The Arrest of General Shaitanov: A Conspiracy of Security Services

I will not claim that General Shaitanov, arrested by the SBU, did not work for Russia. Because I don’t know. He might’ve done, it is impossible to rule out that in the SBU there are decent people. He might not have, since in Ukraine during internal discussions the warring parties always accuse each other of “working for Russia”.

The FSB immediately after his arrest promptly detained two Ukrainian spies in Crimea. This may be a random coincidence, but may indicate the preparation of a prisoner exchange.

The “evidence” of Shaitanov’s treason, presented by the SBU, is absolutely delusional – two inveterate officers of the special services (Russian and Ukrainian) travel to France, then Germany, to discuss there by phone plans to kill somebody surplus to requirements, washed up Chechen terrorist, also known for stealing the money of his associates. One might think that the Russian intelligence services had no one else to contract for this case, except a general of the SBU. And on the phone, the plans are discussed in such detail as if specifically for the investigation. This is despite the fact that intelligence officers are taught before the development of any given reflex not to discuss even the breakfast menu with his wife in the presence of a turned-off phone.

It is possible, of course, to say that sloppy persons are everywhere, including in the special services – it is possible to remember that not just one intelligence officer failed completely by accident, due to neglect of some trivial things. It can be assumed that in France and Germany they did not fear the wiretapping of the SBU and did not believe that they would be monitored by local security services. It is possible to cite all the inconsistencies of the “damning” version of the SBU as proof that the case of General Shaitanov is fake. But in principle, any intelligence service tries to present to the public a false reason for the failure of a foreign agent, simply not to disclose the methods of work and not to expose its own agents. So the delusional nature of the “evidence” presented to the public does not prove anything in itself, except that the SBU was not particularly bothered about coming up with an official narrative for the arrest. However, we must say thank you that they did not once again show a military card, a Russian passport, and instructions with Putin’s personal signature, requiring the General to dig a tunnel from Bangkok to London for spying purposes.

Whether Shaitanov was a Russian intelligence agent or not is not as important as the fact of his arrest. It’s obvious they didn’t arrest him for spying. The CIA would quietly try to re-recruit such a high-ranking agent and could use him secretly, purposefully leaking disinformation. Just jailing him is counterproductive. Moreover – it’s more counterproductive to create a television show from his arrest. Assuming that Ukrainians are telling the truth and the General worked for the FSB, the SBU, by its actions, warned the Russian intelligence service of the failure of the agent, and, as is known, if you are warned – you are armed.

But the show with his arrest is beneficial from the point of view of Ukrainian provincial showdowns. And in this case I am inclined to listen to the narrative of a former officer of the SBU, one of the first leaders of the uprising in Donbass Aleksandr Khodakovsky, who claims that Shaitanov is Poroshenko’s man. By the way, it was Poroshenko – who would give nothing to anyone for nothing – who awarded Shaitanov the rank of Major General, despite the fact that he served Yanukovych’s “criminal regime”. Whether he participated in the storming of Maidan, as his accusers claim, or was “passing by”, as Khodakovsky says, is not so important. He was a high-ranking officer of the SBU, part of the leadership of “Alfa”, which did not immediately start to unconditionally comply with the orders of the putchists. Consequently, his loyalty was in question. In such conditions, in order to deserve the rank of General in 2015, it was necessary to do a good job.

It is a common Ukrainian practice when the highest officers of this level are associated with the head of state not only for official interests, but for business ones too. So the Shaitanov-Poroshenko business combo could well exist to this day.

In Ukraine there is a real war between the Kolomoisky group, which is supported in Parliament by a part of “Servants of the People“, as well as the situational “Opposition Platform – For Life” and “Batkivshchyna”, and the Ermak group, which relies on the parts of the “Servants of the People” faction that are controlled by Akhmetov and Pinchuk and situationally supported by Poroshenko’s “European Solidarity” party. Kolomoisky is fighting for the return of “Privatbank“, against the IMF’s version of the land law, and for Ukraine’s declaration of a default, which will provide an opportunity to undermine the position of Soros, who has serious influence in Ukraine, and the majority of Ukrainian politicians and oligarchs orientated towards him. Accordingly, Ermak’s group, which is trying to push Kolomoisky away from Zelensky and monopolise influence on the president, in alliance with the pro-Soros majority of the Ukrainian oligarchy, advocates full and unconditional fulfilment of the IMF’s demands.

The last unfulfilled demand today remains the anti-Kolomoisky law banning the return of nationalised banks to former owners. The people of Kolomoisky made 16,000 amendments to the law adopted in the first reading. If procedure is followed, it will take at least a year, if not two, for all the amendments to be considered. But Ukraine can’t wait that long. The authorities need the IMF’s money already yesterday. The only option is to change the regulations of the Verkhovna Rada (the Parliament can make its decision by a simple majority). Kolomoisky can definitively block the adoption of the law and disrupt Kiev’s cooperation with the IMF, after which the government will only have to declare a default, as Kolomoisky demands, destroying the situational majority in a part of the faction “Servants of the People”, “European Solidarity”, and “Golos”. All measures are being taken to resolve this issue, including bribery and intimidation of deputies from “Servants of the People”.

Against this background, the arrest of the pro-Poroshenko General of the SBU looks quite logical. If, as we believe, Poroshenko maintained business contact with Shaitanov, he will take this blow extremely painfully and demand that Zelensky release the General. But he has already been declared a Russian spy, which means that the Nazis will not let him be released just like that. In response, Poroshenko may refuse to support the anti-Kolomoisky law until the issue with the General is resolved.

The aforementioned is nothing more than a hypothesis, and the true reason for the arrest of General Shaitanov we may never know (or we may learn quite soon). But this hypothesis seems to me internally consistent and explains the facts known to us more logically than the official narrative of the SBU, which states that the FSB could not come up with anything better than to hire for $200,000 a SBU General who has access to important secret information as a killer for a secondary bandit.

By the way, the publication of fake telephone conversations as compromising evidence is the favourite PR method of Kolomoisky. So it is possible that the “evidence” of the SBU was created by the people of Kolomoisky and on the direct order of Igor himself, and the SBU received the already finished product and simply made it public.

Rostislav Ishchenko

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