Russian site Ukraina.ru published a story this week claiming that volunteer work in Ukraine is the most profitable profession. The author, Igor Serdyukov, has penned many fakes about events in Ukraine, this time he claims that volunteers , often people with a shady past, are supplying weapons, ammunition, medicines and food to the Ukrainian army and getting rich in the process.
Infopolk.ru, informburo DN.ua and other Russian media disseminated this story.
Serdyukov focuses on well-known Ukrainian volunteer Yuriy Biriukov, who is currently an aide to Ukraine’s Defense Minister.
Helping the front is so profitable that Biriukov today owns an IT company based in the US and an agricultural company in Ukraine, Serdyukov declares in Ukraina.ru.
Biriukov really was a businessman who owned companies, but he built those companies long before he began to do volunteer work. Responding to StopFake’s inquiry, Biriukov explained that he sold his companies in 2014. The web site of one of his old companies, Kovalevskaya Klubnichka, does not contain any new information since 2014.
Another volunteer whom Serdyukov accuses of benefiting from the volunteer movement is Tatiana Rychkova, a Dnipro city native and member of Ukraine’s parliament and aide to the Defense Minister. Serdyukov accuses Rychkova of stealing donation funds for her personal enrichment and uses her recently published income declaration as alleged proof.
Rychkova explained that she refinanced her mortgage after her husband was killed in the war in the occupied Donbas. Her bank offers a special financing program to veterans. According to the terms of the refinancing, the bank wrote Rychkova off some 60,000 of Rychkova’s mortgage debt.
Rychkova’s husband joined a volunteer battalion when Russian backed separatists seized eastern Ukraine. She in turn began working as a volunteer raising supplies and medicine for the battalion. Vadym Rychkov was killed in August 2014.
Rychkova was elected to Ukraine’s parliament in a 2015 by-election.