A long-forgotten piece by BuzzFeed has been introduced into the FSB's hybrid psyop titled "Derkach Tapes".
Recent reports from the U.S. say an infamous "debunker of conspiracies", pro-Russian lawmaker from Ukraine Andriy Derkach was designated by Treasury as a Russian agent and subjected to sanctions for his continuous efforts to meddle in the U.S. elections and spreading disinformation. For almost a year, the guy has been publishing heavily redacted recordings of what purportedly is negotiations between ex-President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine and ex-U.S. Vice President Joe Biden.
However, Derkach was not the only Ukrainian target of the latest U.S. sanctions. It turned out that last month, ex-employee of the Ukrainian Embassy in the U.S., Andriy Telizhenko, got his American visa revoked, of which he learned as he was attempting to board a plane to New York. Telizhenko was also recognized Russian agent who took part in spreading disinformation about Joe Biden and his family, as well as in interfering in the U.S. elections.
In fact, the U.S. Government through its latest moves has drawn public attention to the Kremlin's ongoing psyop, which is being carried out via pro-Russian lawmakers in Ukraine and ex-diplomats with a rather unambiguous affiliation… And finally, it seems, the U.S. is taking adequate action in response to these malign efforts.
Of course, those on the receiving end of the U.S. sanctions tried to minimize the blow. So, yesterday, Andriy Derkach claimed the alleged collusion of ex-President Petro Poroshenko and current head of the Presidential Office Andriy Yermak against President Volodymyr Zelensky. The claim was echoed by a fugitive MP Oleksandr Onishchenko on the air of one of pro-Russian TV channels in Ukraine, NewsOne… These "revelations" were followed by a revival of an old story targeting the SBU (Security Service of Ukraine).
The Intellinews platform on Telegram, supported by the Legitimny Telegram channel, with reference to a Buzzfeed article of July 24 (namely, Telizhenko's quote), made a post, accusing the SBU of standing behind the wiretap of phone talks between ex-President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine and ex-U.S. Vice President Joe Biden. This way, the spin suggests that the Derkach Tapes are authentic.
A shocking revelation, some might exclaim. Not really, I will say.
The fact is that BuzzFeed has long been used by Russian intelligence for launching various spins and psyops. I'll just recall that it's Buzzfeed that posted a fake story about Trump allegedly calling Crimea Russian territory (he never did). Moreover, that fake report came out precisely when it was vital for Russia to stuff the international infospace with the "Crimea is Russian" narrative, and other media agencies and outlets picked up on that sham tory like crazy.
At the same time, not a single journalist seemed to care that BuzzFeed News referred to some unnamed sources it claimed were reliable. Meanwhile, the piece's co-author was Russia's Julia Ioffe, for whom the Trump story, which turned out to be a major fake, was her first report for BuzzFeed.
By the way, in January 2017, it was BuzzFeed that published an infamous Steele Report by a former MI6 operative Christopher Steel about Trump's ties with the Kremlin. Many have since been confident that Buzzfeed is MI6's darling, which is in fact an erroneous statement. The thing is that Mr Steele, has a few years ago been recruited by Russian intelligence, that's according to the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI!
So there's too much Russia around Buzzfeed. I can just smell the stench.
And now that both Derkach and Telizhenko have got caught up in the fallout of the tapes leak, a new spin has been launched aimed to presumably back the claim about the tapes' reliability and deliver a "rehearsal" blow at the SBU security service. Besides, this is unfolding against the background of the "WagnerGate" info battles. But you know what the strangest thing in this story is? The article, which Russian and pro-Russian platforms are now referring to and promoting, was initially published on July 24! So what we're now seeing is an effort to resuscitate the piece, or rather a certain narrative about the SBU, which someone believes should now be highlighted as much as possible.
After all, it is precisely the toxicity of WagnerGate, which plays an important role in the hybrid psyop as an element compromising the SBU, that can give Telizhenko's statements in a BuzzFeed story an additional explosive effect. Indeed, the narrative channeled through the piece, albeit without any factual evidence to back the allegations, claims that the SBU had for years been recording the talks between Poroshenko and Biden before handing the records to the FSB agent Andriy Derkach. Enjoy your meal, all of you government haters…
But in this case, the question arises, why did Andriy Derkach move to accuse President staff chief Andriy Yermak and ex-leader Petro Poroshenko of conspiring against the incumbent Volodymyr Zelensky? After all, in the context of WagnerGate, this seems illogical, doesn't it?
In fact, things are not that complicated and not in so much of a discord in the general context of these psyops. As I've reported multiple times already, the WagnerGate psyop is the GRU brainchild, while Derkach Tapes have been conceived by the rivaling FSB.
In fact, within the framework of its project, the GRU decided to take advantage of their competitors' not-too-successful operation and add some toxicity to the Wagner Gate, that's playing on someone else's pitch. And that's exactly why Andriy Derkach made a sudden U-turn, singing songs about the alleged Yermak-Poroshenko collusion.
If we look into both of these narratives, it's obvious that none of them are at least somehow substantiated to be perceived seriously, while pursuing on both sides of the spectrum the same goal of shifting the public's focus.
After all, it was after the U.S. elaborated on the implications of sanctions imposed on "Russian agent" Andriy Derkach and after Telizhenko's visa was revoked that the narrative about the SBU's role in the Derkach Tapes was revived, introducing an equally absurd new narrative about the origin of the tapes.
Given such confusion, there are two main versions on the table. One is that the masterminds behind the Derkach Tapes psyop deliberately shift public focus away from the actual source of recordings, since it's now obvious that that the circle around these sources is shrinking rapidly and soon the U.S. Treasury might designate more persons involved in election meddling. The other is that or the authors of another psyop, the WagnerGate, are working to boost public discontent in Ukrainian government, which is the operation's objective.