UNMASKED

Bellingcat Names Second Russian GRU Officer in Montenegro Plot

Investigators at Bellingcat say they have revealed the true identity of a second Russian intelligence officer involved in a failed coup attempt in Montenegro in 2016. The man known to Montenegro prosecutors under the pseudonym Vladimir Popov is actually  Vladimir Nikolaevich Moiseev, a lieutenant colonel or colonel with Russia’s GRU, according to a joint investigation by Bellingcat and The Insider. Moiseev, or “Popov,” is wanted for allegedly creating a criminal organization, plotting against Montenegro’s Constitutional order, and attempted terrorism. He and another Russian intelligence officer earlier identified as Eduard Shishmakov are believed to have been key players in a violent coup plot widely seen as a last-ditch effort by the Kremlin to prevent Montenegro from joining NATO. Moiseev is said to have studied at an academy known for producing military engineers before he was apparently recruited by the GRU, and he is believed to have later served in an GRU airborne Spetsnaz unit that took part in operations in Georgia. While operating under the cover identity of “Vladimir Popov” from 2012 to 2016,  Moiseev reportedly traveled around Europe masquerading as a “photo correspondent” and “journalist” working for a publication focused on the insurance industry.