03.10.2022

According to the new york times, companies such as paypal, visa and citybank may have been involved in the transfer of funds, thereby undermining the sanctions imposed by the usa and the eu

In an article, the new york times is very critical of the fact that several organizations in russia are raising money in a crowdfunding style "people’s republics" in the donbass, using the russian state banks as well. The kremlin, i.E. President putin, is accused of controlling the flow of money to non-governmental organizations, but not paying attention to the presumably millions of us dollars collected in russia for the separatist fighters, thus indirectly supporting them. The eu, the u.S. And other countries have arrested individuals of the "people’s republics" as well as these republics, militias, organizations and companies on the sanctions list -"in the face of actions that undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty, and independence of the ukrainian" – set.

As is well known, russia supports with aid convoys the "people’s republics" regularly. As always organized, weapons and russian fighters/soldiers also arrive in donbass. Officially, moscow does not demand the independence of the donbass and does not openly support it militarily, but supports the minsk agreement and demands direct negotiations between kiev and the separatists. That in russia the sympathy for the separatists is rough, one knows for a long time. Therefore, it is not surprising if the russians donate to their support and there are organizations that call for donations. There are also well-known names such as igor girkin and yekaterina and pavel gubareva.

For the nyt, the support groups are "part of an online campaign that brazenly raises money for the war in eastern ukraine, using tactics that have at least the tacit support of vladimir putin’s government. Although they often portray their mission as humanitarian, most groups explicitly support the armed insurgency and pledge to help dislodge forces in the two regions at the center of the fighting, donetsk and lugansk." the fact that money is also being raised in ukraine for militias such as right sector is not mentioned in the article. Russia has frozen several thousand accounts of supporters of suspected terrorist organizations, but the fighters in eastern ukraine have not been classified as illegal, the nyt says. The newspaper itself seems to be part of an anti-russian campaign. Thus john herbst, a staff member of the atlantic council zand former ambassador to ukraine not further commented is quoted as saying: "anyone in russia who wants to help the dpr and lpr will be encouraged and supported by the russian government."

However, according to the nyt’s research, it is not about huge sums of money. The humanitarian battalion of novorossiya is said to have provided slightly more than 200.000 us dollars to the group "save the donbass" 1.3 million. Us companies such as mastercard, visa, and paypal are to be singled out by the report because they were able to facilitate donations even from people who do not live in russia. Citibank, jpmorgan chase and deutsche bank, through which payments could be made, are also being targeted. However, the nyt cannot substantiate whether this happened. Due to the imposed sanctions, the european or us companies, if they participated in the transfer of funds to the "people’s republic" are involved in the case. According to the nyt, a cat-and-mouse game has been established in which the sub-user organizations often change their accounts and names. However, the sanction lists were not renewed as quickly as the groups changed their names, as practiced by strelkow, for example. The organization of the latter now no longer gives any accounts online, but only communicates them on request by email, which, however, was not allowed to be a special protection either.

Particular attention is paid to qiwi, a russian company with 17 million customers, which is based in cyprus and makes it possible to deposit money online, for example via skype or at atms. Since 2012, visa has been a partner in russia of qiwi, iing qiwi visa credit cards. Not only at the sec, but also in russia the listed company qiwi has already problems, because since last year for transfers the presentation of an id is necessary, which does not take place at the self-service machines and with the credit cards. Sergei solonin, the head of qiwi, explained in a phone conversation with the nyt that they had already blocked some accounts mentioned by the newspaper last summer because they were collecting donations that are prohibited by the company’s policy, which states, for example, that qiwi may not be used for political donations. After the telephone conversation, however, according to information on some websites of the supporting organizations, other accounts were blocked, while the group dobrovolec.Org, which supports the separatists and seeks fighters, on 26. May qiwi and sberbank accounts for donations. The sberbank account is still listed, also a yandex account.Money account, the qiwi account may have been removed already.

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