support its intervention in Syria, it suddenly became inconvenient for Russia to be openly supporting a supposed radical terrorist group (though Orthodox, not Muslim.)

Oleh Sobchenko

Oleh Sobchenko

However, the group has not entirely gone down the memory hole. The supposed “leader” of the organization Oleh Sobchenko recently gave an interview to the Russian propaganda outlet Svobodnaya Pressa. He claims that last summer the Kharkiv partisans were preparing widespread attacks on Ukrainian security forces if the war in Donbas was re-ignited, but that since the summer the organization has been “like a computer in sleep mode.”

“Renewed fighting scenarios cannot be excluded in the future. Therefore, we are not talking about the dissolution of the ‘Kharkiv Partisans.’ We are saying that we have slowed our activities. We all sit at home and wait.”

He goes on to describe feelings that combine despair and make a virtue of inactivity: ” The question arises: why and for whom did our people need to risk their lives, dying? Why fight with all this scum that Kharkiv was flooded? It makes no sense whatsoever. In the city, most people got used (to the situation)… The Nazis devour themselves. Don’t distract them from this good work.” He goes on to describe supposed preparations by Azov for sabotage in Belgorod, Russia.

And how is this now-inactive group spending their time? “(We are) working with local cossacks. Restoring the temple (i.e. reviving “Orthodox culture”). We have a common project with the Cossacks on the military-patriotic education for youth.”

So, while it is inactive and its pro-Russian activists from Kharkiv are depressed and defeated, Russian propaganda wants to make sure the pilot-light for subversion in Kharkiv is kept on, just in case the situation changes. The supposed participation of the “Kharkiv Partisan” activists with the military-patriotic education of youth in Russia matches other evidence that more public Radical Orthodox Russian groups involved in the war in Donbas are being encouraged by the Russian state and elements of the Russian Orthodox church to spread their conspiratorial ideology to the next generation.

Crest of the Kharkiv Territorial Fraternity

Crest of the Kharkiv Territorial Fraternity

Don’t expect to hear as much from the Kharkiv partisans going forward. A related organization the “Kharkiv Territorial Fraternity” was started late last year, engaging on social media with local news in Kharkiv and presenting itself as a potential non-violent political front in Kharkiv.  The website of the organization claims branches both in Belgorod, Russia and in Russian-occupied Donetsk. It has posts for job vacancies in both places, and claims to be “partnered” with the Belgorod regional branches of the Communist Party and the left-wing nationalist “Patriots of Russia” party. The organization is coordinated by Anton Gurayov, one of the activists who proclaimed the People’s Republic of Kharkiv in February 2014. In an October 2015 interview, also in Svpressa, he said that while the Kharkiv Partisans still “hope that the enemy will be defeated, that victory will be ours” he looked forward to a long drawn-out political struggle in Kharkiv.

Anton Guryanov, standing at the far right, pictured alongside "Motorola" and DNR founder Pavel Gubarev

Anton Guryanov, standing at the far right, pictured alongside “Motorola” and DNR founder Pavel Gubarev

In the meantime, he is “working with the fraternities (likely a reference to the Odesa Fraternity and potential other similar organizations) and the Nation Council of the DNR. At present, the work takes a tremendous amount of time.” One suspects that if the Ukrainian state weakens for one reason or another or if Donetsk and Luhansk manage to get a “federal” status that the Kharkiv Territorial Fraternity will push for similar status in Kharkiv, or serve as a political front for any future Russian subversion in Kharkiv, alongside the so-called “Kharkiv Partisans.”

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  • Dirk Smith

    These mongoloids are now Kremlin trolls. Or dead.

    • Hillarious Clinton

      And you trolley,what did you come from? As far as I know,Smith is the most common khazarian name in England…

      • Dirk Smith

        Trolling three week old articles. What rock did you crawl from mongol? Do you get paid by vodka or tobacco?

        • Hillarious Clinton

          They pay by Gordon and London Gin ! And dirrectly from City of London,in the pussy-bend of Thames river,also known as Canary Wharf,where also Canada is…

          • Quartermaster

            I hope you don’t speak Russian as poorly as write in English. You’re obviously nekulturny.

      • kievjoy

        You don’t know as much about England as you think. A smith was a worker in metal, gold smith, silver smith, black smith etc. So one of Dirk’s ancestors would have been a worker in metal. My name before I married was Jackson, which would meant one of my male ancestors was the son of a man named Jack. Don’t make comments about things you don’t know.

        • Hillarious Clinton

          Still, Jack ass, no difference…He (the metal worker) likes foremostly-gold, hence,khazar…

          • kievjoy

            In England they were mainly black smiths, they had to shoe the horses, in case you didn’t know, they never had cars then

          • Quartermaster

            Perhaps you’re a Khazar. It certain that you are a Russian pig, however.

  • Hillarious Clinton

    Propaganda machine in U-krajina is stronger than anywhere else…Only Erdogan of Turkey is equal to you…Why don’t you display your fashist Azov troops or other Bandera groups who rape and kill even children? Your Bandera junta started the war with Donbass after illegal putch in Kiev, and you got beaten down-you don’t want admit this truth and facts…As an independent observer of your conflict, I see that you’ll lose far more lands than Donbass in a short time to come…And the West had betrayed you,as always…They used you and then left you bleeding…

    • Quartermaster

      As a comedian you’d never make it. The west has betrayed Ukraine, but so has Russia. As during Soviet Times, Russia can’t be trusted to keep its word. Putin, and you, are as much of liar as Stalin or Brezhnev, and just as stupid.

      Putin is leading Russia down the same road of stupidity as Stalin and Brezhnev did, and the end of Russia will be worse than it was for the Soviet Union.