February 14, 2019

“Today Oprichniks in Russia Have Become Boyars”

Interview with President of the “Borysfen Intel” Centre Victor Hvozd


The role of intelligence agencies in the system of national security and defense of the state in the context of hybrid aggression continued in an interview with Victor Hvozd, President of the “Borysfen Intel” Centre. This time he answered the questions of the host of the program “The Evening Thermal Imager” Taras Moklyak. The tone of the whole conversation was directed by the host's first question about the attitude to the tasks of the intelligence agencies of their leaders, in particular, of the ex-Chairman of the Foreign Intelligence of Ukraine, Hryhoriy Illyashov, who occupied this position during the presidency of Yanukovych. According to the open information, said the host, the above-mentioned intelligence structure at that time was characterized by certain peculiarities that were somehow related to the events associated with the annexation of the Crimea, hostilities in the Donbas. So today, the society wants to hear from the mouth of professionals to what extent professional the work of intelligence agencies was at that time, whether they now take into considerations the faults made, whether the mistakes have been eliminated, and if yes — then how, and if such miscalculations are possible in the future?

Answering these and other questions, V. Hvozd explained that at the time of his appointment as the chief of the Foreign Intelligence, de facto in the East we did not have sources of the information needed for the report to the government. Besides, the very organizational structure of the Foreign Intelligence did not correspond to the tasks which it was supposed to perform, its mobilization component needed a serious improvement. And most importantly — I had to raise the moral spirit of the personnel. In general, this was the state of the whole system that was responsible for ensuring the national security of Ukraine, including other intelligence, counterintelligence structures, Armed Forces, etc.

V. Hvozd, said that from his Day One in the post of the Chairman of the Foreign Intelligence he had been removing all the drawbacks. First of all, it was important to overcome the bureaucratic activity, get the entire intelligence mechanism up and running, and, in parallel, to perform his official duties to provide the government with the necessary information for important decision-making. It soon became apparent that not all high officials were ready for this, there were even cases when respectable officials refused to perform their duties, did not appear at workplaces. It also turned out that the very structure of the Intelligence, due to its imperfection, needed immediate changes. In V. Hvozd's opinion, such problems were the result of the targeted influence of Russian special services. This is confirmed, in particular, by such facts as the appointment (until 2014) of Russian citizens into responsible posts in our country.

V. Hvozd also explained how foreign special services, in particular, Russian ones, can use and did use our high officials to advance their interests. Even despite the agreement signed with us about not conducting any intelligence actions against each other. To illustrate the example of such a confrontation with the Russian “opponents”, he recalled his conversations with their leaders after preventing Russian intelligence operations in our territory and detaining those who took part in them.

As for the lustration in our state bodies, which was held shortly after the Maydan in 2014, V. Hvozd considers the idea to be appropriate. But it was embodied, in his opinion, rather superficially, unprofessionally, and as a result, true experts, many of whom had been taking part in the creation of our state structures, intelligence included, found themselves on the road side. Who benefited from that, and who should be responsible for the lost — it is easy to understand from the consequences of such lustration. V. Hvozd is sure, that those guilty will have to answer for this sooner or later, especially because such things will not be forgiven by the society.

Also, the guest of the program, answering other questions, explained how to understand recent events that alarm our society. Such as the recent clash of activists near the Podil district police department or agitation during the 2019 presidential campaign. He shared his thoughts on the state of affairs in Russia, where, in his words, “autocrats have always used oprichniks to oppress the people, and where today Russian oprichniks have become boyars”.

What else was discussed in the interview for the program “The Evening Thermal Imager”, what examples from his own intelligence experience were mentioned by V. Hvozd, explaining the events that took place at different time in Ukraine, one can learn by watching the program.


  Watch the program (in Ukranian):