On June 16, the Dutch Intelligence Agency (AIVD) issued a press release detailing how they prevented an agent of Russian military intelligence (GRU) from becoming an intern at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. The press release describes both his real identity and his «legend», the fake identity created by the GRU. His real name is Sergei Vladimirovich Cherkasov (born September 11, 1985), the fake name is Victor Mueller Ferreira (born April 4, 1989). AIVD also provided a four-page letter used by Cherkasov/Ferreira, outlining the fake Brazilian's biography.
From Dublin to Washington, D.C.
The information contained in the press release and the legend letter reveals additional information about «Victor Muller Ferreira» that helped Bellingcat find his digital and real-life footprints, including his participation in two prestigious programs at Dublin's Trinity College and the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).
His profile on myvisajobs.com includes Cherkasov's undercover biography: he worked as a travel agent in Brazil before enrolling at Trinity College for an undergraduate degree in political science (2014-2018) and an MA in Johns Hopkins' SAIS program (2018-2020). At the time his profile was last updated, he was living in Arlington, Virginia, near the Johns Hopkins University campus in Washington, DC.
Profile screenshot for Victor Mueller, the fake persona for the Russian GRU agent Sergei Cherkasov
In 2017, starting his final year at Trinity College, «Victor» set up a blog called Politics of Us devoted to geopolitics. Although at first glance a blog with thousands of comments under each post seems incredibly popular, in reality most of the comments were spam. On the blog he discussed ways to strengthen democracy in developing countries, called Putin's regime «cancerous,» and supported organizations that promote peace in Africa.
Cherkasov's Politics of Us blog bio published while he was an international relations student
Victor's blog is linked to his Facebook and Twitter pages. His Facebook page is almost empty, with hundreds of friends from Brazil (his supposed homeland) and his two alma maters, Trinity College and Johns Hopkins University. According to «Victor's» Facebook bio, he graduated from the latter in 2020, as confirmed by the university's website.
Most of his tweets are about supporting Trump (here, for example, is his deleted but archived text in support of Trump). And in 2017, he retweeted a link to a Bellingcat's publication about his GRU colleagues.
The Real Biography
According to the information from databases, Cherkasov is originally from Kaliningrad; he traveled frequently between Kaliningrad and Moscow by train between 2005 and 2008. There are also records of three flights that Cherkasov took in the summer of 2015, apparently during the summer vacation after his first year at Trinity College. Those were the flights between Moscow and Kaliningrad (June 29, 2015) and Moscow and Belgorod (August 7, 2015-9, 2015).
The Russian Telegram channel Beware the News published a photo that allegedly shows Cherkasov in a military uniform with a classmate from the Baltic State Fishing Fleet Academy. They are the same age, having graduated together in 2007.