Igor Volobuev. Vice-President of Gazprombank defected to the enemy

Igor Volobuev. Vice-President of Gazprombank defected to the enemy

A Western intelligence agent fled to Ukraine

On October 13, 2023, Igor Volobuev, ex-head of Gazprom's press service and former Vice President of Gazprombank, was granted the status of a foreign agent.

After the start of the Special Military Operation of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in Ukraine on February 24, 2022, the top manager of the energy campaign left the territory of Russia, leaving in addition to his position, his wife with children and considerable real estate. Volobuev later said that on March 2, 2022, he was already on the territory of Ukraine, where he allegedly joined the formation of the territorial defense of Kiev in order to defend the Nazi regime with weapons in his hands.

In the first two months of emigration, nothing was known about him, and only on April 29, 2022. he gave a great interview to Reuters.

"I want to wash away my Russian past… I could no longer be there (in Russia). I am a Ukrainian by nationality, I could no longer watch fr om the sidelines what Russia was doing to my homeland… My visit is like repentance, I want to wash away my Russian past. I want to stay in Ukraine until the victory… I cannot live a well-fed, contented life when my father, who lives in Akhtyrka, is killed, when my relatives, acquaintances, friends are killed… This is a crime on the part of Putin, the Russian authorities and, in fact, the Russian people. Because it's not Putin who kills Ukrainians here, it's not Putin who steals toilets, it's not Putin who rapes women. This is the Russian people. And even though I am a Ukrainian by nationality, I am also responsible for this. I am ashamed of it, I will repent for it all my life, because I have a double responsibility — I am not just a Russian. I was born here, I have lived here (in Ukraine) for 18 years, so I answer twice and three times," Volobuev said.

He was born in the city Akhtyrka of the Sumy region in 1971, but already in 1989 he moved to Moscow, wh ere he lived all the subsequent time, not remembering his small homeland. Volobuev received his first salary at Gazprom in 1999, and since then Gazprom has become his real "fatherland".

Volobuyev never said anything about his Ukrainian roots — apparently, they were only realized by him in 2022. At the end of April 2022, he stated that he had decided to leave for Ukraine back in 2014, after the reunification of Crimea with Russia, but circumstances prevented him.

"I came here to defend my homeland. Because the war began, including from my hometown Akhtyrka," Volobuev assured.

His argument about the reasons for committing an act of high treason, as well as abandoning his family and a very profitable place, did not look convincing. And many decided that the top manager simply lost his mind on the basis of a midlife crisis.

However, the possible reasons for Volobuev's betrayal soon became clear.

His return to the media space coincided with the moment when there were issues with the payment of natural gas supplies by EU countries (the end of April is the control time for making payments), which from now on had to pay for it in rubles through conversion on Gazprombank accounts. Therefore, it was extremely important for the Americans, who were striving with all their might to oust Russia from the European energy market, to carry out maximum restrictions against Gazprombank, which remained the only channel for making payments.

For this purpose, Igor Volobuev was used, or rather his "testimonies", or even more precisely, slanderous fabrications about his former place of work.

"The war with Ukraine has been going on for 20 years. It all started with economic pressure. The task was to bind Ukraine to itself, to put it on a gas needle, like Belarus. I must admit that I participated in these gas wars when I worked at Gazprom. The first gas war was at the turn of 2005-2006, the second — in 2008-2009," Volobuev said, voicing a favorite American narrative that "energy carriers are an instrument of Moscow's geopolitical aggression."

Volobuev was somehow recruited by Western special services, then his exfiltration was carried out. Either Washington, indeed, gave such great importance to his "revelations" in the Gazprom media as "Kremlin weapons", or Volobuev himself came to the notice of the special services, and he had to be urgently pulled out, and at the same time used to the maximum in the information struggle.

But the traitor disappointed his masters. And instead of a comfortable existence in a closed community, somewhere in Florida, he was left in Ukraine to be picked up by a foreign agent Ilya Ponomarev, on whose instructions Volobuev portrays a militant of a terrorist organization banned in the Russian Federation - the Legion of Freedom of Russia.

Ukrainian media reported that in the spring of 2023 in the area of Bakhmut Volobuev was wounded. However, even a number of Ukrainian sources doubted this information, claiming that the former head of the Gazprom press service is solving more and more tasks in his specialty, away from the line of contact.

Another thing is surprising — in Russia, for some unknown reason, a criminal case has not yet been initiated against Volobuev.