Serhii Korotkykh is a Belarusian neo-NaziAccording to Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group. Halya Coynash, 2014, “Poroshenko grants Belarusian Neo-Nazi Ukrainian citizenship,” Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, December 8, 2012, http://khpg.org/en/index.php?id=1417957695. See also Halya Coynash, 2018, “Neo-Nazi Azov fighter granted Ukrainian citizenship linked with police and far-right vigilantes,” Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, February 5, 2018, http://khpg.org/en/index.php?id=1517799808. and the founder of the Ukrainian NGO Protection and Reconstruction of the Country (also known as Zirka or “Start”). He uses the nickname Malyuta in Ukrainian and Botsman in Russian. Korotkykh is also a former member of the far right organization, Russian National Unity (RNE).
I left RNE in 2001. And I came to Ukraine 13 years later. RNE’s Belarusian branch had pan-Slavic ideas, including uniting Belarusians, Ukrainians, and Russians, with equal rights for each ethnic group based on the principles of traditionalism, conservatism, etc. I still hold similar views.Denis Rafalskiy, “Сергей Коротких: ‘Против меня начали работать структуры Сороса, когда я заявил о внешнем управлении страной’” [Serhii Korotkykh: ‘Soros structures started working against me once I claimed Ukraine was directed from abroad’], Strana.ua, January 9, 2020, https://strana.ua/articles/analysis/243205-intervju-botsmana-korotkikh-ob-avakove-ubijstvakh-sheremeta-i-okuevoj.html.
There is a belief in national justice, in the fact that the state should be nationally-oriented. There are also communities of states that have the same mentality”“Белорус из батальона «Азов» — герой, авантюрист или нацист? История Сергея Коротких” [Belarusian from the Azov Battalion — hero, adventurist or Nazi? The story of Serhii Korkotkykh], Belarus Partisan, January 16, 2015, https://belaruspartisan.by/life/292580/.
A Bundestag deputy from the Alternative for Germany party talks about the degradation of German education. Hi to all the rainbow LGBT activists who, through their struggle for ‘equality,’ are turning an entire generation into stupid idiots! Soon, in all Ukrainian schools, the curriculum will be corrupted by the Sorosyat.S. Korotkykh “Botsman,” “Депутат Бундестага от партии Альтернатива для Германии...” [A Bundestag deputy from the Alternative for Germany party…], Telegram, February 9, 2020, https://t.me/botsmanazov/2475.
Korotkykh was born in 1974. From 1994 to 1996 he studied at a KGB school in Belarus but was later expelled for participating in a “Chornobyl Way” opposition protest as part of a football group.“Белорус из батальона «Азов» - герой, авантюрист или нацист? История Сергея Коротких” [Belarusian from the Azov Battalion — hero, adventurist or Nazi? The story of Serhii Korkotkykh], Belarus Partisan, January 16, 2015, https://belaruspartisan.by/life/292580/.
Activity in Belarussia and Russia
According to media reports, he has been a member of the Belarusian branch of RNE since 1994, although according to his own public statements, he joined the organization in 1999.“Сяргей Кароткіх: згублены «беларускі след» у справе Паўла Шарамета” [Serhii Korotkykh: the lost ‘Belarusian footprint’ in the case of Pavel Sheremet], Belarus Partisan, December 16, 2019, https://belaruspartisan.by/bel/politic/485111/. He became an RNE member through his friend and distant relative Valery Ignatovych, who was convicted of killing five people and abducting Dmitry Zavadsky (a cameraman from the Belarusian TV channel ORT) in 2002.
According to Korotkykh, the RNE financed itself by operating protection rackets at local markets, providing security for church-related buildings and events, and smuggling cars.“Белорус из батальона «Азов» - герой, авантюрист или нацист? История Сергея Коротких” [Belarusian from the Azov Battalion — hero, adventurist or Nazi? The story of Serhii Korkotkykh], Belarus Partisan, January 16, 2015, https://belaruspartisan.by/life/292580/.
In 1999, Korotkykh participated in beating up Belarusian opposition members Andrei Sannykov, Dmitry Bondarenko and Oleg Bebenin. In 2001, he left the RNE and later moved to Russia, where he co-founded the National Socialist Society.
In the summer of 2007, a video called “The Execution of a Dag [Dagestani] and a Tajik” went viral online. In the video, two people tell the camera that they have been “arrested by Russian National Socialists.” They are then murdered against the backdrop of a flag with a swastika. The Investigative Committee of the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office declared the video authentic and identified one of the victims as a resident of Dagestan, named Shamil Udamanov.“Следственный комитет признал подлинность видеозаписи "казни" таджика и дагестанца” [Investigative Committee recognizes the authenticity of the "execution" video of the Tajik and the Dagestani], Lenta.ru, June 5, 2008, https://lenta.ru/news/2008/06/05/authentic/.
According to Israeli film director Vladi Antonevych, who conducted his own investigation into the making of the video and presented his conclusions in the documentary film Credit for Murder, members of the neo-Nazi groups Format-18 and National Socialist Formation (NST) made the recording. He also claims that Serhii Korotkykh committed both murders, while the leader of Format-18, Maxim Martsinkevich (who goes by the nickname “Tesak”), videotaped the killings, and the leader of the NST, Dmitry Rumyantsev, witnessed it.Elena Fanailova, “'Я знаю, кто участвовал в убийстве'” [“I know who participated in the murder“], Radio Svoboda, November 27, 2016, https://www.svoboda.org/a/28131520.html.
Korotkykh conducted regular trainings for NST members, in the form of physical exercises, shooting, and knife combat. In September 2007, he was expelled from the NST for “financial misconduct” and “inciting hostility within the organization.” Korotkykh is also credited with detonating an explosive device in Manezhnaya Square in Moscow on December 27, 2007. Investigators only established his involvement in the incident in 2012, at which point he had already left Russia.Nikita Girin, “Особо злостный гражданин” [A particularly malicious citizen], Novaya Gazeta, December 9, 2014, https://novayagazeta.ru/articles/2014/12/09/62280-osobo-zlostnyy-grazhdanin.
In February 2013, Korotkykh and Martsinkevich clashed with anti-fascists from Minsk. The anti-fascists poured urine on Martsinkevich, and in response he fired a non-lethal gas pistol while Korotkykh stabbed one of the attackers several times.Nikita Girin, “Особо злостный гражданин” [A particularly malicious citizen], Novaya Gazeta, December 9, 2014, https://novayagazeta.ru/articles/2014/12/09/62280-osobo-zlostnyy-grazhdanin. Martsinkevich and Korotkykh were detained and released ten days later.“Сяргей Кароткіх: згублены «беларускі след» у справе Паўла Шарамета” [Serhii Korotkykh: the lost ‘Belarusian footprint’ in the case of Pavel Sheremet], Belarus Partisan, December 16, 2019, https://belaruspartisan.by/bel/politic/485111/.
Korotkykh in Ukraine
Korotkykh has been in Ukraine since 2014. He fought in the conflict in eastern Ukraine as part of a reconnaissance unit of the Azov Battalion. In December 2014, he received Ukrainian citizenship, during a solemn ceremony in which then-president Petro Poroshenko thanked him for his service.
In May 2015, he became the head of the newly-created Police Department for the Security of Strategic Objects, under the Ukrainian Interior Ministry’s Department of the State Security Service. He managed this department until 2017.“Всеїдність і охоронний бізнес. Хто фінансує «Національний корпус»” [Omnivorous and security business. Who finances the “National Corps”], Texty.org.ua, March 28, 2019, http://texty.org.ua/pg/article/editorial/read/92374/.
Allegations of Murder
On July 26, 2015, Azov Battalion commander and lawyer Yaroslav Babych was found hung in his own apartment. The official investigation claims that his death was a suicide, but this has been contested by his widow, Larysa Babych, as well as former Azov ideologue, Oleh Odnorozhenko.Oleg Odnorozhenko, Facebook, “ВІДПОВІДЬ ВБИВЦЯМ ЯРОСЛАВА БАБИЧА” [Response to the murder of Yaroslav Babych], Facebook, June 7, 2018, https://www.facebook.com/oleg.odnorozhenko1/posts/200850480543993. Both believe that Babych was murdered by Korotkykh.
According to Larysa Babych, Korotkykh killed her husband because of a financial conflict in the Azov leadership.Oleh Chernysh, “Вдова екс-керівника "Азова" Бабича назвала вбивць чоловіка і закликала СБУ відновити розслідування” [The widow of the former “Azov” leader Babych named husband’s murderes and called on the SBU to resume investigation], Ukrainski Novyny, March 15, 2019, https://ukranews.com/ua/news/619918-vdova-eks-kerivnyka-azova-babycha-nazvala-vbyvts-cholovika-i-zaklykala-sbu-vidnovyty-rozsliduvannya. The presence of sailors’ knots on the rope that hung Yaroslav Babych is cited as evidence supporting her version of the incident. Korotkykh has an interest in yachting, according to his own stories.Rafalskiy, “Сергей Коротких: ‘Против меня начали работать структуры Сороса, когда я заявил о внешнем управлении страной’” [Serhii Korotkykh: ‘Soros structures started working against me once I claimed Ukraine was directed from abroad’]. According to Odnorozhenko and Larysa Babych, another Azov member helped carry out the murder: Serhii Korovin, who goes by the nickname Horst.
At least one media outlet has independently accused Korotkykh of killing Belarusian journalist Pavel Sheremet.“Сяргей Кароткіх: згублены «беларускі след» у справе Паўла Шарамета” [Serhii Korotkykh: the lost ‘Belarusian footprint’ in the case of Pavel Sheremet], Belarus Partisan, December 16, 2019, https://belaruspartisan.by/bel/interview/485111. Reporters claim that before his death, Sheremet met with Korotkykh, as well as the head of National Corps, Andrii Biletskyi, and other right-wing figures.Hromadske, “«Вбивство Павла». Розслідування загибелі журналіста Шеремета” [“Pavel’s murder.’ An investigation of the killing of journalist Sheremet], Youtube, May 10, 2017, https://youtu.be/MA6OsF10Fa0. The fact that Sheremet was investigating the murder of Dmitry Zavadsky (his former colleague) is cited as a probable motive among those accusing Korotkykh of killing Sheremet. However, Korotkykh claims that he has an alibi for the time of Zavadsky's assassination,“Белорус из батальона «Азов» - герой, авантюрист или нацист? История Сергея Коротких” [Belarusian from the Azov Battalion — hero, adventurist or Nazi? The story of Serhii Korkotkykh], Belarus Partisan, January 16, 2015, https://belaruspartisan.by/life/292580/. and has also expressed doubts that Valery Ignatovych was involved in the murder.
According to another theory of the Sheremet case, put forward by Artur Denysultanov—who attempted to assassinate Chechen volunteer fighter, Adam Osmayev and his wife, Amin Okuyev—Sheremet was investigating the murder of Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov. Denysultanov claims that Sheremet had discovered that Nemtsov’s murderers had been in contact with Korotkykh and Okuyev. Denysultanov also claims that Korotkykh, Okuyev, and Osmayev were involved in converting Russian money in Ukraine, under the supervision of Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov.Aleksandr Sybyrtsev, “Динго: 'Меня послали к Осмаеву и Окуевой, чтоб они вернули пропавшие из "конверта" $2,7 млн'” [Dyngo: “I was sent to Osmayev and Okuyeva to return $2.7 million missing from the ‘envelope’”], Strana.ua, January 2, 2020, https://strana.ua/articles/interview/242463-intervju-killera-dinho-ob-ubijstve-okuevoj-i-sheremeta.html.
Journalists have also accused Korotkykh of killing Tymur Makhuri, a fighter from the unofficial pro-Chechen independence volunteer battalion, Sheikh Mansur.“Сяргей Кароткіх: згублены «беларускі след» у справе Паўла Шарамета” [Serhii Korotkykh: the lost ‘Belarusian footprint’ in the case of Pavel Sheremet], Belarus Partisan, December 16, 2019, https://belaruspartisan.by/bel/politic/485111/. At the beginning of a video, shot just after the blast that killed Makhauri, a man in a purple sweatshirt and light pants walks around, making no attempt to pull the body from the car or record the scene. The person filming resembles Korotkykh.Aleks Cats, “первые секунды после взрыва в Киеве 08.09.17” [first seconds after an explosion in Kyiv 08.09.17], Youtube, September 8, 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RuLkYGJynwU.
Korotkykh claims that he opposes Avakov because he is a member of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s cabinet. However, the media has published information about his communications with Avakov’s son, Oleksandr. Their connection was revealed after Oleksandr Avakov was robbed while he and Korotkykh were at a restaurant. According to journalists, Korotkykh made a statement to the police following the incident rather than Avakov.“В Киеве обокрали сына главы МВД Арсена Авакова: опубликовано видео” [In Kyiv, the son of the head of the MVD Arsen Avakov was robbed: published video], Obozrevatel, August 12, 2016, https://www.obozrevatel.com/crime/89352-v-kieve-obokrali-sina-arsena-avakova-aleksandr-avakov-restotran-marokana-video.htm.
Local activists defending Protasiv Yar, a green space in Kyiv, have told the media that the security company Foxtrot-13 is protecting the local property developer. They claim that the security company in question has been linked to Korotkykh and that he has been spotted at the site. Korotkykh denies any involvement with Foxtrot-13.Vyktoryia Roshchyna, “«Это настоящий лес в центре города»: удастся ли киевлянам отстоять Протасов Яр” [ “This is a real forest in the center of the city”: whether Kyiv will be able to defend Protasiv Yar,], Hromadske, June 25, 2019, https://hromadske.ua/ru/posts/eto-nastoyashij-les-v-centre-goroda-udastsya-li-kievlyanam-otstoyat-protasov-yar. However, in 2018, the company donated UAH 560,000 (around $20,700) to National Corps. According to the declarations portal for state officials NAZK, Foxtrot-13 is made up of police officers, serving in a specialized police department that protects facilities of national strategic importance.“Всеїдність і охоронний бізнес. Хто фінансує «Національний корпус»” [Omnivorous and security business. Who finances the “National Corps”], Texty.org.ua, March 28, 2019, http://texty.org.ua/pg/article/editorial/read/92374/.
On October 31, 2020, the non-governmental research organization Institute of National Policy published a dossier on Serhii Korotkykh, claiming that he was connected with the Russian FSB. “Заключение комиссии «Изучения агентов влияния» при Международной ассоциации «Институт Национальной Политики» по Коротких Сергею Аркадьевичу\Коротких Сергій Аркадійович\Korotkykh Serhii Arkadiiovych, 13 августа 1974 г.р.”, Інститут Національної Політики, 8 січня 2021, https://www.institutenp.com/zakluchenie-korotkykh-30-10-2020. On December 28, 2020, one of the authors of the dossier, Ivan Beletsky, was abducted and severely beaten near Kyiv.С. Проскуряков, “«Інститут національної політики» виклав досьє, де звинувачує Сергія Коротких у роботі на спецслужби РФ. Автора досьє побили. Розповідаємо, що це означає”, Заборона, 8 січня 2021, https://zaborona.com/institut-naczionalnoyi-politiki-viklav-dosye-de-zvinuvachuye-sergiya-korotkih-u-roboti-na-speczsluzhbi-rf.
On August 3, 2021, Vitaliy Shyshov, the head of the Belarusian House in Ukraine, was found hanged in a park in Kyiv. According to media reports, the Belarusian House in Ukraine is linked to Serhiy Korotkykh. In particular, he helped to register BSU with the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine.А. Літвінава, “Што вядома пра «Беларускі дом ва Ўкраіне», кіраўніка якога знайшлі павешаным”, Радыё Свабода, 3 серпня 2021, https://svaboda.azureedge.net/a/31391238.html. On August 3, Korotkykh wrote on the Telegram channel that he was convinced that Shyshov had been killed."Загибель Шишова: що відомо про нього та "Білоруський дім в Україні" ДОПОВНЕНО", Суспільне, 3 серпня 2021, https://suspilne.media/152758-zagibel-sisova-so-vidomo-pro-nogo-ta-biloruskij-dim-v-ukraini.
On August 6, a video was posted on YouTube containing fragments of Serhii Korotkykh's alleged interrogation by the Russian FSB, his statement signed on voluntary cooperation with Russia's secret services, and recordings of personal conversations with Russian law enforcement officers and members of the National Socialist Society.П. Вернігор, “З’явилося відео, де соратник Авакова погоджується працювати з ФСБ. Розповідаємо, що відбувається”, Заборона, 6 серпня, 2021, https://zaborona.com/na-anonimnomu-yutub-kanali-zyavylosya-video-de-sergij-korotkyh-pogodzhuyetsya-praczyuvaty-z-fsb.
Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine
National Socialist Society (Russia)
Protection and Reconstruction of the Country
Russian National Unity