Oleksiy Bessarabov


worked as a military expert for an analytical center until 2014


Oksana Zheleznyak


preparation to subversive activities (Article 30 and clause “a” of Part Two of Article 281 of the Russian Criminal Code). According to FSB allegations, Bessarabov was a member of a “sabotage terrorist group” instructed bythe Main Intelligence Directorate of Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. He was accused of preparing subversive activities at the military infrastructure and life support facilities in Crimea


November 9, 2016

Prospective sentence:

up to 20 years in jail

Address of imprisonment:

Remand prison #1, 4 Lenina Ave., Simferopol 295006, Crimea

Intermediate mailing address:

Alexey Bessarabov, Center for Civil Liberties, 9-G Baseina Str., Apt. 25, Kyiv, 01004, Ukraine

days in custody

Originally from Novgorod Oblast (northeast Russia), Oleksiy Bessarabov served for the information-analytical department of the marine intelligence center of the Ukrainian Navy. Later, until 2014, he worked for the Nomos Center for the Promotion of the Study of Geopolitical Problems and Euro-Atlantic Cooperation in the Black Sea Region together with Dmytro Shtyblikov. His publications as an expect appeared widely in the media. In particular, he was working on the problems of the Russian Black Sea Fleet based in Sevastopol. According to Oleksiy’s wife, after the Nomos Center was closed, he tried to engage in some business with partners from St. Petersburg. However, at the time of detention, he had no joint projects for a half of a year. He had an office in Sevastopol, but the woman does not explain what Bessarabov was specifically engaged in.

On a video released by the FSB, Oleksiy looks tired and exhausted. He says he has a rank of Lieutenant Colonel and alleges that he is an operational reserve officer of the 14th Department of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense since 2008. Bessarabov also specifies the divisions he served and positions he occupied in the Armed Forces of Ukraine. However, he does not say a word about any “sabotage plans.”

Exculpatory evidence

The Security Service of Ukraine states that the Ukrainian citizens arrested in Crimea were neither SBU agents nor contactees from an SBU side. On the same day, two more Ukrainians were detained: Dmytro Shtyblikov and Volodymyr Dudka. All of them knew each other before the arrest, which helped the FSB make a “sabotage and terrorist group” out of them. In that way, the FSB corrected its mistake made in August 2016, when the first “sabotage and terrorist group” was artificially constructed of the persons who had not known each other: Andriy Zakhtey, Yevhen Panov, and Redvan Suleymanov.

Torture and pressure

No reliable information has appeared regarding the use of torture in this case.