Tytska Yana, associate professor, scientific consultant – ARC expert Borys Babin
The occupation of the Crimea by Russia led to systematic criminal attempts by the aggressor to use the so-called “scientific institutions” of the peninsula under the control of the invaders for illegal attempts to promote the ideas of the “Russian measure” in third countries. In addition, such illegal “scientific institutions” are used by the aggressor to attempt industrial espionage and bypass sanctions, which should be the subject of a separate study.
Based on the examples given in the publications of human rights defenders and experts, in particular, the Association of Reintegration of Crimea (ARC), it is possible to analyze the relevant trends and develop mechanisms to counter these encroachments on Ukrainian sovereignty and human rights, in particular with regard to scientific research.
As an example, the ARC indicates that in 2022-2023 the Russian invaders “distributed roles”, in which the fate of the screen for the “external audience” with the imitation of “friendship of individual peoples” was assigned to the controlled occupiers of the “Fevzi Yakubov Crimean Industrial and Pedagogical University”  . At the same time, the ARC states, a number of such “events” are held in the specified fake “university”. These are fake “events of friendship with Cuba”, at which representatives of Cuba itself were not seen , and holding a fake show of criminal “integration” there, to which the puppeteers of these characters try to involve fictitious “representatives of the Crimean Tatar diaspora” .
Also, the ARC points out, the illegal “Sevastopol state university” is actively used for aggressor’s propaganda, as an alleged “scientific and educational center”, where the criminal “governor” of Sevastopol Mykhailo Razvozhaev repeatedly tried to engage in “self-publicity” on the topic of so-called “marine drones”. In open sources, there is really no mention of the relevant “developments” of the current “Sevastopol scientists”. The ARC indicates that the relevant activity “in the maritime sphere” will have the purpose of either violating the sanctions policy or direct industrial espionage .
The ARC also draws the aggressor’s attention to the fake “Institute of city development” of the illegal “Sevastopol state university”, which the Russian occupiers are trying to make into a kind of “analytical center” to support their criminal plans .
The ARC also reported that in November 2022, the fake “Sevastopol shipbuilding college” of the illegal “Sevastopol state university” was allegedly set up to produce “bourgeois stoves” for criminal soldiers of the aggressor. In fact, ARC adds, the Russian occupiers forced several furnaces of primitive design to be made at the city’s enterprises, and even their “small-scale production” could not be carried out, and the “students” in this process played the role of extras for the “news” .
This “university”, the researchers add, becomes a PR tool for the criminal Razvozhaev; in particular, the ARC points to the statements of a certain Olga Moskalenko, a fake “associate professor of the department of Sevastopol state university” that allegedly Razvozhaev is “very popular in the British media” .
The ARC also points out that the occupiers’ propaganda claimed to have allegedly “developed new technologies” on the basis of the illegal “Sevastopol state university”, namely some kind of “adaptive air suspension” for the “Krym” roadster. At the same time, the Russian aggressors quote fake “employees of the department of road transport” that aggressor’s “components” were allegedly used and allegedly “exclusive software was written”. ARC investigated this issue and points out that there were no “developments” in Russia-occupied Sevastopol, and the “Krym” roadster previously became a “PR cover” for the creation of the “Interuniversity youth engineering and technology corporation”, through which “development” was planned, i.e. laundering of “federal grants”.
ARC adds that by 2022, “the creators of the roadster” were not ashamed to admit that they needed parts from Italy and South Korea for the model, and that “the microcircuits used in the production of control systems are supplied from Taiwan”. As for the fake Sevastopol “university”, it was not mentioned in the “co-authors of the roadster” until 2022. Thus, says ARC, even if these statements are “believed”, they only testify to the fact that the fake “Sevastopol university” uses pirated equipment and becomes a hub of the aggressor’s industrial espionage .
The ARC also points out that on November 9, during the discussion at the UN General Assembly session of the annual report on the work of the IAEA, the representative of the Russian delegation Oleksandr Shevchenko stated that the alleged aggressor state “is ready to grant access to nuclear facilities in Sevastopol upon request within the framework of implementation of IAEA guarantees” .
However, in relation to the mentioned statement of the aggressor, the ARC indicates that the only nuclear facility, the presence of which the aggressor does not deny in the Crimea, is the civilian, at that time, educational nuclear reactor of the specialized Sevastopol institute, captured in 2014. Since 2014, the delegation of Ukraine has been consistently reporting to the IAEA about it as a dangerous and uncontrolled nuclear facility captured by the occupiers. As stated by the ARC, if a hypothetical IAEA delegation arrives in the Crimea without any criminal political “confessions”, the Russian occupiers will try to use it as a tool for “legitimization” of aggressor-controlled structures, such as the fictitious “Sevastopol state university” .
In the summer of 2022, ARC also wrote about the request of the Russian special services to illegally “open” in Damascus the so-called “representative office of the Nikitsky Botanical Garden”, criminally “nationalized” by the aggressor in 2014 [10; 11]. The ARC investigated the personalities of Serhiy Khokhlov, the fake “head of the representative office”, declared by the occupiers, and his fictitious “deputy” Oleksandr Hryb. In particular, it was indicated that the criminal “boss” really used to work in a botanic garden in Nikita, Yalta, in the direction of olive tree diseases.
The ARC wrote in 2022 that in the long term, the relevant “breakthroughs” of the Russian special services in Syria with the aim of undermining the food security of the Mediterranean countries should not be ruled out. At the same time, the ARC also highlighted the previous stormy “commercial activity” of Hryb and Khokhlov in the occupied Crimea, connected with land and real estate scams, as well as trade in “botanical garden products” .
After further investigating this issue, the ARC wrote that the “Khokhlov farm” does not plan to do any work on the “topics of the botanical garden”; at the same time, the “nerd” himself and his curators from the special services nevertheless found an “undemanding” source of income in Damascus.
After all, as the said Khokhlov stated, his certain “equipment” will allegedly “allow the Syrians to check their export products (fruits, vegetables, berries)”, that is, “to monitor that they meet Russian state standards”, obviously in the corresponding corruption dimension .
Therefore, the ARC points out, in fact the illegal “representation” plans to engage in a corrupt scheme of “certification” of agricultural export products from Syria. The second task of the “representation”, which is not related to botany at all, but clearly corresponds to the interests of Khokhlov’s curators, in the researched ARC “interview of a scientist” was indicated the search for Syrians for their education in illegal “Crimean and Sevastopol universities”. Thus, says ARC, the aggressor’s criminal propaganda campaign with a fake “representation of a botanical garden” ended in a violent imitation of active activity, with elements of corruption and agent work of the Russian special services .
The above sets the task of organizing a systematic response to the authorized authorities of Ukraine, both through appropriate criminal proceedings and the introduction of personal sanctions, and within the framework of appeals to competent international institutions and authorities of third countries.
Appropriate countermeasures against the aggressor’s provocations, in particular on international platforms, become the task of educational and scientific institutions of Ukraine, in particular within the framework of mechanisms of academic and research cooperation.