Chainalysis, the specialist in blockchain analysis, publishes an investigation in which we learn that some pro-Russian propaganda media call for donations in cryptocurrencies. These donations are used to finance paramilitary groups, operating in particular in the Donbass region.
Pro-Russian militias receive donations in cryptocurrencies
In an investigation published on Friday, Chainalysis informs about the donations received in cryptocurrencies by pro-Russian fighters, in the context of the invasion of Ukraine. According to the analysis of the activity on different blockchains, 54 organizations could thus be identified.
In total, more than 2.2 million dollars were collected. Various propaganda media on social networks serve as intermediaries to collect the funds, in order to redistribute them to the fighters. Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) are the main sources of revenue.
According to Chainalysis, about half of the propaganda actors, calling for donations, do so for the benefit of paramilitary groups in the Donbass region.
Among these various supporters is Alexander Zhuchkovsky, an activist subject to sanctions by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). Since 2014, he has reportedly managed to collect 200 million rubles to finance military equipment, the equivalent of $3.21 million.
Funds used to buy military equipment
The investigation reveals that the media involved regularly publish photos of the equipment purchased. This includes all the classic military equipment one can imagine: weapons, ammunition, bulletproof vests, but also drones. Chainalysis notes that the communications are explicit, to say the least:
“[…] we have only 150,000 rubles left to collect for a drone that can bring gifts to the positions of our Ukrainian friends. We hope we can shoot it on video and delight you with interesting shots.”
If such a use of our ecosystem is to be deplored, however, it must be put into perspective. As Chainalysis notes, compared to the donations received by Ukraine, these donations are a minority. Moreover, the public nature of the blockchains used allows to glean valuable information, which can then be shared with the relevant authorities.