Copyright © 2024

The work of Euromaidan Press is supported by the International Renaissance Foundation

When referencing our materials, please include an active hyperlink to the Euromaidan Press material and a maximum 500-character extract of the story. To reprint anything longer, written permission must be acquired from [email protected].

Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Insurgents Identified: The Green Men of VKontakte

Insurgents Identified: The Green Men of VKontakte

This article was originally published on

Ukrainian intelligence produced and presented a dossier of photographs to the OSCE last week. The images, and official accusations, point to Russian “sabotage-reconnaissance groups” being involved in the recent armed insurgency in eastern Ukraine – Donetsk region specifically. According to a New York Times article, the photos and their descriptions were “endorsed by the Obama administration,” but who are these men? With the power of crowdsourcing, but mostly with the power of social networking and public profiles, the identities of a series of Russian insurgents in Donetsk have been uncovered. Men have been comparing the size of their guns since the invention of gunpowder, and thankfully these few decided to flaunt just that. Publicly. On the internet.


From the identified militants, a few notes can be made from the following gunmen who appear to be connected to the raids in Sloviansk and Kramatorsk. For one, not all are from Russia. While some may be local radicals, others appear to come from Belorechensk in Russia, or have connections to related neo-Cossack groups. This does not necessarily exonerate Russian state involvement, however. While it’s been known that military veterans and Russian ‘tourists’ have been actively involved for some time, the presence of Registered Cossacks of the Russian Federation connects Russia officially to the ongoing crisis. Registered Cossack organizations enjoy financial and organizational support from the authorities, including monthly salary as police auxiliaries. This, of course, isn’t the first controversial deployment of Cossack forces, who made a name for themselves on the world stage enforcing the law in Sochi.

Another point of interest is the insignia seen on a number of the gunmen. For clarity’s sake, the symbol is that of Andrei Shkuro‘s ‘Terek Wolf Company’, a detachment of White emigre Cossacks who fought for Nazi Germany during the second world war.

So who is involved in the Ukrainian invasion? Let’s take a look.

Evgeny “Dingo” Ponomarev


Ponomarev is a 39 year old native of Belorechensk, Russia, in the Kuban region. He is active in the Terek Cossack community, and featured in many of the photos recently presented by CNN and the BBC detailing the same group of insurgents appearing in Kramatorsk and Sloviansk.

Profile: Евгений Пономарев

Alexander Ganchev


While Ganchev’s profile is littered with cat pictures and memes, in 2013 through to January 2014 there are many photos of him in combat training, including with sniper rifles, assault rifles, heavy machine guns, and rocket launchers. Recent photos from April show him with members who seized buildings in Donetsk. Groups he is a member of include Berkut support, The Supreme Council of the people of Ukraine and Russia (which asks for “practical” assistance in imposing referendums), Crimean “self-defense” groups, and airsoft rifle groups in Crimea (which appears to be a front to gather militants and buy weapons). His current city is listed as Horlivka, Ukraine, and he appears to be from Makiivka.

Profile: Александр Ганичев

Igor Georgievsky


His hometown is listed as Simferopol and photos show him in Sevastopol, and in group shots with other self-defensemilitants. Above he is seen at the Sloviansk airfield in Donetsk region (here’s video of the airfield with the same helicopters). He’s in the ‘People’s Liberation Movement in Ukraine‘ (which calls to ‘liberate’ the ‘western occupied colony’ from ‘invaders’), Russian Spring, and another group which calls to retake Odesa from ‘fascism’. He is seen with the Terek Wolf Company insignia.

Profile: Игорь Георгиевский

Tikhon Karetniy


Like Ponomarev, Karetniy is a member of the Belorechensk Cossack community in Russia. A photo posted on the community page details the group involved in the seizures in Sloviansk called “Terek Wolf Sotnia“. His profile is relatively new (registered in February, active more recently) so it cannot be confirmed that his identity is real, however, he does have the social connections with other members involved with a higher degree of authenticity. It’s likely this is him pictured with Ponomarev.

Profile: Тихон Каретный

Zheka Kovalyov


Kovalyov is another from Belorechensk, Russia. His photo albums contain many swastikas and neo-Nazi or ultranationalistimagery. Photos dating back 2 years show him in paramilitary garb, while his profile picture appears to be  ‘self-defense’ force paramilitary in Crimea. In another photo he appears with Karetniy while wearing the ‘Terek Wolf Company’ badge, who is also an insurgent in Donetsk with a Russian Cossack connection.

Profile: Zheka Kovalyov

Evgen Zloy


Photos show him carrying an automatic rifle in front government buildings in Slovinansk. His profile lists him as being a Simferopol native, and is a member of a Simferopol Don Cossack group. Photos also show what appears to be a swastikapendant, and Russian ultra-nationalist graphics.

Profile: Евген Злой

Anton Morozov


From Irkutsk, Russia. His main profile shows him in military fatigues in what appears to be barracks. Photos include neo-Nazi imagery (burning an Israeli flag) and Eurasian symbols. He is pictured with Zloy, above.

Profile: Anton Morozov

Edvard Pitersky


Pitersky lists himself as residing in Kharkiv and a member of the Oplot fight club and ‘Polite People of Kharkiv‘ (a reference to the ‘Green Men’ from Russia). He is ironically a member of the ‘Anti-fascist movement of the South-East‘ as well as the ‘White Legion‘ neo-Nazi community.

Profile: Edvard Pitersky

Dima Kharkovsky


Current city is listed as Sloviansk. He appears to be a local and a member of Gubarev’s militia.

Profile: Dima Kharkovsky

Ignat “Topaz” Kromskoy


opaz was placed under house arrest on March 29 for his involvement in the 1 March raid on the Kharkiv Regional State Administration building. On 7 April, Topaz fled house arrest, cutting off his monitoring bracelet. Topaz has since given interviews with the Russian channel LifeNews, and spoken about the current ‘guerrilla struggle’ and need to use firearms to capture buildings. Pictures with assault rifles, BDU, and St. George ribbon indicate it’s likely he has been involved in the current insurgency in Donetsk or Luhansk since his arrest.

Profile: Ignat Kromskoy

Sergey Anastasov


This profile is less straightforward, but the photos appear to sync up. Anastasov is from Simferopol. Photos include him with various firearms. The above photo makes no indication on which building he is in, so it’s possible he was only involved in Crimea, so we’re including him last.

Profile: Sergey Anastasov

You could close this page. Or you could join our community and help us produce more materials like this.  We keep our reporting open and accessible to everyone because we believe in the power of free information. This is why our small, cost-effective team depends on the support of readers like you to bring deliver timely news, quality analysis, and on-the-ground reports about Russia's war against Ukraine and Ukraine's struggle to build a democratic society. A little bit goes a long way: for as little as the cost of one cup of coffee a month, you can help build bridges between Ukraine and the rest of the world, plus become a co-creator and vote for topics we should cover next. Become a patron or see other ways to support. Become a Patron!

To suggest a correction or clarification, write to us here

You can also highlight the text and press Ctrl + Enter

Please leave your suggestions or corrections here

    Will the West continue to support Ukraine?
    • Know what moves the world.
    • Premium journalism from across Europe.
    • Tailored to your needs, translated into English.
    Special discount
    for Euromaidan Press readers
    Euromaidan Press

    We are an independent media outlet that relies solely on advertising revenue to sustain itself. We do not endorse or promote any products or services for financial gain. Therefore, we kindly ask for your support by disabling your ad blocker. Your assistance helps us continue providing quality content. Thank you!

    Related Posts