Investigators emphasize that the exposed intelligence officer who tried to get a job in the Hague court managed to confuse many people.
Dutch intelligence (AIVD) announced the exposure of a member of the Russian military intelligence (GRU), who tried to get a job as an intern at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. The detailed AIVD press release contained a lot of information about the man, including his real identity and the “legend” created by the GRU. Investigators of the Bellingcat project studied this information and found traces of him on the Web and in real life.
According to AIVD, the GRU agent's name is Sergey Vladimirovich Cherkasov, he was born on September 11, 1985. He acted under a false name – the Brazilian Victor Muller Ferreira, born on April 4, 1989.
“Available information from open sources shows that for several years Cherkasov played the role of an ambitious political science student leading an analytical website with pro-Western content “, notes Bellingcat.
Victor Müller Ferreira
The biography of the GRU agent, which he used as a front, is set out in his profile on myvisajobs.com. It says that Victor Muller worked as a travel agent in Brazil, then studied at Trinity College Dublin for a bachelor's degree in political science in 2014-18, then received a master's degree in the Johns Hopkins SAIS program in 2018-20.
The blog contains links to Viktor's Facebook and Twitter pages.
“It is worth noting that the biographical information on his Facebook page matches the 'letter-legend', which details his childhood and that he hails from 'Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, in Niteroi',” writes Bellingcat.
Most of the tweets are dedicated to supporting Trump. The account also shared a 2017 Bellingcat article about GRU officer digital identities.
Sergei Vladimirovich Cherkasov
Information about the true identity of the Russian spy has been harder to come by, but investigators have been able to unearth something in some of the “leaked” databases. “Some of the data that was found in offline databases, such as passport number and travel history, appears to have been manually deleted from other Russian databases and data processing services, as is usually the case with security personnel,” Bellingcat emphasizes. We can see that the data was intentionally removed because Cherkasov's information is preserved in leaked offline databases that Bellingcat downloaded several years ago, while the same data does not appear in actual databases and services.”
< p>Cherkasov is originally from Kaliningrad, and from 2005 to 2008 he often traveled by train between that city and Moscow under the name Cherkasov. Then he was 20 years old, so investigators suggest that this is his real name, and not just another cover. After all, most of the GRU officers whose biographies they studied before began working undercover at the age of at least 25.
< p>The databases also contained records of three flights within Russia that Cherkasov made in the summer of 2015, apparently during the summer vacation after his first year in Dublin.
“In the coming weeks, no doubt, there will be more information about Cherkasov, as the GRU agent was not very secretive on the Web and left a lot of digital footprints,” Bellingcat is sure. “One of his lecturers at Johns Hopkins University has already spoken out, saying: “I feel anger, I feel stupid, I feel naive, I feel tired. I got wrapped around my finger.”