Bellingcat has brought out part two of its proof that Sergeyev and Fedotov are the same man. In a tediously long article it takes the reader down the road of four months of investigation that led to the conclusion with which it first started. Helped along the way by the western-sponsored Fontanka (named after one of St. Petersburg’s canals) it makes poor reading. Fontanka’s owner is Victor Shkulev, a man reputably buying up media outlets in the manner Rupert Murdoch once did.
I have to confess I am not very good at recognising people from photographs so in fairness I am not best placed to contradict Professor Hassan Ugail (whose name Bellingcat cannot spell) of the Centre for Visual Computing (whose name Bellingcat cannot spell, despite the funding the blog-site gets). Using sophisticated software his team has concluded that the two men in the pictures above are the same. I have shown these likenesses to someone close to me with better face-recognition skills than me. She could not see it.
The grainy image of the man on the right is clearly some twenty years older and he appears to have found a cure for a receding hairline. He also appears to have had a nose-job. To be fair, though, the only test I have been able to do is in no way conclusive. I held a ruler across chin-lines, mouth-lines, nose-lines, eye-lines, eyebrow lines, and head-lines. They did not match but then that is only a basic test and does not involve any algorithms. So I hold my hand up, and take my cap off, to the superior skills of the Centre for Visual Computing at Bradford for being able to establish that this is Bellingcat’s man.
There is so little time to take apart this hotchpotch of items cobbled together as fact, and time is so precious, I must leave that task to others who have more freedom on their hands. I was rather disappointed that Bellingcat did not mention the Denis Vyacheslavovich Sergeyev I discovered working in the Russian Embassy in Marseille. I was simply told by Bellingcat that there were “tons” of them. Although when I asked if they could confirm that my discovery was not the same man my enquiry met with silence. In their heavily-funded searches they obviously did not find the vice-consul of Marseille but they did find someone with nearly the same name, Denis Vyacheslav Segeyev, and that better fitted their pre-formed meme of vilifying Russia.
Anyway I really must thank Professor Hassan Ugail, and his team, for being able to establish that these identities were the same. I’m sure I could not have done it. What about you?