To get to know a person better, you need to learn as much as possible about them, and you can do this by reading not just the official facts of their biography, but a story about them.

Mark was born in 1996 in the city of Sievierodonetsk, Luhansk region. The child was a welcome and long-awaited one, but unfortunately, the delivery was difficult. Mark was diagnosed with a congenital disorder of the central nervous system. The timely detection of the problem, the love and care of his parents, and the help of doctors and psychologists helped Mark to grow and develop almost without any problems. Mark was active, inquisitive, and smart. From an early age, he showed a mathematical mindset. It seems that he started counting before he started talking. Not yet able to speak well, let alone read, he easily and very quickly assembled Lego, without the help of instructions at the age of two. He could add, subtract, multiply large numbers in a few seconds and give the answer. He went to school on time and successfully completed 11 grades. He was not an excellent student, but he studied well and had many hobbies: football, tennis, theater studio, etc. Mark’s day was always busy with classes, sections, and clubs.

As a child and even as a student, he was a member of the youth NGO Plast, the National Scout Organization of Ukraine. He was the only one from the Luhansk region to attend the Legion scout camp. Plast is always in Mark’s heart. All his life he has been following the Plast law of being an honest and decent person.

Photo from the family archive

Photo from the family archive

A photo from the family archive showing Mark wearing a T-shirt with a Legionnaire’s Cross on it. Not all Plast members could wear this cross; it had to be earned.

Later, Mark’s activities became volunteer work. He financed the projects of NOSU Plast in Kyiv. Severodonetsk. When the war started, he helped financially with the organization’s children and youth who had left Sievierodonetsk and Kharkiv, and helped purchase military equipment for a Plast member from our organization.

At school, Mark became interested in computer technology. After graduating from high school, Mark applied to several universities to study at several faculties in Kyiv, Donetsk, and Kharkiv. He was admitted to all educational institutions on a state-funded basis. I hesitated for a long time about which educational institution to choose. In the end, he chose the Faculty of Innovative Technologies at the Kharkiv National University of Economics named after Semen Kuznets. Mark graduated from university and received his master’s degree. He started working in his first year: his geography teacher noticed Mark’s abilities and offered him to try his hand at an IT company. Mark was fascinated by his work, and he worked in the same place until he received an offer to head the Kharkiv branch of the company, which is headquartered in the Netherlands. Mark started working as a team leader. He liked working in a team of like-minded people very much, especially since there was a lot of work to do: new projects were being developed that are still in operation today. Mark devoted almost all his time to his work, developing professionally and improving his knowledge. He was highly respected by his colleagues and subordinates. Like every young man, Mark dreamed of starting a family and becoming a father. Mark’s hobbies expanded: he was interested in nanotechnology, quantum physics, biology, and bioengineering. He had a few loyal friends and his team by his side. The salary was decent, and Mark paid all his taxes, so his desire to work hard and faithfully for the company only grew stronger. Mark lived the life of a young man who has a goal, ambitious plans, and the opportunity for self-realization. But now, as an adult and an independent person, he took care of his own health. Unfortunately, atopic dermatitis was added to the main diagnosis made at birth. Mark regularly visited doctors and followed all the recommendations to avoid complications.

The war that began in February 2022 changed Mark’s plans, as well as those of all Ukrainians. Mark was forced to leave Kharkiv, which was shelled and destroyed by the enemy. Mark and his younger brother, mother, and girlfriend came to Lviv. At that time, Mark had the same goal as his mother: to help soldiers on the front line and people affected by the war: those who had left the combat zone and those who had not yet managed to do so. Since Mark is not subject to mobilization for health reasons, he saw his purpose in volunteer work. His mother is the head of the Charity Foundation “Mercy”, Mark has always helped his mother with the foundation, and when the foundation provided assistance to people in need, no one had any idea that Mark was involved. Since the beginning of the war, Mark and his team have been working together to provide assistance to the Foundation, organizing and sending necessary items to the front line on their own, and together with the Foundation, have formed aid packages for civilians affected by the war. Mark talked to his colleagues about his plans for volunteering. He received support – his team was ready to donate a percentage of their salary to the needs of the Armed Forces. In the first month of the war, soldiers on the front line needed bulletproof vests badly, and there were many requests and orders for bulletproof vests. One of the largest manufacturers of bulletproof vests is located in the Netherlands, so Mark went to the Netherlands on a business trip from the Mercy Foundation for 30 days to negotiate the purchase of bulletproof vests. Mark had all the necessary documents to cross the border legally, and he was absolutely sure that he would be able to arrange for the purchase of bulletproof vests, return to Ukraine and continue his volunteer and professional activities for the benefit of his country. But on March 20, 2022, Mark was detained in the Netherlands on US charges of cybercrime and has been in a Dutch prison for almost 2 years, in inhumane conditions. During this time, Mark was not charged, not provided with any evidence of his crime, not sentenced by a court – only two years of his life were ruthlessly taken away and his health destroyed.

Mark is trying to prove his innocence of the crime he is accused of, trying to defend his good name, but he is not only not heard, but law enforcement in the Netherlands and the United States does not want to hear him. Mark is not a cybercriminal, but a high-level IT specialist, and he wants to be useful in organizing Ukraine’s cyber resistance against the aggressor country. He wants to help Ukraine, invest his knowledge in victory, and continue to support the Mercy Foundation.

In the meantime, Mark is now being held in solitary confinement and abused for no reason, just because he is standing up for his rights and fighting a system that lacks honesty and justice.