MH370 Passenger’s Daughter: “The Evidence is That He is Not Dead” UPDATED

After reading my book a journalist with the UK’s Daily Star newspaper, David Rivers, reached out to the daughter of passenger Sergei Deineka, Liza Deineka, whose social media postings I quoted. He published her response in a story today.

As you may recall, just 11 day after her father and all the other passengers aboard MH370 had effectively been declared dead by the Malaysian prime minister, Liza posted a photo of herself with her father on Instagram with the comment, “Happy Birthday, Daddy.” Several friends added comments with their own well-wishes. One wrote, “With the birthday boy! Let everything always be good for him,” followed by a string of emojis: a blushing, smiling face; a gift wrapped with a bow; a noisemaker; confetti; a toy balloon; a bow. “Thank you,” Liza responded, with a kissy-face emoji.

I found this exchange startling because signals transmitted from MH370 suggested that the plane was hijacked to Russia. Since Deineka and Chustrak were former Soviet Army veterans who happened to be sitting right under the SDU, they seemed top suspects as potential hijackers. Of course, if they took the plane and flew it to Kazakhstan, they would not be dead as commonly assumed, but alive. And Liza’s social media posts (both here and elsewhere) seemed to be saying just that.

I long ago reached out directly to Chustrak and Deineka’s families but had been told they didn’t wish to speak to me. Rivers, however, had better luck. After he contacted her and asked about my theory she responded with a statement. The translation reads:

Since March 8, 2014, I have not seen or heard (from) my dad. The evidence is that he is not dead, so all I can do is hope for the best.
I am very sorry people want to discuss and condemn the emotions of people who have a missing person missing. I don’t agree with many in this article.
Starting with answers, ending the reasons why my dad flew this way. They flew to Beijing to get a visa.
No plane wreckage was found, so I can’t be sure that they crashed. All I can do is hope that people could be saved.
Unfortunately, so far no one has given us reliable information about what happened to the plane and the people in it.”

A couple of things about this statement struck me as remarkable.

First, though Rivers doesn’t clarify this in his article, the reason that Liza brings up the visa is that she’s attempting to explain why her father and his partner were on the plane in the first place. As I described in my book, Chustrak’s widow stated in a Ukrainian court filing that her husband and Deineka were traveling to Beijing in order to get to a trade show in Guangzhou. Yet this is a very roundabout way to get from Kuala Lumpur to Guangzhou.

In this statement, Liza seems to be suggesting that this leg of their journey was necessary in order for the men to get the visas they needed for their trip. But that’s not how travel into China works. A Russian friend of mine who lives in China emailed me that “Visas should be obtained either outside China or, if you have an invitation from a Chinese company, in a port of entry through special police facilities. It takes a week to get a one-year multiple visa, a couple of days for one-entry visa.”

In 2013 the Chinese introduced an exception, whereby you could fly without a visa to certain cities (including both Beijing and Guangzhou) and stay for up to 72 hours if you had an onward ticket to a third country. Ukrainians were among the nationalities qualified to get these Transit Visas.

Regardless of which of these options Chustrak and Deineka might have intended to avail themselves of, since any visa facilities that are available in Beijing are also available in Guangzhuo, I am unable to discern a visa-related reason for these men to go to Beijing. If any readers feel otherwise I would very much welcome their input.

The second thing I find remarkable about Liza Deineka’s statement is this: “The evidence is that he is not dead.” The most mundane interpretation of this statement would be that she means there is no evidence he is dead—but on the face of it she is saying something quite different, namely that there is positive evidence for his still being alive. I can’t imagine what this evidence might be, but if such a thing existed it would be of course highly interesting. I’ve asked Rivers to send me the original statement in Russian, in hopes that a close parsing of the original by a native speaker will clarify her meaning. He’s said he will and I’ll post an update when that happens.

By the way, she writes “I am very sorry people want to discuss and condemn the emotions of people who have a missing person missing.” I think it should be self-evident that I’m not condemning her emotions, to which I’m sympathetic; rather I’m trying to understand the meaning of the things that she wrote and posted on social media.

It’s a confusing situation. On the one hand, her family is part of a suit against Malaysia Airlines for wrongful death; on the other hand, they haven’t had him declared dead in Ukraine. If his family celebrated his birthday in March of 2015 that suggests they believed he was alive, whereas here she says “all I can do is hope for the best.”

Also, I don’t know what she means by “No plane wreckage was found, so I can’t be sure that they crashed.” Several pieces of wreckage have been found that have been confirmed to have come from MH370, as anyone with even a glancing familiarity with the case wouldl know.

Rivers tells me that Deineka has said she is unwilling to answer any further questions. This is a pity, because if her father’s presence aboard MH370 was innocent then I think a simple clarification of what the men were doing and why would clear up the fog of suspicion.

By the way, I get that the Daily Star’s journalism is not held in particularly high regard. But Rivers has clearly done some real reporting here, and apart from some tendentious language (and an entirely fabricated quote in the headline, for which I do not hold him responsible) his article is accurate.

UPDATE 5/21/19: David Rivers has sent me the texts of the original messages he got from Liza Deineka:

I first put your blog post to her for her right of reply, she said: К сожалению ,я не могу найти эту информацию в интернете.не могли бы вы прислать мне отрывок,где упоминается о моем отце?

I sent your blog post to her, and she said: С 8 марта 2014 года я не видела и не слышала своего папу.Доказательств что он мертв нет,так что все что мне остаётся это надеятся на лучшее!
Мне очень жаль ,что люди хотят обсудить и осудить эмоции людей,у которых близкий человек пропал безвести.Я со многим не согласна в этой статье.начиная с моих ответов ,заканчивая причинами почему мой папа летел таким путём.
Летели они через Пекин ,чтобы получить визу.

Then, I asked her what she mean by ‘evidence is my dad is still alive’, she said: Обломки самолета не были найдены,так что я не могу быть уверена ,что они разбились.Все что я могу делать-это надеяться,что люди могли спастись.
К сожалению,до сих пор никто не дал нам достоверную информацию что случилось с самолетом и людьми в нем.

I then asked what her thoughts were on the debris found, and she said she no longer wished to talk about the subject.

It would seem that Liza Deineka believes that no MH370 debris has been recovered from the Indian Ocean, and that this is positive evidence that her father is still alive. It may be that she has not paid particularly close attention to how the case has unfolded. [UPDATE TO THE UPDATE, 6/6/19: Reader TheBlueMarble writes: “My Russian is not perfect (and neither is my English), but the meaning of ‘Доказательств что он мертв нет’ is definitely not what the translation you’ve got suggests. It very literally means ‘there is no evidence that he is dead’ and nothing more than that I’m afraid. To be honest, I see nothing in the Russian text that would prove she actually believes that her father is alive – it sounds way more like an expression of a faint hope rather than any sort of conviction.” I think this is correct, and that another valid translation would be “There is no proof that he is dead,” which would make even more sense.]

I’m still curious, though, about the visa story. Seems like there’s more to uncover here.

72 thoughts on “MH370 Passenger’s Daughter: “The Evidence is That He is Not Dead” UPDATED”

  1. @Jeff, this is continued from post “New York: How Yesterday’s Aeroflot Disaster Echoes the 737 Max Crashes”.

    I wonder what BTO data is. If it is likely correct and confirms south route to the Indian Ocean, then it is done. But why the plane can not be found at the last location suggested by BTO (or BFO) data?

    So I would say please do not believe any data in this situation. The last primary radar at 2:22am and the reboot of SDU at 2:25am are definitely not coincident. This means that the kidnappers did not simply turn the communication (ping) with satellites off which would leave no trace of route, but changed it to lead to a wrong path. So kidnappers were very smart because no trace could (highly likely) lead investigators to the northwest route the plane was flying.

  2. @Jeff, I agree with you that Sergei Deineka could be a suspect in this case, especially if he was a former Soviet army veteran, because it is highly unusual to travel to China via Malaysia to get a visa.

    As I explained in the previous posts, this does not mean Russia’s involvement in the missing of MH370. Since Russia has been one of the biggest allies of China for a long time both politically and economically, it would not have committed such a brainless act of kidnapping a airplane with most Chinese passengers on it, because this would significantly jeopardize its relation with China. So it is clearly false to claim that Russia kidnapped MH370 in order to divert attention from annexing Crimea.

    The fact that MH370 had most Chinese passengers indicates that the kidnap must be related to China. Uyghur nationalism, however, has the most obvious motivation to abduct a plane of most Chinese passengers because, they want to use the plane to carry out a terrorist attack on Chinese targets in fighting China for independence as in my previous posts. The reasons on why they did not carry out attack like 911 are as follows. First, they wanted to keep passengers alive as a bargain in later confrontation with China. Second, they wanted to attack in a sudden and secrete manner by following another plane to avoid radar detection.

    Sergei Deineka, however, can work for Uyghur separatists either for religious reason (Muslim) or as mercenary because, Uyghur separatists are mainly based in Central Asian countries (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan and so on), and so have close tie with former Soviet Union military.

    So the investigation should be focused mainly on the background of Deineka. More specifically, his religious belief, his military skills, his ties with Central Asian countries (assume his nationality be Ukraine) and Uyghur nationalism, should be investigated.

  3. @Jeff
    I was giving up hope for the Mh370 story, so I’m relieved to read this.
    This angle of the investigation was not sufficiently covered and kudos to you for bringing attention to it, and the journalist who got this interview.

    The mention of Visa as the reason the Ukrainians were on the plane reminds me of 2 stories from immediate aftermath of Mh370 :
    – Reuters reported that 4 passports were suspicious (2 Iranians, and 2 Ukrainians)
    – Businessman from China claimed he’d invited the Italian and Austrian for work to China in 2014. They would have needed special Visas to work in China
    The second story seemed suspicious and planted by the Chinese government, yet the close similarities to what Denieha’s daughter seems to be saying is intriguing.

  4. It could be possible that the FMS got confused somehow after the last contact with Malaysian ATC.

    After that while the plane was on auto pilot, the plane could have increased its altitude ultimately causing hypoxia.

    After that the flight might have travelled accidentally taking a route to Penang and made circles after arriving to destination. While turning in circle it could have taken another route to Maldives and turning south after reaching Maldives which ended up diving in to the Indian Ocean. From this location the plane was totally submerged and after a long time the flaperon gave way and floated which ended up in Reunion.

  5. @Jeff, the scenario is based on assuming that the BTO is incorrect or miscalculated. At the very same time a fires suppression bottle was found washed in Maldives..
    But there isn’t any other single answer for the flaperon to be seen on Reunion considering the barnacles and no other traces of debris which should have floated if the flaperon travelled as what oceanographers are saying.. how about the acoustic gravity waves of Cardiff University ( near Diego Garcia)

  6. @Shareef, why the last primary radar contact was at 2:22am and the reboot of SDU at 2:25am when pings had been altered? Why does the debris found near Reunion contain organism less than 2 months which means they can not have been staying in water since March 2014? Why can any signal not be detected when the plane dived into the ocean? Why more fuel was intentionally loaded? Why???

  7. @Jeff, I suggest that you should investigate the background of Sergei Deineka who could be a chief suspect in the missing of MH370, with help from the Ukraine government or even the Russian government.

    As I explained in previous posts, Russian government is certainly not related to the missing of MH370. However, some Russians could have been involved and worked for Uyghur separatists either for religious reason or for money. So Russian government will be certainly willing to cooperate in finding the true mastermind of MH370 since they want to vindicate themselves from the rumor of their possible involvement. Since Russia and Central Asian countries were part of former Soviet Union, they have close ties and so the involvement of Russian government in the investigation could be crucial in finding out the true culprits behind the missing of MH370.

    Moreover, Chinese government can also offer help in the investigation because Uyghur separatists have made several terrorist attacks in China since 2009 to break away from Chinese rule. Chinese government has crushed it down and is eagerly willing to cooperate in the investigation of the missing of MH370 if Uyghur separatists tried to use the plane to attack on China.

  8. @York:
    If there is a connection between MH370 and MH17, then both were intended to hit Malaysia, not China.

  9. @Gysbreght, is there any concrete evidence linking MH370 and MH17? Unless you show some, I do not believe there is any connection between these 2 planes except both belonging to Malaysian Airline. MH17 was shot down accidentally (or intentionally) but had nothing to do with the missing of MH370.

  10. @Jeff, this is continued from post “New York: How Yesterday’s Aeroflot Disaster Echoes the 737 Max Crashes”, in which you wrote, “This idea was considered quite early on. Unfortunately, there were no flights that matched the Inmarsat data”.

    If BTO data suggests south route to the Indian Ocean, it is also wrong because nothing have been found at position of the last data (presumably crash site). Since rescue effort was launched only days (or weeks) after the missing of MH370, the debris can not be completely washed away without any trace.

    The right way of investigation I think is to find all the flights headed northwest around 2:22am (the last primary radar contact). The flights can be limited to planes that took off from nearby airports because MH370 had lowered its height significantly in the period (which means that it tried to follow a plane at lower height or recently taking off).

    It is significant that SDU was rebooted at 2:25am because it means that kidnappers knew MH370 would no longer be detected in any radar thereafter and the only way to track its position would be through Inmarsat data. The kidnappers are really smart because they did not simply turn ping off which would leave no further Inmarsat data, but tampered it to lead to a wrong direction. If no Inmarsat data were available after 2:25am, investigators probably would assume the plane continue flying its northwest direction.

  11. York: “MH17 was shot down accidentally (or intentionally) but had nothing to do with the missing of MH370.”

    Do you have any concrete evidence for that bold statement?

  12. @Gysbreght, I do not have any evidence, just based on my gut feeling and common sense. From my previous posts, we can say that the missing of MH370 must be related to China and Uyghur separatists are the most likely suspect.

    MH17 was either shot down by pro-Russian military force in east Ukraine, or by Ukraine army (probably) by mistake. I do not see any reason why east Ukrainian pro-Russian military (or Russian force) needed to shot down MH17 in order to cover up their roles in the missing of MH370, because if they wanted to divert attention, shot-down another plane from the same airline would make their possible involvement more exposed to the public rather than less. Since Russian government is certainly not related to the missing of MH370, they would not be stupid enough to order the shot-down of MH17.

    So the only links between MH17 and MH370 are that they both belong to Malaysian Airline and happened in the same year (four months away). We can only say that Malaysian Airline was really ill-fated, and can not conclude simply from those that they were related unless further concrete evidence.

  13. @York, I don’t know if you’ve come here to rile things up or if you really believe the (severely misguided) things you write, but you are not making a useful contribution to this discussion. Henceforth I will hold your comments for moderation.

  14. @York. That’s an Englishman’s name, isn’t it?

    Actually, doesn’t matter; beside the point.

    The point is, to claim that Russians were not involved in the downing of MH17 is absurd.

    There is a well documented path with complete photographic/video evidence, thanks to the Bellingcat collective, of Buk 332, the missile launcher that brought down MH17, moving from Russia into the Donbass the day of the crash and then being immediately withdrawn to Russia. There is eyewitness testimony to Dutch investigators claiming that the launcher was accompanied by operators with “Muscovite” accents, who drove civilian vehicles. The incident is corroborated by multiple Western intelligence agencies and such Russian Federation actions as closing adjacent Russian air space only hours before the incident to an altitude of 59,000 feet–not coincidently the maximum altitude of a Buk missile.

    The only real question to be answered is whether the targeting of a Malaysian aircraft was intentional or accidental. It’s possible it was accidental–a case of mistaken identity. But the fact that the same airline lost two flagship aircraft within four months under questionable circumstances is remarkable by itself, and it is made only more so when you know that 62 airlines from 32 different countries operated the exact same route as MH17–a route that saw 900 flights in just the seven days prior to the disaster.

  15. @Jeff, please allow this post to be published.

    @Scott O, I am not English. In fact, I am a Chinese who has lived oversea (outside Asia) for many years, but keep a close eye on events in China.

    I never mean that Russians were not involved in the downing of MH17. Read my previous post carefully, I said that “MH17 was either shot down by pro-Russian military force in east Ukraine, or by Ukraine army (probably) by mistake”. Russian government backs pro-Russian military force in east Ukraine, and so it could be related to the shot-down of MH17, despite most likely indirectly.

    What I truly mean is that MH17 and MH370 are two separate events and should not be linked together unless supported by concrete evidence. The reason is simple, Kremlin would not be stupid enough to order to shot down MH17 because it had ordered to kidnap MH370. This way would do more harm to expose themselves as the culprit in the missing of MH370 because both planes belong to Malaysia Airlines.

    The shot-down of MH17 could be done by east Ukraine pro-Russian military, or even Russian force itself, but it does not show any link with the missing of MH370. The two events should be completely unrelated unless concrete evidence is found.

  16. @York, I’m sorry to say that unless you understand the evidence in the case your opinions are not particularly helpful. If you make assertions that contradict the evidence then your are just obstructing progress.

  17. Reading Liza Deineka’s reply in Russian I do not see anything suspicious or evasive. It reads like a sentiment from a grieving relative who has not quite given up hope. People often cling to a glimmer of hope even in much more clear-cut cases, so I think she can be forgiven for saying that “there is no proof that he is dead”. Its not surprising that she does not want to discuss “the debris” with the reporter.

    Regarding the visa issue, there are many reasons why people pick particular travel itineraries, from being misinformed about the visa to simply wanting to visit Beijing.

    So, to me this does not look like a productive line of inquiry and I feel sad about her being harassed.

  18. @all

    Playing devil’s advocate here, but possible rebuttals to Jeff’s points:

    1. Liza Deineka’s statement the men had gone to Beijing to get a visa:

    Is it not entirely possible that this statement was made flippantly, more like ‘they probably went to get a visa…’ If Liza had no suspicions to begin with, this apparently odd detail would likely be trivial for her and she wouldn’t give it much real thought. Just one of any number of unusual things your average person wouldn’t even notice

    2. From an earlier article: “it seems strange that [Chustrak and Deineka] would fly to Beijing to get to Guangzhou, when there are plenty of shorter flights direct from Kuala Lumpur…

    Again, its not that hard to think of an innocent reason: maybe they’d made the most of the Malaysian Trade Fair in 3 days so saw no reason to stay in KL any longer. The Guangzhou fair was starting some 10 days later so they decided to fly to Beijing to seek out further opportunities/network before winding up in Guangzhou. Beijing has a population of 22 million after all compared to Guangzhou which has only 13 million

    On the other hand, things that do strike me as odd:

    – I appreciate not everyone mourns the same way but the general demeanour of Liza Deineka doesn’t seem to be of someone who may have lost a father in harrowing circumstances. She doesn’t seem remotely traumatised but on the contrary, quite happy and contented in every single snap posted of her. She seems to enjoy posing in various Instagram-type snaps and showing off her good looks. Nothing wrong with that, but as regards her dad it leads me to conclude one of three things:
    a) either she wasn’t too close to him to begin with (maybe him being away for long periods she became accustomed to him being absent)
    b) maybe she really is just supremely confident (for a reason we can’t know) that her dad is still alive
    c) Sergei Deineka isn’t her biological father

    – The second thing that strikes me as odd, every time I look at it, is that blue filtered birthday snap with her dad above. The fact that the actual impression it probably meant to portray (ie a snazzy birthday snap) is so different from the mixed messages it actually sends out makes it even creepier, but to me it has the feel of a picture taken in some cold hospital ward alongside a recovering/recuperating/even dying patient. Sergei Deinika seems to be wincing in pain as he looks at the camera, almost unsure of himself, and certainly nothing like the self-assured ‘navy SEAL’ described by Florence de Changy elsewhere

  19. @all

    I’ve always said that part of the problem of gaining new insights into the disappearance of MH370 is the language barrier. Most of us can only understand English but this event took place in Asia with passengers who didn’t even use English as their mother-tongue

    Going back to a previous article by Jeff, I noticed Brodski’s name written in Russian – Николай Бродский. So I type this into Youtube and voila – up pops this slightly bizarre video which translated into English reads ‘Where Malaysia Boeing has flown! Video No. 2 Nikolai Brodski’

    In other words a video of someone attempting to remote-view MH370 through Nikolai Brodski’s eyes (!) The video itself is largely mumbo-jumbo (aliens, other dimensions etc) but a few things of interest:

    (1) Brodski’s family seem confused whether he is dead or alive:

    From 3:01 to 4:04 we see a news clip (real not a reconstruction) of Brodski’s family ringing his mobile in the manner of a few other families and getting an automated reply: “the subscriber you are dialling is not available at the moment.”

    His mother tells us: “I tried calling him before take-off (?) His phone was off (or) he asked me not to call again (?) Nikolai’s two children waited for him despite the fact.” And further: “On social networks he was still active before take off (?) so it shows there had been no communications shutdown yet. But the phone was still receiving a signal even after the disappearance (?)…”

    With auto-translate its hard to make out what is actually being said, but Brodski’s mother seems to suggest he turned his phone off and then back on again during the flight (?) A Russian speaker could translate all this properly.

    (2) Some oddities from the Youtube comments underneath the video (using Google Translate):

    Iraida Lakusheva: “UMNICHKA. SLIPPER. He (Brodski) is alive. They showed the desert and the road as in Australia. He curses on what the world is worth. The road is long. Go to the car. ABOUT GOD, ON TOP OF THE MONKEY, APPEAR TO MONKEYS LIKE PEOPLE…”
    Possible gibberish but that comment about the desert and the road ‘as in Australia (!)’ is interesting: Kazakhstan in large swathes does resemble the outback. The response this receives: “Where does that information come from?”

    What I also find fascinating is that many comments are obsessed with the decayed dead bodies on MH17, some even claiming to be from Donbass and having seen them firsthand

    With the help of Google Translate I also typed Sergei Deineka – сергей дейнека – and voila, I found 2 different Youtube accounts (I am assuming 2 different people):

    One Sergei Deineka who appears to be into his guns:

    The other Sergei Deineka who loves working with wood:

    Both have similar features, a similar build and are close in age to each other and the missing Deineka. Now I’m not suggesting anything but hey what a damn coincidence that all these people called Sergei Deineka look so very similar!

  20. @Jeff Wise
    Could you ask the British journalist if the daughter had seen the video of passengers actually boarding Mh370? Can she confirm that it was indeed her dad boarding the plane?

    French NoK Gyslain Wattrelos mentioned in his book that he was never shown the video ‘officially’ but got to see it via some French journalists.

  21. @Sajid UK, one thing that has always struck me as odd is the ten days between Chustrak and Deineka departing Kuala Lumpur and the start of the trade show in Guangzhou.

    Having once been on various trade show circuits, there was no way, once the initial novelty of travel wore off, I’d not return home with a ten day break. Most people I know in a similar position would agree. It’s just that killing time with a coworker, even in a city as fascinating as Beijing, for a week and a half seems painful.

    Despite our inability to find MH370, the world isn’t so large that a flight home for a week with the family, including the daughter who misses you, doesn’t seem like a more sensible option.

  22. @Scott O.

    I’m not so sure to be honest. We must remember these 2 guys Chustrak and Deineka were close buddies who grew up together so a little more than just work colleagues. Who knows what kind of shenanigans these ‘family men’ planned to get up to in China, the same guys who failed at college ‘chasing girls.’ Then again they may have planned to backpack around the Northeast a little before heading to Guangzhou. Hard to know of their plans but it may be totally innocent, whatever ‘innocent’ means!

  23. @Sajid UK, Scott O, Most travel is pretty straightforward. Your family is going on vacation, you’re having a meeting with a client, you’re going to class reunion. Chustrak and Deineka’s trip isn’t like that. As Scott points out, on the face of it the reasons given for their trip don’t make sense. Thing is, their whole lives are like that. They have a furniture company, but when you go to the address where their factory is it’s a farm field.

    Let’s not forget, either, that Brodsky’s story doesn’t really add up, either. First we were told he cut short his 10-day dive trip in order to have International Women’s Day dinner with this wife. Then the explanation was changed, he had to go to a business meeting in Mongolia.

    Clearly I have more work to do…

  24. @all

    On Twitter doing a name search for Sergei Deineka сергей Дейнека brings up a dozen accounts that have never been used. Here are some (creation date in brackets):

    @iU6jdph8iZxEAJF (November 2017)
    @88ksTnpk3Na9BPF ‏ (February 2017)
    @10oYLdDwBEk1NN8 ‏‏ (June 2016)
    @WCz0il4F65bNZY1 (June 2016)
    @J3C8BOgYPpWG3aV ‏ (November 2015)
    @L53fyvye51uNUNZ (June 2015)

    The accounts share a few things: never been used / no geolocation / randomly-generated handles / yet some of them have somehow gained followers

    I don’t know how unusual it is to have so many ‘dead’ accounts under one username, but I’ve tried the same for other names and not seen anything similar. Either a bot is generating these accounts or someone’s going out of their way to create them

    And the jumbled handles – are these auto-generated on Twitter or would you have to manually create them? (I’m not on Twitter so not sure how it works)

    Lastly, this account – @pyps1986 (created September 2015) – is this a picture of Sergei Deineka the missing passenger?

  25. I just don’t see how they are related frankly. Makes no sense to me, and I have been a reader here for years. Has the motive evolved or a new one surfaced that I missed that makes more sense? (admittingly maybe I have missed something so apologies- since the search activity has slowed, I haven’t read the blog as obsessively as I used to).

  26. First of all thank you so much for your time trying to uncover what to place that dreadful day.

    Do you think the debri found Reunion island, is not from MH370? My uncle is a oceanographer (Niels Højerslev), and he confirms to me, it would be possible for the debri to end up on the island of Reunion. Taking account of the roughly estimates of the so called “crash area” And secondly if i look at the motives for Russia to do it? Yes they could have a motive as you argue for. But Is it worth the risk? And what about Captain Zaharie Shah’s personal life? He was actually going through a divorce? Men tend to do most of the worst things in life, when dealing with love. (most murders, are due to problems in relationships or circumstances like that) Factor in, he actually had the rute over the southern ocean in his simulator? And the Malaisien government, have done a great job covering up, his marital problems. And they also tried to cover up his data in his simulator. why? could it be for religious reasons? just like Egypt would not accept the F.A.A.’s explanation of the suicide that lead to the crash of egyptair flight 990. Humans are so fragile, when love is on the table! Conspiracy’s occurs every day. But on such a grand scale, to keep it secret, is as hard as the mystery of MH370 it self? I still think your theory is possible. And thank you again, for your hard work looking into this. It’s inspiring to read.

  27. @Piet, Thanks for your kind words. You raise a lot of issues! I’ll address one: I don’t think it’s been convincingly demonstrated that Zaharie had marital problems.

  28. @Piet

    And I’ll add a couple more. Yes the debris found on Reunion is from MH370 but the question is how it got there. It may not have drifted. Also the crash site you refer to is only suggested by the ISAT data, it is not solid evidence. Yes former Malaysian PM Najib Razak on the 25th March 2014 first stated at a press conference that MH370 was in the SIO. But that almost certainly means that it isn’t there if you understand the reasoning.

    Perhaps you should speak to the then Chief of Indonesian Police General Sutarman who stated in September 2014 “I actually know what had actually happened with MH370”. He has been silenced.

  29. Has any significant research ever been conducted into the background of other (non-Russian) passengers? Seems like the focus has been 99% on crew and these Russians, but I think we are beyond the “most likely scenarios” point. Could be a useless rabbit hole, and the connection between MH370 and MH17 is highly unlikely to be a coincidence (so I understand the focus on the Russian passengers), but we should leave no stone unturned.

  30. @Jeff Wise
    Perhaps you can ask the French journalists who made a Mh370 documentary and visually confirm if the Ukrainian passport holders were actually the same people who boarded the plane.
    Post some screen shots of them boarding the plane.

  31. @CliffG, I’d very much like to see the footage of Chustrak and Deineka, especially given Florence de Changy’s description of their appearance. Not sure what you’re driving at when you ask about confirming they’re “actually the same people who boarded the plane.” I don’t think anyone imagines that they weren’t on the plane.

  32. @Jeff Wise
    I too am struck by de Changy’s description of the 2 Ukrainians. Sure, both these men look quite fit for their age based on available photos, yet nobody AFAIK has actually compared the images with the 2 passengers boarding the airplane.
    If a well travelled Western female gave the description that de Changy gave, you’d know immediately she was not only comparing these 2 men with the other passengers boarding, but she was comparing them with most men in general, based on her description of the torsos, bare arms etc.
    I’m beginning to wonder if the passports were ‘lent’ by Chustrak and Deineka to 2 younger men who possessed the right skills that these 2 ex-Soviet Army mechanic school graduates may not have had. Learning to fly a B777 for 2 forty-five yrs olds may not be that hard, given what we know about the 9/11 hijackers, but still, it does give one pause.
    BTW, Ghyslain Wattrelos has seen the video too from a French TV crew which got a hold of it. You could check with them.

  33. @CliffG

    In no way do I mean to impugn the reputation of Florence de Changy, but there seems to me to be a bit of artistic flourish in her description of the two Ukrainians. Perhaps it’s not even intentional, but it seems to be here first in the description of their insouciance and again in describing their physiques.

    I’d add that eyewitness descriptions are notoriously unreliable, and I’d wonder if that unreliability would hold for a brief bit of video you may have only seen once. Or, how the relative nature of the other passengers on that video might effect one’s perceptions. In a brief internet search just now, I saw the average heights listed for Chinese males as 5′ 6.5″ and for Ukrainian males at 5′ 9.5″. I suspect the average weight to be lower as well. Compared to the rest of the majority-Chinese manifest, these two may well have seemed like action figures.

    In other reading I’ve done, I’ve seen it stressed that the public has a misguided belief when it comes to what special forces soldiers look like, and that most (and I would imagine this is true the world over) are not as young and not as muscular as the movies would have us believe. Rather they are older (more self control, more wisdom) and more built for endurance than might (to get one’s self into and out of an operation, not to smash it to smithereens).

    That makes Oleg Chustrak an excellent fit as he is shown in the photo in Jeff’s 3.9.19 post. And not to be funny, but if you can look past the rather round head of Sergei Deineka in the photo above that accompanies this post, you’ll see his body type doesn’t seem to miss the mark either.

    All of which is to say, why doubt that they are who we’ve presumed them to be?

    Oh, and finally, one other point, this regarding their being Soviet-army mechanic school graduates. That may be a cover story or it may be true and thus not mean anything–my understanding is that just as in many other countries you do not get to be in the kind of Spetsnaz that would hijack a civilian airlines until your regular army contract is served first.

  34. @Scott O, Interesting data point in this regard: Sergei Deineka described himself in a social media post as having served in particular unit, 130 Guards Tank Regiment Veszprém v/h 13957. A Ukrainian researcher that I’d enlisted said to Liza Deineka “Our fathers served in the same unit in Hungary,” assuming that she would know this about her father and this would ingratiate her with Liza. But Liza said she hadn’t heard anything about that.

  35. @Jeff – I re-read your book , well skimmed it pretty well anyway, for linking MH17 and MH 370 together. I didn’t see any conclusion, other than perhaps a reference that we don’t understand what we don’t know yet. It seems like you are suggesting that debris parts from MH 17 could be used, but I didn’t read that explicitly stated. Did I miss it, or something else that links the two together?

    I’m really having difficulty understanding how people are connecting the two together and for what motive.

  36. @Jeff
    I lived in Shanghai from 2008-15. I travelled throughout Asia. I can tell you that China only issued visas to US citizens from an embassy in the US. Not sure about other countries but based on my friends I would say it’s the same. If needed they would change from tourist to work visas in China. You could not travel to China to get a long term visa. China had not yet started 72 hour visas in 2014.

  37. Two things:
    It seems obvious to me that Deineka’s daughter is not talking about some beached debris but about the main plane wreckage.
    Plus, she may be right about the visa business: If you travel through Beijing you can double your stay to 144-hours without a visa. (And China did start the transit visas before 2014.)

  38. @ all
    2 interesting articles about MH17

    1. Malaysian Pm declares ‘no evidence’ Russia shot down MH17

    2. Russia deployed it’s trolls to cover up the murder of 298 people on MH17
    (Daily Beast)

  39. I tend to agree with Mahathir. The Russian state didn’t order the shootdown of MH17. A “state within the state” did.

  40. @koebeen,
    You wrote, “It seems obvious to me that Deineka’s daughter is not talking about some beached debris but about the main plane wreckage.” I think you’re right.

    @Gysbreght & @koebeen, if you click through the link in the story you’ll see that China started issuing these visas in 2013. But you can get them in Guangzhou as well as Beijing, so that doesn’t explain why the men would have routed their flight through Beijing. It’s also not clear if after entering the country on a 144-hour visa you can apply for a longer-duration visa, as they’d have to do if they were planning to stay for the trade show.

  41. @CliffG, @Jeff, I think the Mahathir statement is a vey telling one, and it would serve well to ask why Mahathir might make such a statement when so much evidence contradicts it.

    It reminds me of the Trump statements about Russia’s election attacks, 17 intelligence agencies to the contrary:

    “[E]very time he sees me, he says, ‘I didn’t do that.’ And I believe — I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it. But he says, ‘I didn’t do that.’ I think he’s very insulted by it, if you want to know the truth. Don’t forget, all he said is he never did that, he didn’t do that. I think he’s very insulted by it, which is not a good thing for our country.”

    So here the question is, why is not a good thing for Malaysia to say the Russians were involved in the attack on MH17?

    Third party denial almost seems like it’s part of someone’s script…

  42. Isn’t it possible that these guys were going to Beijing to get a visa for some other country, Mongolia, North Korea or somewhere like that where applying from China might be to some advantage. When I lived in China I flew to Beijing a couple of times to organise visa’s for other countries. Many, many embassies in Beijing.

  43. @Matt, For reference, here’s the language regarding Chustrak’s trip from a petition filed by his wife to have him declared dead. It’s a Google translation, so there are bound to be some inaccuracies:

    The husband was engaged in private business, namely, along with his friend and business partner, Deineka Sergey Grigorievich, owned a shop for furniture production. March 02, 2014, a man, along with a partner, went on a business trip abroad. First they were to be at the international furniture exhibition in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, and on March 8 they planned to fly to Beijing, China, and then fly to Guangzhou, China, where an international furniture exhibition was also planned. According to this plan, the relevant tickets were purchased. While in Kuala Lumpur, the man repeatedly called the applicant. The business trip was successful. He met with business partners from Malaysia, and sent photos over a mobile phone. The last time a man called the applicant from Kuala Lumpur Airport before departure to Beijing, when he and his partner had already landed on an airplane. Passenger registration and landing continued in normal mode. In the local Malaysian time, a flight to Beijing took place according to the schedule at 00-35, March 8, 2014, by MN-370 Malaysian Airlines. Upon arriving in Beijing, a man with a partner had to fly to Guangzhou. Everything was good and did not reveal anything tragic. However, the next day, from the media, the applicant learned that the plane on which a man with a partner flew to Beijing disappeared from the radar and its location is unknown. All Ukrainian and international news reported the disappearance of the aircraft.

  44. @jeff Is the original petition available online somewhere? By the way, I assume ‘landing/landed’ is to be interpreted as ‘boarding/boarded’ here. (Which would indicate that passengers were in fact able to use their phones before take off. )

  45. My attempt at a translation below for those interested. Hope this survives a regular copy paste here.

    Case number 523/11479/17
    Proceedings No. 2-o / 523/392/17
    R & S E N N I
    September 20, 2017
    Suvorovsky District Court of Odessa, consisting of:
    Presiding Judge – Kiselyova V.K.
    jurors – Mohil’noy OV, Pilipyshina V.M.
    with secretary – Dzyuba G.I.
    having considered in an open court hearing in Odessa a civil case at the request of Chustrak Tetyana Yevhenivna, interested persons: Fourth Odessa State Notary Office, Odessa Department of Draccio GTUU in the Odessa region, Chustrak Yevgeny Olegovich concerning the declaration of the death of a person, –


    Chustrak Tatyana Evgenivna appealed to the court for a declaration of the death of a person. The declaration was motivated by the fact that on December 14, 1991 she married Chustrak Oleg Vladimirovich, born May 11, 1969, who was registered in the department of registration of civil status acts of the Suvorov District Department of Justice of Odessa. During the marriage, three sons were born: Chustrak Yevgeny Olegovich, born May 28, 1993, Chustrak Denis Olegovich, born August 13, 2001, Roman Chustrak, born on August 4, 2012. The applicant claims that she and her husband lived well and happily and raised and took care of their children. Her husband was engaged in private business, namely, he with his friend and business partner, Deineka Sergey Grigorievich, owned a shop for furniture production.

    On March 02, 2014, her husband, together with his associate, went on a business trip abroad. First they were to be at the international furniture exhibition in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capital, and on March 8 they planned to fly to Beijing, China, and then fly to Guangzhou, China, where an international furniture exhibition was also planned. In accordance with this plan, the relevant tickets were purchased. While in Kuala Lumpur, her husband repeatedly called the applicant. The business trip was successful. He met with business partners from Malaysia, and sent photos with his mobile phone. The last time her husband called the applicant from Kuala Lumpur Airport before departing for Beijing, when he and his partner had already boarded the airplane. Reception of passengers and boarding proceeded in the usual fashion. In the local Malaysian time, departure to Beijing took place according to the schedule at 00:35, March 8, 2014, by MH-370 Malaysian Airlines. Upon arrival in Beijing, her husband and associate were to fly on to Guangzhou. Everything seemed fine and nothing suggested anything tragic was going to happen.

    However, the next day, from the media, the applicant learned that the plane on which her husband and his associate flew to Beijing had disappeared from radar and its location was unknown. All Ukrainian and international news reported the disappearance of the aircraft.

    The applicant and Natalia Bragin-Deineka, the wife of her husband’s associate, began calling the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine in Kyiv and the Embassy of Ukraine in China and Malaysia to request information about the missing plane and its passengers. They passed on all addresses and all existing contact details and communications.

    The applicant stated that searches for the aircraft and passengers had been conducted. The owner of the aircraft – Malaysian Airlines started a support center for family members of aircraft passengers, which family members of passengers could call round the clock. Over time, communications were received in the applicant’s mailbox offering condolences to the passengers’ next of kin and reporting on the search for the aircraft. Messages came from both the support center and the Embassy of Ukraine in Malaysia.

    On March 24, 2014, a statement by the Malaysian Prime Minister appeared on the Internet saying the plane had crashed and the passengers and crew were presumed dead. This was the official statement of the leader of the country to which the aircraft belonged, in which the official aircraft owner and the company that operated the plane resided. A statement about the plane crash including condolences to the relatives of the passengers and the crew.

    March 25, 2014, at 18:24 +03:00 the applicant received an email from Tatiana Zagrebelna, an employee of the Embassy of Ukraine in Kuala Lumpur with a message from the Malaysian Airlines’ Family Support Center on the statement by the Prime Minister of Malaysia (Appendix 12) in which he officially, in name of the state said that the plane had crashed, and the passengers and crew were killed.

    By the same date, the applicant received a similar message from the Family Support Center concerning a statement made at a press conference by the Chairman of Malaysian Airlines, which owned the aircraft, and which operated the aircraft.

    Finally, on March 25, 2014, Tatiana Zagrebelna received a notification and a written statement on the press release by the Chairman of Malaysian Airlines announcing the loss of the aircraft and the death of the passengers and crew and offering condolences to the next of kin in connection with the crash and the death of the passengers and crew.

    Yet neither the plane nor passengers, nor any fragments of the aircraft or the cargo of the aircraft were found, still giving the applicant hope in waiting for news about the search for the aircraft, or its debris.

    On July 16, 2014, a letter was received from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine in Odessa confirming that the applicant’s husband was indeed aboard the missing aircraft and that the aircraft was not found, but the searches of the aircraft continued in the deep water of the Indian Ocean.

    Along with the search for the missing plane and its passengers, the international police organization Interpol launched its own investigation. After some time, the applicant and Natalya Bragin-Deineka were summoned to the Odessa Regional Office of Interpol, where they were questioned about the circumstances of their husbands’ stay on board. The applicants were also shown and provided with a copy of the video recording of the reception and boarding of the passengers on the airplane. In the video, she recognized her husband and pointed to the appropriate frames.

    On February 5, 2015, a letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine in Odessa was sent again, which reconfirmed that the applicant’s husband was actually on board the missing aircraft, for which the searches are ongoing and that the plane has not yet been found. It was also reported that searches were set to continue with the use of new devices for deep-sea search operations.

    On March 8, 2015, on the anniversary of the disappearance of the aircraft, the passenger support center sent the applicant a confidential Interim Report on the investigation of the plane crash distributed by the International Investigation Team, in which the most important was the fact that searches and investigations were continuing.

    On March 8, 2017, on the third anniversary of the disappearance of the aircraft, aircraft accident investigators, together with Malaysian Airlines and Malaysian authorities, once again decisively recognized the aircraft’s destruction and the deaths of its passengers and crew and announced the cessation of underwater and any other searches for the debris of the aircraft starting 17 January 2017

    According to Part 1 of Art. 46 of the Civil Code of Ukraine, an individual may be declared dead by a court if at the place of her permanent residence there is no information about his whereabouts for three years, and if he has gone missing in circumstances that threatened him with death or give reason to assume his death from a certain accident ,

    (_not sure what goes on here_)
    – for six months, and if possible, in case of an individual who died of a particular accident or other circumstances as a result of emergency situations of an industrial or natural nature

    – for one month after the completion of the work of a special commission formed as a result of a man-made or natural emergency.

    In accordance with Part 3 of Art. 46 of the Civil Code of Ukraine an individual is declared dead from the day of the legal force’s entry into force by a court decision. A person who has been missing in circumstances that threatened her with death or give grounds for assuming her death from a particular accident or in connection with military actions may be declared dead from the date of her probable death.

    Thus, since more than three years have elapsed since the disappearance of the aircraft, however, no information was given about the applicant’s husband’s place of residence or his remains, it is possible to declare Chustrak Oleg Volodymyrovych, May 11, 1969, to be deceased. In this case, the day of death must be installed on March 8, 2014, that is, the date of the alleged crash of the plane.

    Based on the above, guided by 248,249 of the Civil Code of Ukraine Art. 46 of the Civil Code of Ukraine, court,

    1. Statement Chustrak Tetyana Yevhenivna, interested persons: Fourth Odessa State Notary Office, Odessa Department of Draccio GTUYU in Odesa Oblast, Chustrak Evgeniy Olegovych on declaring a deceased person – to satisfy.
    2. To declare the deceased Chustrak Oleg Volodymyrovich, May 11, 1969 of birth, born in Odessa, who was registered at the address: Odessa, Dobrovolsky pr. 149/2, sq. 1, yn. 2533316479.
    3. On the death day of Chustrak Oleg Vladimirovich set March 8, 2014.
    4. After the decision of legal force, in accordance with Part 2 of Art. 249 of the Civil Code of Ukraine, a copy of the decision to send to the Fourth Odessa State Notary Office and to the Odessa City Department of State Registration of Civil Status Acts of the Main Department of Justice in Odesa Oblast to register the death of an individual.
    The decision may be appealed to the Odessa Regional Court of Appeal through the court of first instance by filing an appeal within 10 days from the date of its receipt.
    Judge V.K. Kiselyov
    Jurors – Mogilnaya O.V., Pilipishin V.М.

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