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Alexey Arestovych: ISIS fan, war prophet, sceptic, enemy of the people

We hear almost nothing about Ukraine's internal critics. Here is an unlikely one: former Zelensky adviser Alexei Arestovych became a strong critic of Zelensky, and became an "enemy of the people".

The screenshot shows his profile page on the Ukrainian infamous "kill list" Myrotvorets. Trigger warning for clicking on it! It's the truth of war that we don't often see.

Summary of article here.

A screenshot of Arestovych on Myrotvorets

In the early stages of the war, I had seen Arestovych as a dangerous figure. And he was.

  • He admired ISIS torture

  • He contributed to leading Zelensky into an unwinnable war, based on false assumptions about Ukraine's immediate NATO membership

  • He led the public into false hope by predicting an end to the war in May 2022.

Now, in August 2023, the eternal turncoat has become a realist, warning against Ukraine's "hyper-nationalism" and military overreach.

Who is Alexey Arestovych? From ISIS fan to prophet to sceptic

Alexey Arestovych is one of the most intellectually fascinating and influential public figures in Ukraine. Meduza describes his profile:

Oleksiy Arestovych is an archetypal fluid and unpredictable “trickster”: his biography is a patchwork of acting, intelligence work, esoteric and theological studies, political blogging, and radical politicking. (In 2005–2009, he was a member of the right-wing Brotherhood party, created by another political “trickster,” Dmytro Korchynsky.) Arestovych excelled at cultivating a protean and effervescent public image, making good on the propagandist credentials that ultimately led him to Ukrainian high politics.

He became famous for a prediction of the war in 2019, ended up workin for Zelensky adviser and military spokesman, has positioned himself as a potential successor to Zelensky, runs a Youtube channel with 1,7 million subscribers, and runs a personality and rhetoric development school,

As of August 2023, his public presence is still strong, but he has no official position in the government. He voluntarily resigned as military spokesman after falsely attributing a missile attack on a Ukrainian target to a malfunctioning Ukrainian missile.

Here I will concentrate on his political development relevant for Ukraine .

"The West deceived Russia"

This is early Arestovych taking the position of George Kennan and John Mearsheimer - "the west humiliated Russia" . In Russia' s place, he said, he too Arestovych would have attacked Crimea.

The date of the video is not indicated, but it must have been taken during his "Russian period". This interview may have contributed to later landing him on Myrotvorets, the Ukraine "kill list".

Fascination by ISIS

A few years before he came to wider public attention, Arestovych spoke of ISIS's wisdom in burning people alive. A sign of a somewhat disturbed personality, devoid of true empathy and compassion.

I am not going to go into his philosophical positions here, so I wonder how they fit in with the statements made in the interview.

Some quotes:

"The commanders of ISIL are considered some of the more wise and successful commanders that there are currently. Everything is thought through in detail, even the degree of cruelty. Cruelty for show - it is inhumane, but it is of a very high level, a wise strategy, taking their particular interests into account.... "they are acting very correctly, I even have a notebook where I analyze ISIL in great detail, the best practices of running their business, the way they govern. Those methods, the world needs them, even though this means terrorism, medieval levels of cruelty, burning people alive, shooting them or cutting off their heads, etc. This is absolutely the way of the future."

As a Greek newspaper observed, no one in the West bothered.

Had these mind-boggling words been publicly uttered by anyone else, it is highly likely they would have landed a person in jail, with charges of terrorist activities being pressed. However, top officials of the NATO-backed government of Ukraine have a near-complete immunity from any kind of prosecution and are simply allowed to say or do pretty much whatever they want, with impunity.

A self-confessed liar

In 2017 he outed himself as propagandist liar (although with good intentions), but promised to return to truth. His lying: propadanda after 2014, in order to keep up public morale during the war that started then.

But he would not keep this promise: after the 2022 invitation, he again pretended to be hyper-optimistic in order to keep up public morale.

And again, he ended this period of lies in October 2022.

The prophet: predicting and wanting the war

Alexey Arestovych became famous in 2022 for a Youtube video from 2019 in which he accurately predicted the Russia-Ukraine war. In his view, Ukraine's goal of NATO membership made it inevitable.

But he predicted more or less immediate NATO membership, US boots on the ground in Ukraine and a no-fly zone.

NATO membership seemed guaranteed, and a war worth fighting to achieve it:

With a probability of 99.9% , our price for joining NATO is a full-scale war with Russia....All this economy, social sphere, this is always sacrificed to the war...all other issues become social or economic sacrifices are such in the face of this task"

And Ukraine would enter NATO:

"Question: How can NATO accept us if we have Antiterrorist Operations in the East - war?
Arestovych: This is one of the main myths about NATO, that they do not accept countries with territorial disputes, with war"

But now, in August 2023, in Vilnius, it turns out that NATO will not violate this principle of not allowing countries at war into NATO - it would immediately lead to a Russian war against the US/NATO.


Now that Putin had indeed started the war, largely about Ukraine´s NATO membership, as Arestovych had predicted, Arestovych became advisor and military spokesman for Zelinsky. Publicly, he took an extremely optimistic point of view in a Reuter´s news:

The war in Ukraine is likely to be over by early May when Russia runs out of resources to attack its neighbour, Oleksiy Arestovich, an adviser to the Ukrainian president's chief of staff,

Messianic prophet of a new Ukraine

During that time, Arestovych became a utopian for Ukraine.

The painting below is Oleg Arestovych´ utopian vision of the future Ukraine. It is the banner of his Facebook account. The same painter features on his Youtube account. It reminds of Robert Heinlein, a US science fiction writer admired by Arestovych.

Arestovych chose a mural of the American painter Robert McCall for his Facebook banner: "The prologue and the promise". The painting illustrates his hyped-up and hymnic idea of a future Ukrainian society as "A new general offer of civilisation":

I suppose that Ukraine has found a new general offer of civilization - the archetypes of free people, who exercise the free movement of their soul. We are fighting for freedom on a new stage of human development.

War sceptic

However, when May 2022 arrived, the picture looked already bleaker.

Arestovych had lost his shine as truth-telling optimist.

Arestovych now presented a more pessimistic view on Facebook:

The manic phase is over, the depressive phase has arrived.

A typical self-portrait of Arestovych - admired in a museum

Here is his elegic statement about a coming "harsh reality" and depression.

He now saw his role as preparing Ukraine for hard times.

War is a manic-depressive psychosis. The manic phase is over, the depressive phase has begun. But it's not worth worrying. OCD is yet to come. And this means joy - from washing hands ten times, special ritual of turning off the lights before leaving the house, uttering magical words about harsh reality and invitations to about harsh reality and invitations to faith - at least in anything. Many of us can relate to this. Interesting discoveries of life are ahead.

Critic of the West: cheap and nasty comedy

A main reason for his increasing pessimism was his view of the Western weapon delivery. Here he is, in August 2022.


Arestovych eventually resigned from his limited role as military spokesman. He did so after attributing the destruction of a Ukrainian shop by a rocket to an accident involving a Ukrainian rocket.

There has been some speculation as to why he resigned

  • Taking responsibility for his false statement (his own public statement)

  • Dissatisfaction with a limited role of news spreader, with no access to the inner circle

  • He saw the coming military failure of Ukraine

  • He saw the continuing Ukrainian corruption

  • He had positioned himself early on as a potential successor to Zelensky and was thrown out.

Arestovych as criminal enemy of the people

His public image suffered from this: he was now being attacked from the far right, he even landed as "criminal" on the Ukraine "kill list" Myrotvorets.

Both the UK and the German governments have asked Ukraine to take down this list. It is still there and growing to ostracise the "enemies of the people".

Arestovych on Myrotvoretsks

As far as I know, Arestovych stayed out of the line of fire for a while by keeping quiet. He spent some time in Israel, but is now back and facing questions about why he is not serving in the military.

Critic of Ukraine´s hyper-nationalism and hyped-up success fantasies

Eventually, Arestovych became an outspoken critic of Zelensky and the Ukrainian government. He has become quite pessimistic about the future of Ukraine.

His public criticism revolves around these themes: corruption, ultra-nationalism, the failure of the war.

Arestovych now seems to be closer to one of the few remaining opposition newspapers (Strana) that Zelensky had tried to stamp out,") that Zelensky has tried to silence.

In the West, many staunch defenders of Ukraine might confuse him with a "Russian shill" or "Putin lover" for speaking out his truths.


According to him, a person who will not engage in corruption, and will not allow his subordinates to do so, should come to power. At the same time, in his opinion, there is no such person in power to day, and "unfortunately, we have not been lucky so far." This is a direct attack on Zelensky.


He believes that the West does not need "an ultra-chauvinist state pumped up with American weapons" as part of NATO and the EU. He also sees a long-term risk the "dehumanisations of Russians" that is currently going on.

Misplaced war optimism

Arestovych, on his Youtube Channel, expressed that the war is militarily lost.


A long path

It has been a long road for Arestovych: ISIS, prophet, sceptic, enemy of the people... the future will show how this will end for him and for Ukraine.

He sees himself as Zelinsky's successor if Zelinsky does not stand.

ChatGPT summary:

The article discusses the transformation of Alexey Arestovych, a former adviser to Ukrainian President Zelensky, from an enthusiast of ISIS torture and an advocate for a war with Russia to a critic of hyper-nationalism and military overreach in Ukraine. Arestovych's complex journey is highlighted, including his role as a predictor of the Russia-Ukraine war, his stint as a military spokesman, and his subsequent disillusionment with the conflict and the Ukrainian government. The article delves into his various phases, from his admiration for ISIS tactics, his optimistic predictions about the war, and his role as a messenger of hope for the government, to his later criticism of corruption, ultra-nationalism, and failed war efforts. The piece also touches on his profile on the controversial "kill list" website, Myrotvorets, and his shifting public image from a potential successor to Zelensky to an "enemy of the people." Ultimately, Arestovych's evolution is depicted as emblematic of Ukraine's complicated political landscape.

A thought on...

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