Наверх

REBELLIOUS PRISONER. CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

LEFORTOVO – MATROSSKAIA TISHINA

LEFORTOVO – MATROSSKAIA TISHINA

13.11.2018

On 12 November, at 10 a.m., I was attended by the defenders, but the senior executives of Lefortovo kept plotting against me and driving me crazy. I was called and taken to Andrei Grivtsov only at 12:40; he had been sitting in an empty room for two hours and a half although attorneys are admitted to Lefortovo only once a month and with many obstacles, which is against all the laws. 

Andrei told me how the hearing had ended, how he had demanded my participation in the debate, let alone the fact that I was deprived of an opportunity to speak during the main part of the session. He had asked the judge to bring me to hear the decision, but Lena Lenskaia kept running around and calling the Moscow City Court and the Federal Security Service to ask for advice. So the hearing was conducted without me. 

There was an officer of the Federal Security Service in the court room again; he was wearing a blue shirt and commanding the bailiffs and police officers who threatened to “break my arms” if I continued my speech.

Let me remind that the last hearing in August where my arrest was extended was attended by a fair-haired young man, officer of the Federal Security Service Poletaev, who called my wife a fool during her speech and described that to his boss in the Economic Security Service of the Federal Security Service for Moscow Region Iurii Plaksenko and his colleagues. A newsmaker! According to the officers of the Federal Security Service who recognised him in the photo, he is a son of Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Poletaev, the Head of the Sixth Service of Internal Security Directorate of the Federal Security Service. I have been socialising and working with San Sanych (which is how his colleagues call him) for ten years, and I see that his son is the spit and image of his father. 

How could that little bastard call the mother of many children a fool, especially in the court room? Basmannyi abuse! Senior Poletaev has been through fire and water with me. I cannot believe he has not told anything to his son. Has he decided I was done, and he should finish me off? I can respond to the Head of the Sixth Service of the Internal Security Directorate of the Federal Security Service, and he knows that. San Sanych also knows how decisive I am. I do not think that father and son have not discussed my criminal case. Given their meanness and betrayal, Tkachev and Poletaev would have been turned out in prison long ago; at war, they would have been executed. Can these two people not care about their dignity and reputation at all?

Andrei Grivtsov said that investigator Vidiukov called me too agitated and decided not to postpone the examination in the Serbskii Mental Research Institute, where all the accused of the especially grave crimes passed the forensic examination. It is difficult to remain calm where you and all the other visitors are poured with pepper spray at the entrance to the court room in response to the people’s greetings. My eyes ached for an hour. The journalists of Oka.fm portal streamed from the court room, and the people coming to the other court sessions wrote in the comments on the social media that they had also suffered from the pepper spray.

The hearing was also attended by the British journalist from The Guardian, Andrew Roth, and the American journalist from The ABC-News, Patrick Reevell. They also fell victims to the gas attack and were shocked. Arkadii Ostrovskii from the leading English magazine The Economist said that they wanted to turn Shestun into the president. The Basmannyi Court and the Federal Security Service, the directors of the show, were the ones damaging Russia’s reputation. My arms were twisted so hard that, in addition to the bruises left by the handcuffs on the wrists, I had a shoulder muscle torn and could not sleep because of the pain all night.

At the hearing, I managed to list the main threats by General Tkachev from the Federal Security Service, Head of the Internal Policy Directorate of the President of Russia Iarin and Governor Vorobev that had been delivered on. They threatened to prevent me from participating in the election – and I have not been admitted, Iulia Shestun has been denied registration for the election for the district head’s office, allegedly because of the mistakes in the signatures. Of course, she would not let them destroy Serpukhov District and give Kurilovo away to Kaluga Region. Their second request was not to touch Lesnaia disposal site. After I had won in the first-instance court, the new district administration actually waived the claim in the arbitration court, and lines of dustbin lorries from Moscow come to the disposal site, and it will continue for a long time because this year the new district authorities have approved a new road to the disposal site, which costs almost half a billion roubles! Such huge investment will naturally have to pay back. Now it stinks not only in Bolshevik, but also in the city streets, including Chernyshevskogo, Bumazhnaia, Lesnaia and the centre of Serpukhov. Things are only going to get much worse. 

I remember the day when I blocked the way for the dustbin lorries with my Mercedes, after which I was even on a wanted list. I remember a protest rally attended by 5,000 people, which has brought me to prison. If 20,000 residents of Serpukhov had been there, they would have been afraid to put me behind the bars, the disposal site would not have been opened by the court, and it would not stink that much now. Unfortunately, the passive attitude of our residents enables Vorobev, Dorofeev and other top-rank officials to earn billions with the clean air of our little motherland. The Moscow rubbish in a pile as high as a fourteen-floor house has killed Serpukhov’s development for a century ahead. Now urban development, new schools and tourism are of no use. Serpukhov and Volokolamsk are poisoned and rotten places; no ruler of these cities has damaged them so much in a thousand years of their history. Ancient city of Kolomna and many others are also on the verge of collapse. What will people remember this rubbish Governor Vorobev for? His lies? How can our planet bear him?

Samolet Construction Company owned by Governor Vorobev’s brother is often shown on the central channels together with Andrei Iurevich’s swollen face telling new lies. No country would allow the head of the region to own the largest development company within the territory managed by him, of course, under “special conditions”, with no social obligations and other “trifles”.

They had decided how to divide Serpukhov District six months before the election. I knew then that Ermakov would be the head of the district, Shestun would be behind the bars, Poiarkov would be a deputy in Dankovskoe and chair the Council of Deputies of Serpukhov District. By the New Year, Ermakov and Poiarkov enjoying the full support by the heads and councils of deputies of the settlements would liquidate the district, and in March there would be a new election for the enlarged city district of Serpukhov. I was not the only one to know that: of course, Poiarkov, Ermakov and the organisers of that performance, i.e. the regional government and Podolsk gang, were well aware of that. The only challenge was that the residents and village deputies had to vote, but they had long been treated like dirt, and their destiny was decided at restaurant tables in Podolsk and Krasnogorsk tower. Everything is smooth, nobody resents, and everyone is used to the fact that big men decide everything instead of the residents.

As for my benefits, for five months of my trips around three Moscow prisons, I never felt such rubbish stink as in Serpukhov in any of them when I was taken for a walk. The paradox is that the residents of Moscow have high salaries, wonderful schools, theatres, universities, urban development and metro in contrast to the residents of Serpukhov, but our residents used to enjoy clean air and transparent rivers and lakes. The land of Serpukhov has been destroyed.

Ivan Zabrodin from Podolsk congratulated me on my birthday. He is a son of Petr Zabrodin, the Vice Mayor of Podolsk shot down in 2002. Mayor Aleksandr Fokin was convicted of the murder. Fokin himself was found hanged in prison later. Ivan writes that his father was killed with the same hands as me; he probably means the Podolsk gang and its leader Lalakin (Luchok). They have not killed me yet, although half of their mission has been fulfilled. I have heard myself how Sergei Nikolaevich Lalakin claimed proudly that he had organised Fokin’s “suicide”, who was unwanted by Luchok the same way as Petr Zabrodin, who had political ambitions for the mayor’s office. There were several sincere conversations with Aleksandr Fokin, the mayor of the largest city in Moscow Region.

“Sasha! Stay away from the Podolsk gang!” Fokin insisted.

His main ally Gennadii Nedoseka, the Head of Chekhov District, died a bit later. Nedoseka and Lalakin were Fokin’s main lobbyists at the election in Podolsk. The competitor was a popular son of the former secretary of the regional committee of Moscow Region, Nikolai Pestov, who was supported by Boris Ivaniuzhenkov. Aleksandr Fokin won in 2003 by means of stuffing and administrative pressure, but he tried to avoid the total control by the Podolsk gang; he did not want to be a puppet.

I had much more in common with Gena Nedoseka than with Fokin; I spoke to him a lot, knew his family and often came to his office. At that time, I had accidentally been elected a deputy of Serpukhov District in Bolshevik, and I liked the public activity. 

After I had graduated from University in 1990, I did business for almost ten years and was one of the leading businessmen in Serpukhov. However, thick packs of dollars and roubles cease to make you happy when it turns into routine. At university, I was a captain of the KVN team and a senior engineer in the regional headquarters of the construction groups at the regional committee of the All-Union Leninist Young Communist League. In other words, I was an activist.

My uncle general had a colleague who had got a top office in LUKOIL, and they were preparing a group of deputies for the State Duma. I became a candidate and went to that entity for meetings and interviews for a long time, prepared questionnaires and the election campaign. However, attacks on YUKOS started, so LUKOIL was scared and dismissed almost all of the candidates; only the oil regions were left. Then LUKOIL suggested that I should run for the office of the head of Serpukhov District as I had already been a deputy in the municipality and an active political figure who covered everything in the media. No sooner said than done. One wonderful day, two Vice Presidents of LUKOIL, who had just received their state awards, took me to the Deputy of Governor Gromov, Mitina, and recommended getting Boris Vsevolodovich’s approval of me as a candidate. Mitina agreed and asked to bring the questionnaires and documents for the detailed interview. 

When I told Nedoseka about that meeting, he started objecting and resenting,

“Why depend on the oil companies? I have pushed Fokin into Podolsk, and I will help you.”

Gena was Gromov’s blue-eyed boys and drove a Mercedes with the Russian flag on the number plate. He was always followed by the police offroad vehicle with three armed guards. I believed his promises and did not go to Mitina after I had refused from LUKOIL’s support... I shouldn’t have. 

Nedoseka failed to get Gromov’s approval of me as a candidate, and I was in extreme disfavour for a year. Nevertheless, in a year, Gena was forgiven by the Governor, all the restrictions were lifted from me, and the regional money flowed to the district.

On 7 November 2004, there was a basketball match between Khimki and Dinamo (Moscow Region) in the Olympic Palace in Chekhov. It was attended by all the deputies of Gromov and Mayor of Khimki Volodia Strelchenko. 7 November was Boris Vsevolodovich’s birthday, so the beau-monde of the Moscow Region kept drinking for their “commander’s” health in the luxurious VIP hall at the government grand stand. His colleagues and mayors did love Gromov, he was always well respected. Gena seated me next to him in the centre of the table although it was supposed to be the Vice Governor’s seat according to the rules. When everyone had left late at night, the only people who stayed me, Mayor of Klimovsk Andrei Menshov and Gena. Satisfied with the evening, Nedoseka got into his Hammer and sped away after he had put his TT gun into his pocket. He was going to the residence of some guys from Podolsk to discuss some important matters. The next day was a day off, and I got a call early in the morning,

“Gena has been shot,” Lenia Stavitskii, the Mayor of Zvenigorod, told me. 

I rushed to the scene of the tragedy in Chekhov District at once. The Hammer had burnt down, with dead Nedoseka inside, three times smaller than usual. How long had he been burning to shrink that much? The car panelling would burn no longer than an hour. There was his TT gun with no bullets in the car. The vehicle had not been hit, so it was not clear why it had caught fire. Of course, the official version was a road accident. But his friends did not believe it. I found out later that all the assets belonging to Gennadii Mikhailovich, who was a rich man, had somehow been transferred to the Podolsk gangsters. As they say, no comments. 

Although I am in the most terrible prison, I am still alive. Both heads of Chekhov District placed by the Podolsk gang after Nedoseka are also in prison now: Anatolii Chibiskov and Sergei Iudin have been accused of the same doubtful things that happened ten years ago, as framed-up as mine.

Luchok, the eternal leader of the Podolsk gang, keeps getting richer day by day and can say for sure, “Our southern area.” Everything is under Lalakin’s control, he has even managed to be awarded For Merit to the Fatherland by the President. Mafia never dies!

By the way, after I had returned to Lefortovo from the prison hospital, I was settled on the second floor, and Aslan Gagiev called Dzhako considered by the investigators to be an assassin guilty of more than 70 murders was in the next cell. In his opinion, he is a large businessman. In fact, he owns shipyards and other large commercial facilities. Dzhako’s cell mate is the head of the security service of baron of crime Shakro, a Turkmen called Bek, a well-educated, tolerant and professional boxer. I have talked to him several times, and he is very similar to Zakharii Kalashov: a very pleasant man with a big vocabulary, a witty and quite charming one. 

I have a lot of time now, and I write much about my prison life while I recollect my failures and success in freedom. I am not visited by the members of the public monitoring commission because the senior executives of Lefortovo do their best to prevent our meetings. Also, star football players Aleksandr Kokorin and Pavel Mamaev have got to Butyrka, and all the human rights defenders are there. The public monitoring commission works free of charge, they are interested in their promotion and publications in the mass media.

 

10.12.2018

On analysing my tour around the Moscow prisons, I see a kind of regularity: my life goes along a sinusoidal curve. All my life, something terrible has happened every five years. Many of you will be stunned by the adventures I have had; there would be enough for ten ordinary lives. 

So, on 13 June I was detained and placed in the fifth detention centre “Vodnik”, where I spent around 40 days. I spent another 40 days in Lefortovo, where I was on a hunger strike for 26 days as a protest against deprivation of my right to run for the election. Then I spent 40 days in the prison hospital, Medical Unit 77, (Matrosskaia Tishina), returned to Lefortovo for 50 days and, finally, left that horrible Château d'If forever.

I was placed into the sixth special unit, the strictest one in Matrosskaia Tishina, which makes me very happy. When I was transferred from Lefortovo on 24 November, the attorney could not find me in the first detention centre for a long time: the administrative officers said that Shestun was not there. Then Andrei Grivtsov went to Kremlevskii Tsentral (detention centre 99/1).

“Is Shestun here?” Andrei asked the head when he had been admitted to him.

“Lefortovo asked us to take him but we objected to having that rebel, we have our own problems to resolve,” the “master” responded with resentment.

When I started the war against Lefortovo to be transferred to any other detention centre, none of my prison friends believed I would succeed. Manashirov kept repeating for many years, the same way as Romashin, the head of the detention centre, did,

“Lefortovo has broken even stronger people!”

“We shall see how durable the walls of Château d'If are!” I responded.

Day by day, I wrote about a dozen of complaints against violations of the law in the detention centre. When the supervisory prosecutor came, it took me five or six hours to fill in all the records with detailed information on the time, dates and core of the violations. The human rights defenders also came to me every two days and filled in the entire admission log.

My statements of the crime as to the corrupt practices in the public procurement in the detention centre and major repairs for the amount of around 300 million roubles made Colonel Romashin especially nervous. In addition to the three-fold increase in the price, I also found the evident defects in the construction works. 

The continuous protest next to Lefortovo gates, where the people took photos in front of the poster “Shestun VS Lefortovo” irritated him as well. But my publications about the super-secret life of the strictest detention centre drove Romashin crazy. In my latest statement of the crime sent to Bastrykin, I demanded the pre-trial check of the gym repairs, but the funny thing was that Lefortovo prisoners had no gym.

I had my last meeting with Romashin on 22 November. That day he was similar to the mole from the Thumbelina cartoon, with his sleek and shiny hair, pleased with himself, wealthy and influential. His beaked jaw and peaky nose and a narrow forehead made him look like a rat, especially when he was angry.

“Why are you not letting me have an examination in Bakulev Centre?” I asked.

“That’s not true.” Romashin lied without missing a beat. “I have written that I see no treatment need, but you are welcome to be examined!” the “chief mole” of Lefortovo continued.

“Listen, I have seen the document with my own eyes, ‘Shestun needs no treatment and examination’. There is a copy in my documents,” I responded without resentment. “Why have you registered me as ‘the one prone to escape, suicide and self-injuries’? Three lines in my personal file is way too much. How have I tried to escape?”

“You used another last name and changed your route, you came up to the warehouseman when you were passing the checkpoint,” Romashin answered calmly.

“I always use my own last name! When I am asked five times, I sometimes say I am Romashin, but then I say at once that this is a joke, and I am Shestun. I didn’t change the route. I made only one step to the left because the warehouseman had not given me such vital things as a hair brush, washing powder, the Criminal Code, the Criminal Procedure Code and the Bible (he claimed that were censored) etc. for a month. If I sneeze (actually, I used another word), will you also claim that I want to fly away through the window by starting a turbo engine?” 

After the meeting, I told all the officers of the detention centre with the video recorder,

“Your boss is a liar! Can a colonel of the Federal Penitentiary Service of the Russian Federation be lying so openly? He will sink into the earth!”

Many people saw that Romashin played his dirty tricks on me even when I was leaving Lefortovo, like a rat chased into the corner and jumping at the man’s throat. When I had finally collected and carried all my belongings (and I had lots of papers and many other things), the prison wardens did not help me. In the end, I looked like a drowned rat and got a resolution on punishing me with an isolation cell for 15 days. Why was that rat not afraid to hold me in the isolation cell given my diabetes and perforated ulcer? He needed the doctor’s opinion that my health allowed holding me in the empty concrete cell, deprived of anything, even a chance to lie on the bed, because it was folded back from the wall for the night only. 

But that did not spoil my mood: I was smiling all the way in the prison truck and enjoying the wind blowing into my face through an open window. The only thing I thought about was, “Am I not going to miss these harsh rules? Will the “war” at Lefortovo be of use or harm? Of course, it will be so good to break free from this horrible Château d'If,” I tried to calm myself down.

It was strange to see the pictures of the ordinary free Moscow life passing by while you were sitting on the bench and looking out of the prison truck window, but you did not want to jump out of the Gazel, as if it was a TV show. I looked for the words to describe that odd feeling for a long time. Probably, you and the surrounding free life were in different dimensions. In films, when a man dies, his shadow often walks around and sees everything, but cannot influence anything. 

I could probably compare that trip with graduation from university in Kostroma and returning to Serpukhov. My dormitory was on the bank of the Volga the same way as the university building, next to the bridge crossing that big river. My mother and Uncle Zhenia came to pick me up with Zhyguli. 

We left early in the morning when the sun was shining brightly at our dormitory’s windows. Serpukhov was seven to eight hours away, and we wanted to arrive before the dark. We were riding across the Volga in the direction of the fire ball, and the building of the technological university had been getting smaller and smaller until it finally turned into a little spot. I will never forget that bright sensation of the wonderful future; it seemed I could conquer the world. The knowledge gained in my Alma Mater and my experience as a chief engineer in the regional headquarters of the construction groups gave me confidence, which was supported by my creative work as a captain of the KVN team and first business attempts. In addition to the diploma, I had a party membership card of the CPSU.

Of course, my trip to Matrosskaia Tishina was not that bright. If the hell was divided into floors, it would be similar to moving from a cellar with huge pots into the half-basement with kinder devils and smaller fires.

The police guards are always sympathetic to me as they see lack of justice and my desire to fight for my life. In contrast to the prison wardens from Lefortovo and Matroska, they helped me carry my bags from the vehicle. 

In addition to the Russians, the most common nationality among the wardens is the Kalmyks. Some of them are extremely violent, but most residents of the steppe are very friendly and reasonable. I was surprised to find out that the Kalmyks were Buddhists, because I used to think it was Islam.

I spent several hours in the “gathering” premises in the first detention centre, and then I was taken to the sixth special unit. As I have already written before, I had lots of belongings, so I asked the guys from the maintenance staff to help me carry the bags.

“It is too late,” the officers of the Federal Penitentiary Service replied unkindly. “Besides, it is Saturday, their day-off!”

The path from the “gathering” premises to the sixth special unit through the winding labyrinths of horrible cellars reminding of a horror is around half a kilometre. The young warden accompanying me refused to help me flatly,

“It is against the rules.”

“And what if it was your father suffering that way? You are my son’s age! I have been carrying these bags all day long.”

“Yes, my father is a year younger than you, but I can’t.”

I made 14 trips in three hours and a half of continuous carriage of my belongings; I did not rest for a minute. My vest was soaking wet, even my socks were slopping in my trainers as if I had crossed the river. On walking 14 kilometres, I felt like a camel carrying bags filled with water and commodities along the Karakum Desert. It seemed a hump was going to grow on my back soon.

“Aren’t you tired of walking? I can’t move my legs although I haven’t carried anything. Let’s sit for a while,” the pink-cheeked prison warden said with sympathy.

“We will not finish until the night time. It is a bad idea to wake up your cell mates, and the light is off in the cell,” I objected and would not stop.

I entered the cell at 22:15 and was met by two middle-aged Russians. Andrei and Sasha explained it to me that the camera had not been equipped because they had been transferred there the day before, probably, specifically for me. They both were smokers, and I threw them into the dilemma: they would either quit smoking, or I would file an application for transfer to another cell. Andrei quitted that day although he had been smoking for twenty years, and Sasha was transferred to another cell. The cigarette smoke bothers me and makes me fear that I will resume smoking, which will suppress my will and spirit, ruin my health and be a bad example for my sons. I used to smoke for twenty years.

The cells in the sixth special unit are for four people, with one double berth. The floor area is around 17 square meters, and the ceiling is 4 meters. There is a shower and small window next to the ceiling, with no sun penetrating through it. We live in the artificial light around the clock. Chipped walls, a wooden floor, a fridge and a TV with digital channels. I submitted a request for redecorating the cell at my own expense at once. To be honest, the living conditions are not that important; an attorney can come here every day, there is e-mail, so the connection to the world is way better than in Lefortovo, which is the most important thing. I will not have to waste time struggling against the senior executives of the detention centre as I did in Lefortovo, and I can dedicate all my time to appealing from the violations made during the investigation in my criminal case.

In several days, I was summoned to the meeting of the committee where Morozov, the acting head of the first detention centre, and many officers of the Federal Penitentiary Service asked my why I had been registered as the one prone to escape, self-injuries and suicide. I told them in detail all the stories of my “hostilities” in Lefortovo and Romashin’s logic, and explained that it was his primitive revenge for my publications and corruption investigations into the public procurement by Lefortovo. Of course, I also told them about the “planted” terrorist and his attack. They were very surprised to find out that I had not tried to cut my veins, to hang myself, but had still been registered as a suicider.

“Please send me for the specialised examination in connection with my chronic disease. There are no other complaints! I live like in paradise!”

By inertia, I have to go to the Basmannyi Court to appeal from the investigator’s actions although the initial purpose was to see my attorneys and relatives and find out the latest news. Of course, the “Basmannyi justice” never satisfy the complaints of the accused, no matter how reasoned they are. I see no use filing such complaints as I am not in Lefortovo anymore. However, the investigator and the Basmannyi court, who know that, now want me to attend the hearing despite my petitions; they do not want to suffer alone and want to torture me as well.

On 3 December, Iulia published another address on behalf of her and all my children to President Putin. They say the number of views keeps growing and has caused the public stir.

After I had meet my attorney where he told my about my family’s second address, I was taken to the calling room where I met Ramzan Tsitsulaev, the former Plenipotentiary Envoy of Chechnya to Ukraine. He is in the same cell as Pavel Marushchak from the Komi Government. I had a short talk with Ramzan; we definitely have lots of common friends and things to discuss. I know his story shown on the central TV channels well. First of all, I have heard a lot about how Oleg Sidiakin and Marat Saichenko, the reporters of Life News captured by the Ukrainian law enforcement officers, were released. Tsitsulaev saved them in May 2014 by Ramzan Kadyrov’s order. In fact, he got into hot water himself some time later.

At the end of 2014, the officers of the Moscow Criminal Investigation Department tried to detain Ramzan Tsitsulaev in the bar of Zolotoe Koltso Hotel in the centre of Moscow during the transfer of a dummy (a pack allegedly containing money), but his security guards countered the officers’ attack, so Ramzan left for Chechnya and then for Ukraine. Kyiv deported him in connection with the collection of secret data while our law enforcement officers demonstrated unexpected solidarity with their Ukrainian colleagues and detained Ramzan at the border in Bryansk Region. The whirlpool of events which Tsitsulaev got into deserves a novel.

I have been to Chechnya many times and know all the leading politicians of the Nakh who are in office now and the former leaders of the Republic. Former leader of Ingushetia Ruslan Aushev came to different events in my district many times. He still enjoys great respect among the Ghalghaj (that is how the people in Ingushetia call themselves). I am also on friendly terms with former head of Chechnya Alu Alkhanov, who is the Deputy Minister of Justice of the Russian Federation now. During the war in the Chechen Republic, I went to the Argun Border Guard unit many times together with the Chairman of Brothers in Arms and Deputy of the State Duma Dmitrii Sablin and former Mayor of Zvenigorod and my friend Lenia Stavitskii, by the order of Boris Vsevolodovich Gromov. We brought warm clothes, medicines, power stations and tents as out patronage assistance and regularly took famous artists to organise concerts for border guard officers in Itum-Kale District. For instance, Vika Tsyganova was not afraid of performing in such harsh conditions.

My connection with Chechnya grew even stronger during the last years because Grozny volleyball club was headquartered in our Nadezhda Sports Palace. I played for Grozny team against Patrushev’s team from the Volleyball Federation several times. I love this wonderful sport and regret not having a chance to exercise in prison.

Ramzan Kadyrov awarded me for my help to the team, but it was Serpukhov District that gained lots of advantages from cooperation with the Chechen. When Grozny club moved to us to live and train five years ago, we got complaints from the law enforcement authorities, the government of the Moscow Region and local gangsters.

“You have handed the district to the Chechen! You have submitted to Kadyrov!”

I heard so much lament, especially after the events at the vegetable warehouse in Biriulevo and public clashes.

By the way, the Dagestani State Academic Honoured Dancing Ensemble “Lezginka”, the winner of many world contests, performed in Nadezhda Sports Palace that very day. I was so happy to applaud to the amazing grace of the Dagestani dancers, their bright costumes and Caucasian spirit against the background of the destruction of the stalls by the residents of Moscow at the vegetable warehouse in Biriulevo. This contrast between the war and the peace only made our residents more impressed by the amazing show winning the hearts of the audience all over the world. The standing ovation was accompanied with tears in the eyes of the grateful audience. What can be better than vibrant lezginka!

By the way, I heard complaints about the arrival of the Chechen volleyball players not only from the law enforcement authorities and officials, but also the local residents filled with superstitions and stereotypes. Especially as Ramzan Kadyrov was not as popular in Russia and supported by the Kremlin as he is now. I did my best to prove to everyone what advantages the district would gain from Grozny club. Our residents could attend the volleyball matches of the Super League of the Championship of Russia free of charge. The Chechen paid lots of money to rent the hall, so we could buy new fitness equipment, furniture and everything Nadezhda needed. Moreover, the sports palace had been constructed for volleyball and had 17-meter ceilings, but Governor Vorobev deprived us of an opportunity to maintain our Nadezhda team, which had been financed by the district for fifteen years and played in the Top League of Russia. It would be sad not to use the potential of that great building. Moreover, it is twice as interesting to watch the Super League matches since volleyball is one of the few competitive sports where our teams are champions of the world and win gold medals at the Olympic games.

Fakel volleyball club (Novy Urengoy), which had replaced Grozny two years ago, won the European Cup last year and the bronze medal at the world club championship this year. Zenit (Saint Petersburg) is the best volleyball club in the world. The Chechen left us three years ago because they had constructed a luxurious sports palace in Grozny in a year. If I am not mistaken, Fakel pays the district seven million roubles a year for the rent of the sports facilities. Here, in prison, I remember Fakel every day because the towel with their club symbols hangs against the back of my bed. Their black and red symbols match the interior of this hell-like place really well.

 

***

When I read the RBC on 4 December, I was happy to find out that Eva Merkacheva and Genri Reznik, who were my public supporters, were members of the new Presidential Council for Human Rights. Thanks God Fedotov was re-elected the Chairman. His visits to me in the detention cell took place during the landmark events in my life. During their first visit, Mikhail Fedorov and Andrei Babushkin came to the fifth detention centre to demand the notary’s admission to register me for the election. Their second visit was on the 26th day of my hunger strike when I could hardly move; they talked me into stopping that protest under the condition of admission to the hospital. I saw sympathy in Mikhail Aleksandrovich’s eyes, which I was not used to in prison. He visited me for the third time after the attack by the heavy-weight fighter Kodirov. Actually, he was not admitted, but my soul was filled with light of his care.

Evgenii Bobrov, the Deputy Chairman of the Council for Human Rights, also protected me from the criminal prosecution on the political grounds in public. He has been fighting for the constitutional right of our citizens for local self-governance for many years, and he is also a deputy representing Naro-Fominsk. 

On 11 December, the Council for Human Rights is having a traditional meeting in the Kremlin with the President of Russia before the Constitution Day. It is quite possible that my criminal case will be discussed at the Presidential Council, which makes my heart beat faster. When the attorney came, I wanted to share that piece of news at once, but Andrei interrupted me with more stunning information. It turned out the Dmitrii Peskov, the President’s Press Secretary, had a meeting with students in the Moscow State University of Foreign Affairs, and my daughter Masha asked him a question,

“Why has there been no response to the threats in the video address? Have those who threatened, General of the Federal Security Service Tkachev and Head of the Internal Policy Directorate of the President of Russia Iarin, been punished? We do not object to the investigation of our father’s case, but we would like his detention to be replaced with the home arrest as there are five children in our family. We have published another video address to Vladimir Vladimirovich today. Can you inform him so that he will watch?”

At the end of her speech, Masha was almost crying, and Peskov, judging by the tone of his voice, was touched and responded very warmly,

“There are different life situations, you have to be strong. I promise to tell the President about the video address. Has you mother made another one? (It means they have seen the previous ones. note A. Sh.). Where can I watch it?”

“In the social media.”

“This is not the best method, it can be published another way.”

“We had no other way.”

“I promise the President will find out about it, but I cannot say how he will respond.”

After the lecture, everyone rushed to Dmitrii Peskov to take a picture. Masha approached him as well. Her group mates gave her way and pushed her closer to the Press Secretary. He saw my daughter, took her by her hand and led her to the office where Anatolii Torkunov, the Director of the Moscow State University of Foreign Affairs, was sitting. Peskov gave Masha his assistant’s telephone number and told her that her mother (Iulia) should write a letter, put it into an envelope and come to the Presidential Executive Office to the Staraia Square the next day; the Press Secretary’s assistant was supposed to meet Iulia. A personal letter for the President.

I have not received such reassuring news for six months of my detention. No matter how hard I tried to calm myself down and not to rejoice ahead of time, not to fly high in my hopes because it would be painful to fall down after I faced the reality, I could not. In my dreams, I already imagined my little children in my arms. I have given so much love and support to my daughter for a good reason. She was so determined in her conversation with Dmitrii Peskov! My hope for the positive outcome in the Moscow City Court on 5 December based on the summons regarding extension of the arrest was also supported by the fact that judge of the Basmannyi Court Lenskaia had grossly violated the Criminal Procedure Code of the Russian Federation when she had me taken away from the court room.

I was not taken to the Moscow City Court on 5 December although I had written a petition for personal attendance. There were some benefits: first of all, I did not have to shake in prison trucks and glass cells in courts; secondly, the judge would be physically unable to interrupt me during the video conference, and I had been intentionally deprived of an opportunity to speak at the first-instance court. I crossed myself, put on a rucksack and went along the long corridors to the video conference with the Moscow City Court. Starting from the prosecutor’s first words and support of the investigator’s petition for extension of the arrest, I realised there had been no response, so I came back down to earth with a bump. Our courts deliver decisions without consideration of any arguments. It seems if a monkey was placed into the cell, and the investigator and the prosecutor read the lines from the War and Peace or Torah instead of the request for extension of the arrest, the judge would affirm that. 

Nobody tried to interrupt me during my speech, but I was naturally afraid of any comments and chattered my text without any pauses and emotions. Although I knew that judges never listed to the accused, I had spent three days getting ready for the speech. I wanted to raise the spirits of my family who came to my hearings, and a chance in impress the journalists also encouraged me to demonstrate my speaking talent. As for journalists, it was bad luck: footballers Kokorin and Mamaev had their arrest extended the same day, and case of the administrative arrest of human rights defender Lev Ponomarev was also considered. The people came to the hearing from different Moscow Regional towns: Orekhovo-Zuevo, Roshal etc. There was also Alina Kamalian awarded a medal in Dashkovka School, a talented singer.

In my 38-minute speech, I reminded judge Borisova that I had suffered bodily harm when I had been dragged away from the court room, and that the pepper spray had been used. I emphasised the high economic development pace of the district, construction of the modern investment companies, country hotels, the school for orphans with disabilities “Absolute”, and the cottage village for the adoptive families in Raisemenovskoe.

All the companies had received land at the minimum price with all the benefits, but they paid hundreds of times more as taxes; if the administration had charged that money from the very beginning, many of them would have been scared off.

The same was about allocation of the land plot for construction of Bravo and Lenta Malls ten years ago I was accused of. That resolution had been checked by the courts and investigators many times, and everything was found to be legal and substantiated. Why did the investigators bring that rotten product? Didn’t they have anything fresher? With better evidence.

I told the men in blue jackets that if they brought me to the grave by trying so heard, a huge number of awards and medals on little pillows granted for drawing investment into the district would be a kilometre long in the mourning procession.

Let’s return to the investigation. According to the Criminal Procedure Code of the Russian Federation, it is supposed to be completed in two months, but the investigative group of 12 people did not manage in six months. Nothing is done. When I request face-to-face interrogation, my petitions are dismissed, and they pretend to be working. Three more criminal cases have been opened in connection with the same allocation of the land plot. Why not 10 or 20? Why not 100 for one episode! For the beauty and effect of it! 

First, they accused me of the abuse, now it is fraud, but any lawyer knows that you cannot be accused of the same crime twice. Where there is abuse, there is no fraud, and vice versa.

I reminded the judge of the meeting in the Presidential Executive Office on 2 May, where Iarin and General of the Federal Security Service Tkachev threatened to put me behind the bars and attach all the property of mine and my relatives. A man’s word is his bond. My house has been attached despite the fact that this is the only home of my minor children. All the other property has been attached as well. I was a well-know businessman in Serpukhov, and when the tax inspectorate was established at the beginning of 1990s, I declared the largest proceeds and was the President of the Serpukhov Union of Manufacturers and Entrepreneurs. Why do these young men in light blue shirts and blue jackets, the generals of the Federal Security Service, who have not been in business a single day, have Rublevka palaces worth billions of roubles? Where did they get the money? Why is their property not attached? For the last three months, the investigators have attached the property of my 83-year-old mother, who bought her apartment and vegetable garden in the Soviet times. My parents-in-law have also had everything attached. 

My mother Zoia Mikhailovna is an honoured person, who finished the girl’s high school with a medal and graduated from university with honours. It is a pity that she cannot tell in this room how her house was hit with a shell during the war, how she saw bombs and heard fascists’ bullets, and how the family cooked nettle and potato peel because of the famine in all those terrible years. She saw Hitler’s people very close.

“Mother! Look, are these people in front of me better?!” I almost cried it out at the hearing and pointed at the prosecutor and the investigator. “I will probably never see my mother again. This will kill her.” I continued, “In the court room, there is Nikolai Nikolaevich Alekseev, my father-in-law, who worked as the director of the construction Mobile Mechanical Division for many years and held many other senior offices; he also sweated blood at the gold works. He has also had all his property and even Gazel attached. Look at them as well, Nikolai Nikolaevich! All these “heroes” are sitting in front of you and fidgeting their fat asses against chairs. Why was my house attacked by 50 people with machine pistols? Why were I and my daughter thrown onto the floor, with the weapons pointed at us, and why were my little children dragged out of their beds? What was the purpose of that demonstration of power? Why did these “heroes” drop their weapons in Chechnya and knelt down in front of the combatants, but they are so good at fighting children now? Why did the Federal Security Service let the tragedy with numerous victims happen in Kerch? They had no time for that, they are busy with framed-up cases. Why did teenage Mikhail Zhlobitskii blow himself up in the building of the Federal Security Service? Because everyone is tired of these “masters of the universe” with machine pistols and unlimited power. What else have the investigators done in six months? They have delivered on the treats of Iarin and Tkachev and prevented me from running for the election in breach of the Constitution of the Russian Federation. I would have definitely won the election by a wide margin even from Lefortovo. The entire Serpukhov District is disgusted to see how they are finishing off the family with many children. Doesn’t it make you sick?” I asked the investigator loudly. “What is it, 1937? Dictatorship?”

My new attorney Oleg Shliakhov also amused the audience at the hearing greatly. This grey-haired man kept filing petitions to the judge for an hour and a half, so the hearing took four hours. I remember the investigator laughing at Oleg Petrovich’s questions, which seemed stupid to him. My attorney asked how the evidence in the case was protected, how the witnesses in the case were defended from pressure, and whether the investigators needed any help. Of course, those puffed men in uniforms responded that everything was 100 % protected, like behind the stone wall. It was fun to see their fallen faces when Shliakhov used their responses to destroy the arguments regarding the need to extend my arrest, and the investigator’s statements like “Shestun can put pressure on the witnesses and destroy the evidence...” raised indignant grumble in the room.

I cannot understand how judge Borisova, who sees this circus, can deliver such decisions. Everything is so obvious that even a blind man will see how empty the charges are. Karma is a bitch...

When in prison trucks, I always ask the prisoners what to write about. Most of them ask to write about the court abuse.

By the way, Shliakhov mentioned the only specific testimony by the witnesses, “most honest” Smetankin and Popov, who were afraid that I could put pressure on them with my liaisons in the local law enforcement authorities. I added my own arguments there,

“How can I put pressure if I criticised them and demanded to dismiss Valerii Puchkov, the Head of the Department of Internal Affairs, a complete scoundrel. If I expressly criticise Viktor Urbanovich, the Director of the Serpukhov Department of the Federal Security Service, and his mother Natalia Urbanovich, the President of the Serpukhov City Court, working in pair and often covering up drug dealers. If two previous Serpukhov prosecutors Abrosimov and Bazylian were arrested based on my statement, and the new one, Roman Denisov, was their subordinate. Doesn’t it seem strange that I am in prison myself despite the fact that I am the only applicant in present-day Russia who has put behind the bars several top-rank officials of the General Prosecutor’s Office and Moscow Regional Prosecutor’s Office? Nikandrov, the investigator in the “gambling case” and General of the Investigative Committee, is held in Lefortovo next to me. It was Popov who bought a house from Abrosimov from the General Prosecutor’s Office and lives there now,” I continued. “Can you believe such witness? Let me remind that the criminal case regarding theft of a hundred land plots in Lipitskoe, where Popov was the head and signed fake extracts from the rural household register, was opened based on my statement. Several people were arrested, but Aleksei Popov still has not been prosecuted. Moreover, I didn’t support him at the election because he had recently stopped working and interacting with the residents.”

To finish my speech, I said that four of my attorneys were former officers from different agencies: Trepashkin was a KGB colonel, Grivtsov was an investigator of the Main Investigations Directorate of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, Sobolev was from the Prosecutor’s Office, and Shliakhov was a police investigator. They were of the common opinion that they had never seen such impudent abuse and framed-up case.

Of course, the decision was to extend my arrest, but I was not in despair as I had some hope associated with 11 December, when the members of the Presidential Council for Human Rights will be able to tell Putin about my case in detail at the meeting. Moreover, I believe that Peskov will bring my wife Iulia’s letter to the President. In addition, after 11 December, there will be another meeting between V. V. Putin and human rights defenders regarding the future amnesty, including Tatiana Moskalkova, the Commissioner for Human Rights in the Russian Federation. I found it out from Tatiana Potiaeva, the Commissioner for Human Rights in Moscow, who had come to me to Matrosskaia Tishina on 4 December regarding my deprivation of medical aid. She came to visit the Ukrainian sailors detained in the Kerch Strait, and the others were held in Lefortovo. Tatiana Aleksandrovna demanded from the senior executives of the first detention centre not to hinder my examination by Bakulev Centre, and I believed again that I will have coronarography made by the specialists in the end. No such luck! When Iulia brought the contract with medical centre, Galina Viktorovna Timchuk, the Head of Medical Unit 77 of the Federal Penitentiary Service of the Russian Federation, started looking for excuses to deprive me of that examination like an eel.

“We have already sent Shestun’s medical file to Serbskii Institute for the forensic examination,” Timchuk claimed deviously.

“But we are not doing it at the budget expense, we have paid for it ourselves, we don’t need his medical file,” Iulia objected. 

The prison warden in the white uniform kept thinking of excuses for refusal. It was obvious that General of the Federal Security Service had already given his instructions to the Federal Penitentiary Service regarding me. I will never cease to be amazed by the meanness of these dogs.

While I was discussing possible arrest of my attorneys Bespalov and Kamaldinov with the investigator, he let it out that they had also considered arrest of my 83-year-old mother. Of course, I know that these bastards are afraid of nothing, but is it possible to have no self-preservation instinct? Given her health, my mother will not survive a week in prison! It is highly likely that the citizens of Russia may start a riot and kill these bastards by dragging them from the building in Tekhnicheskii Lane!

I am well aware of the fact that they can do it. For instance, they arrested the elderly father of Colonel Zakharchenko and held him in Matrosskaia Tishina for almost a year. He told me in detail how they had been blackmailing him with his father’s health. The prisoners have told me hundreds of stories of detention of wives and adult children as well as conditions for release of their family members subject to the confession. What makes the Investigative Committee different from the terrorists taking hostages then?

After my arrest had been extended by the Moscow City Court on 5 December, it was clear that I would celebrate the New Year in prison. Prisoners hate these two weeks of holidays. It is the worst time for all the Russian prisons: no parcels, meetings, restaurant, telephone calls, letters, attorneys’ visits, doctors, any mail and library. People literally go insane during those days so I have to hurry to prepare some food, documents for complaints, publications etc.

Another upsetting thing is that Serpukhov District will cease to exist on 1 January 2019. Powers of the deputies and heads of villages will be terminated. The district and the city have been fully submitted to the Podolsk gang. When the government of the Moscow Region approved the master layout of the district, they made changes to the land plot of 53.8 hectares in Verkhnee Shakhlovo and approved its intended use as a disposal site. I had refused Governor Vorobev’s administrative office flatly several times when they asked me to approve allocation of land for the waste disposal site there and in Fenino.

“Only if I die,” I claimed firmly. 

The distance from the land plot near the concrete part to Obolensk is 3.5 km, and my house is 5 km away from Lesnaia, so all my family members are choking because of the dump gases. The micro-biologists’ village is going to get unsuitable for living in two or three years, the same way as Bolshevik and Serpukhov itself. Of course, Ermakov, the servant of the Podolsk gang, will not stand against Governor Vorobev earning money by sacrificing the clean air of the Moscow Region residents. The only thing the people can do is to save themselves from that threat!

On 27 December, there will be a public hearing on increasing the volume of the rubbish accepted by Lesnaia disposal site. I do not think there will be many protesters except for activist Andrei Elkin. These are the “gifts” prepared by Governor Vorobev for the residents of Serpukhov lands for the New Year.

I am also preparing a “New Year gift” for K Directorate of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation. I am going to finish the sensational article on drug dealing in Russia and the shadow side of operations of the Russian customs soon. Of course, special attention will be paid to the supporters of that “business” with the turnover of trillions rather than billions roubles a year.

 

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