Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative aimed at discrediting serious Western journalists that engage in research on Kremlin-promoted hybrid warfare and hostile influence operations (disinformation, assassination attempts against opposition figures and defectors, clandestine paramilitary operations) by claiming that they spread disinformation and are driven by “Russophobia”.
This article adds a new twist to the narrative by claiming that such journalists are controlled by Western intelligence services and that they are involved in the West’s alleged efforts to destabilise Russia.
The article is also consistent with disinformation narratives that seeks to discredit Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny by claiming that he is an agent of Western intelligence.
Bellingcat - an independent international collective of researchers, investigators and citizen journalists using open source and social media investigation to probe a variety of subjects - and Christo Grozev, one of Bellingcat’s leading investigators, have often been targeted by pro-Kremlin disinformation campaigns.
There is no evidence to support the article’s claims. Christo Grozev is a well-known, award-winning and highly qualified Bulgarian investigative journalist and media expert, who has authored important investigations, such as the investigation into the identity of the suspects of the 2018 Novichok poisoning of Sergey Skripal and his daughter (which earned him and his team the European Prize for Investigative Journalism) and the investigation into the downing of the MH17 passenger aircraft.
Bellingcat discovered key information about the downing of MH17 on 17 July 2014, including tracking the missile launcher that shot down MH17 from its base in Russia to Ukraine, locating the field where the missile was launched from and identifying a number of suspects involved with the incident. Bellingcat's findings that the Russian military was involved were later corroborated by international investigators.
Grozev also investigated the October 2016 attempted coup d’état in Montenegro and the Alexey Navalny poisoning case.
Read similar cases claiming that Buzzfeed and Bellingcat deliberately spread anti-Russian disinformation and that Buzzfeed hires Russophobic journalists, spreads false information and incites hatred.