This is part of a recurrent Russian effort to discredit the highly respected investigative site Bellingcat, which uncovered many elements in cases such as the downing of the MH17 flight or the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergey Skripal and recently the case of Russian opposition activist Alexey Navalny that contradict and expose Russian disinformation narratives.
Bellingcat, an independent international collective of researchers, investigators and citizen journalists, was created in 2014 with the help of private donations received through the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter.
In March 2019 it received a 500 thousand EUR donation from the Dutch postcode lottery. Half of the funding for Bellingcat comes from grants and donations and the other half from running workshops training people in the art of open-source investigations. The platform clearly mentions that:
"around 35% of Bellingcat’s budget is currently raised from workshops"
Much of the grant money does not directly fund investigations and is used for support services such as the translation of documents and training.
Furthermore, Bellingcat has no clients to please. Bellingcat’s funding model frees it to pursue ethics-driven investigations, like documenting the targeting of journalists by police during the Black Lives Matter protests. It also sometimes partners with law enforcement, for example, it helps Europol fight child abuse and is developing best practices to facilitate use of their investigations in court.
In our database, you can find other examples of false accusations against Bellingcat, such as it being anti-Russian, or a tool to destroy Nord Stream 2, and even instrumentalisation by governments to contradict proof of Russia's innocence or its alleged fabrication of evidence against Moscow.