Nobody met Captain Gorbenko, who disappeared in Ukraine in late January in Kerch, in his native Kerch.
– Has he really returned? A correspondent from the local administration asked a correspondent. Then, however, he remembered: “Oh, yes, read the news today!”, And advised to call them in the fishing state farm named after First May, to which the vessel “Nord” is attributed.
It was impossible: he returned home incognito. He did not even tell his mother and wive. And it happened even two weeks ago, January 29!
Sergei Leskov, director of the fishing farm to them. First of May. He became the first after relatives, met and talked to the captain Gorbenko.
– Volodya called me on Saturday morning, – says Sergey Alekseevich.
– I think he called from Melitopol, where he lived after being released from a Ukrainian prison with his distant relatives. That, in general, was also unexpected. And he suddenly says: you can not drive up to me? I want to pick up my car from the territory of the collective farm, but so as not to “glow”. I decided that Volodya was joking. This was not the case. Most of all, as for the “sudden disappearance”. In general, threw all the cases and rushed to him. Met Embraced. Then I told that from our odyssey.
– Remember what was your first question to him?
- He poured dozens on me! In particular, about comrades from the “Nord”. Initially, it was told that problems arose on the way to the border with the Russian Federation, at the border checkpoint.
– Sorry, I will clarify: there was information that Gorbenko traveled to the Crimea through Kherson. It turns out, made a huge hook …
– No, through the town of New Kakhovka, in the Kherson region. From Melitopol there is a straight road. And from there – to border Armenian one. How did you get? On the “choke”. As said, do not fuss. Acknowledgment: insanely tired of not having seen relatives for a long time, because of this constant surveillance, as a gangster … I woke up one morning at the end of January, when he left the house where he was sheltered and sent to the bus station station. Will travel a bit, change to another transport. So I got to the border. It was early morning, the weather is chilly, obviously tired Ukrainian frontiers. Everything went well together!
– Money for a ticket, overnight stay, food were given by relatives?
– He said he told them nothing. He said I will regularly receive the highest salary. She was alone with three children. All this time every month pays the salaries of the whole Nord team. Familiar businessmen help and – caring people, thanks to them!
– Has Gorbenko changed a lot for the time that you have not seen?
– Looks very tired. Psychologically, of course, it was very hard. Especially when he stood with a Russian passport at the Ukrainian checkpoint. The risk was huge. I think so, on the verge of a nervous breakdown. You could immediately catch him, and then jump into prison, throw a scandal to the whole world … outwardly, Volodya gained some weight. He did nothing, excommunicated from his beloved work. You can easily get fat here.
– Two weeks passed since he came, and did not say anything to anyone?!
– Why, it was not clear how they would treat his “AWOL”, so to speak, in his homeland, in Russia. Something the same?
– Well, yes, they didn’t try to rescue (or tried, but failed), but they didn’t hurry to help as well … He was in this Melitopolis whenre he could “hang” for long with such “quickness” of our authorities.
– Fortunately, everything was ok. Gather all the crew members, mark the completion of the epic with the “Nord”.
- “Nord” itself is still in captivity.
– I hope we ll save the ship as well!
Vladimir Gorbenko himself, as well as his wife, mother, do not get in touch with journalists yet. For them, the return of husband and son was also a complete surprise, albeit a pleasant one. My wife, as I was told by her Kerch acquaintances, literally sobbed for almost a week – the stress of the last few months and the total lack of clarity in the situation with her husband affected.
Who else, except for the director Leskov, talked to the captain, so this is “Nord” s chief Irina Oborina.
- He is now recovering from his experience, – said Irina Anatolyevna to the correspondent. – Resting. It’s too early to talk about meeting the whole team. But surely, of course, let’s get together. It would be good now to return our ship. Although, as far as I know, the Ukrainian side removed from there all the equipment – both ship and fishing.
– “Nord”, I remember, was put up for auction?
– And not once. Hardly anyone wants to buy it after what happened. So that, I hope, will be able to return. They also said about the captain: it’s impossible to wait for him. But here – come home!
And then the question of concern to everyone – how did Vladimir Gorbenko, with regard to the recent loss of which the Ukrainian security forces instituted a criminal case, could so easily cross the Russian-Ukrainian border? Is there such a mess going on there that such a media figure did not attract any attention of the Ukrainian border guards? But according to Vladimir Kolosov, head of the geopolitical research laboratory of the Institute of Geography of the Russian Academy of Sciences, it does not smell like a mess.
– The Ukrainian border guards have in their possession all the information about persons with convictions and citizens who are on the wanted list. I know cases when people were detained simply because their names and surnames coincided with the persons sought in Ukraine. And how the data of Vladimir Gorbenko was not on this list is a big question.
Taking into account all this information, the conclusion that some kind of provocation was being prepared for the captain of the “Nord”, which for some reason was not carried out, does not seem to be fantastic. A similar idea, by the way, has already been expressed, in particular, by State Duma Deputy Natalia Poklonskaya. Some supporters of conspiracy theories were quick to say that Vladimir Gorbenko “disappeared” is not by chance. For example, they could have killed him, “unexpectedly” revealing the fact that, under the guise of a peaceful captain of a civilian vessel, another “Major of the GRU” was hiding and, naturally accusing Russia of “sweeping traces” and “eliminating failed agents”. As an option, he could well have been recruited during the “disappearance” and returned to the territory of Russia as a “Cossack agent” (a kind of a symmetrical response from Ukraine’s point of view on returning home to Nadezhda Savchenko).
However, Rostislav Ischenko, President of the Center for System Analysis and Forecasting in Ukraine, is sure: the situation is much simpler.
– Just think about it – who is the captain of the “Nord”? Why recruit him? What can he tell? How to fish in the Crimea? Even if he was suddenly invited to the Kremlin by Vladimir Putin and presented some reward, would he be able to reveal the layout of the Kremlin? Even if we assume that he still gave some kind of subscription, after all, after crossing the border, he can quite calmly declare that he was forced to do so.
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– Maybe it was planned to kill and use this situation for political purposes? For example, state that he was a spy?
- I admit that they could well have been killed, but this was hampered by the wave of interest in the fact of his loss that had risen in the Russian media. When in Ukraine they saw it, they realized that sooner or later there would be ends, they would take an interest in the SBU – guys, how did it happen that you protected and protected the person, they did not let him out of the country, but he just took it and disappeared without a trace.
Yes, the case of Skripal shows that you can blame anyone for anything. To declare, for example, that all of the GRU came to England in full force, even with reservists. But Ukraine is not the United Kingdom or the United States, they don’t believe her word for it, we will need evidence and arguments to answer the question of why the SBU missed this point. So the most logical thing that could be done here was that they themselves brought him to the border and told him to go “in that direction” and not return. By the way, this is exactly what the SBU often did in 2014 in relation to the activists of Donbass. Pay attention, because when Gorbenko suddenly “disappeared”, the SBU was not very much concerned about this fact. Apparently, they knew perfectly well where he was, what he was doing and how he was behaving.
- Vladimir Gorbenko himself mentioned that he had previously received an offer to return to Russia with a Ukrainian passport. Why was this needed?
– Firstly, all the sailors of “Nord” were constantly persuaded to recognize themselves as citizens of Ukraine, since they are from the Crimea. They were promised that after that they would be released immediately. However, I think that immediately after that they, on the contrary, would immediately be imprisoned, because as citizens of Russia they could not be charged with anything. But as citizens of Ukraine-it is possible. And, I suppose, since they all refused it, the lawyers did a good job. I would venture to suggest that Gorbenko, if he crossed the border on a Ukrainian passport, would immediately have been arrested and brought new charges. But the Russian consulate would be told – if you please, what is your relation to a citizen of Ukraine?
Secondly, crossing the border with a Ukrainian passport would give the Ukrainian authorities a reason to say – you see, Russia in Crimea forcibly forces Ukrainian citizens to get Russian passports, but when they find themselves on our territory, they immediately recognize themselves as Ukrainians.
Such an interpretation of events by an expert convincingly proves that in the case of the arrest of “Nord”, Ukraine not only did not derive any political advantage for itself, but once again presented itself in an extremely unattractive light. After all, according to Oleg Matveychev, a professor at the National Research University Higher School of Economics, ex-adviser on the domestic policy of the President of the Russian Federation on domestic policy, from the beginning to the end, there were no benefits for the Ukrainian side.
– I don’t see any positive effects in the Nord case either for Poroshenko or for the Ukrainian special services, – he stated. – And with the capture, they, so to speak, got intoxicated, having received a huge amount of negativity, and the “otvetka” quickly flew in the form of measures that Russia subsequently took, including in the Sea of Azov. And for the Ukrainians themselves, this whole story looked absolutely foolish.
However, the head of the Center for the Settlement of Social Conflicts, Oleg Ivanov, is sure, despite the fact that the Ukrainians did not burn out with the “Nord”, in the very near future Russia definitely needs to wait for some new provocations in its address.
– The current president of Ukraine has far from the highest rating among the population, – the expert explained. – In order to consolidate the Ukrainian society, the authorities need an external enemy and, accordingly, some alleged aggressive actions on the part of Russia. Therefore, Poroshenko and his team just have to come up with some kind of provocation to raise the rating, otherwise it will not even go into the second round. He needs to somehow intensify and swing the situation. The aggravation of the situation, I believe, will either be in the Donbas, or in some way connected with the warships in the Kerch Strait. Where exactly this will happen is difficult to say for now, but it will definitely happen.
Additial info ablut the vessel:
The Russian fishing vessel “Nord” with ten crew members on board was seized by Ukrainian border guards on March 25, 2018 in the neutral waters of the Sea of Azov. Administrative cases were brought against nine crew members. The tenth member of the crew, Captain Vladimir Gorbenko, was arrested by the court for two months. On October 30, 2018, the seven sailors of the Nord were exchanged for the crews of the Ukrainian ships YMK-0041 and YaOD-2105, detained by Russian border guards for poaching earlier. Previously, two crew members were able to leave Ukraine with Russian passports issued in return for confiscated by Ukrainian security forces.