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REBELLIOUS PRISONER. CHAPTER SIX

ELECTION, LEFORTOVO HORRORS, GIANT SQUID

ELECTION, LEFORTOVO HORRORS, GIANT SQUID

Today is the fourteenth day of the hunger strike. No food. As for liquids, there is only water and green tea. No matter how strange it sounds, I feel really good, I have not felt hunger for ten days. Moreover, the idea of eating itself scares me because I have persuaded myself that I cannot eat. I know that it makes my mother cry every day, and I ask my attorneys to explain to her that I even like this feeling of lightness and incredible clarity of the mind. I play checkers with Roman every day, and the longer my hunger strike is, the more often I win. Also, I can handle the self-castigation attacks easier, I do not think about what I could have done another way to avoid imprisonment as much as I used to. It is a common problem of all the detainees who keep analysing how they could have avoided the arrest. 

Before the hunger strike, when I was worried, by blood pressure went up to 160-180, and now it is only 110 by 80 because the body has no energy, so there is no energy to feed emotions. I am a sound sleeper, but I do not do sport because of the doctors’ recommendations not to spend extra energy when on a hunger strike. In the end, I am satisfied with myself that I have passed this test and have not made a fool of myself. Moreover, my glucose level is fine with no diabetes pills.

13.08.2018

After a two-week pause, I was finally visited by the members of the public monitoring commission Ivan Melnikov and Aleksandr Ionov to talk me into eating. Aleksandr was a tall and handsome young man who always wore the most fashionable and expensive clothes. He said that he had taken part in numerous international litigations, defended Viktor But and other famous Russian prisoners in foreign prisons, and also said that he owned private military companies fighting in Syria and other flash points on our planet.

The main piece of news delivered by Ionov was that he had spoken to my wife Iulia the day before at midnight and found out that she had been removed from the election by the Serpukhov District Court based on the statement of claim filed by the technical candidate of the “Podolsk brigade”, allegedly due to inauthenticity of the signatures collected in support of Iuliia Shestun to be registered as a candidate for the office of the Head of Serpukhov District. I asked the members of the public monitoring commission to call her and calm her down because the decision could be appealed in upper courts, and asked them to add that as even I had failed to win over that gang, she could hardly do that. 

Moreover, her removal from the election is another demonstration of the savage grin of the Moscow Region authorities and their puppets in Serpukhov, the Podolsk brigade. I was told that when the leading candidate Ermakov had come to the district to meet the residents, they said,

“You have imprisoned our Shestun, and now you want us to vote for you? Let Aleksandr Viacheslavovich be your competitor, and then we will think who to vote for.”

I am sure that Iuliia had good chances of winning the election, at least because of the brand name of Shestun, even if there was no active election campaigning. Eventually, when people see the woman with four children, with her husband imprisoned based on the framed-up case, they will vote for her out of compassion and solidarity, to protest against such injustice. Also, the decision of the Serpukhov City Court can be appealed in upper courts. It will also be another newsmaker that even “women are afraid”.

Mikhail Fedotov, the Chairperson of the Presidential Council for Human Rights, is preparing a written statement regarding my illegal suspension from the election. I believe the results can be revoked by court. I wish Ella Pamfilova, the Chairperson of the Central Election Commission, would not be afraid of the commands from the Presidential Executive Office (and there will definitely be some since the election is managed by Andrei Iarin, the one tried to make me resign). Ella Aleksandrovna’s support in court could play the key role, let alone her right to take a wide range of decisions on the election. If I imagine such progress, I will be registered for the repeated election and will be quite likely to win the election, which will definitely be known all over Russia and abroad. The man kept in Lefortovo won the election over such a powerful administrative resource as the Governor and Podolsk gang without even leaving that bunker.

The election is important not only as an election process, but also as a chance to demonstrate to Russia that people do not like injustice and violence to the family with many children, despite their indifference to politics. 

14.08.2018

Today is the sixteenth day of the hunger strike with no food or nutritional liquids like juice, fruit starch drinks or broth. I visit a doctor daily, and he takes my blood pressure and temperature and, of course, weight. Today it was 81.1 kg against 93 kg in the very beginning. It is an ordinary result for a hunger strike of such duration. You lose one or two kilos a day during the first days, and then it is only 200 to 300 grams.

I told Ilia, the general practitioner, that the members of the public monitoring commission who had come three days ago suggested that I should ask to be admitted to the prison hospital at Matrosskaia Tishina so that I would be examined by doctors properly and be treated; it was not easy to terminate the long-term hunger strike because the bowels had not been functioning at all for more than two weeks. I thought it was a good offer and wrote a request for being transferred to Matroska to the head of the prison the next morning.

When I agreed to write the application, Sasha Ionov and Ivan Melnikov were glad, actually the same way as Nikolai Vasilovich Ivanov, the lieutenant colonel of the detention centre who also attended the meeting. In fact, it would be a good option for Lefortovo: to avoid that scandalous situation with protests next to the checkpoint that were held daily, my regular publications in the media describing the secret data on the detainees, torture in the cellar and horrible rules of the prison in detail.

15.08.2018

There is only one prison in the world Lefortovo can be compared with – Guantanamo. It is the only place where terrorists are held and tortured with the same secrecy and cynicism as here. 

For instance, the local rumour holds that two years ago Tachboltaev from Uzbekistan, an accomplice of Serazhitdin Ergashev, had a mop stuck into his back passage, after which he walked awkwardly splayed for almost a year and plead guilty immediately. He is still held here for terrorism, and he can be considered lucky. For instance, they say that a detainee from Tajikistan convicted under Article 226 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation “Distribution of Drugs” could not bear torture with electric current and died about three years ago.

More than ten people have died in Lefortovo for the last three years, and there have been hardly any publications in the media; everything is concealed artfully. 

All the detainees have heard of the torture chamber in the cellar, where they mostly work with the criminals from Tajikistan and Uzbekistan accused of terrorism. They do not complain a lot as they understand how dangerous such people can be. By the way, all the detainees accused of terrorism plead 100 % guilty because of the beating and torture. 

As the doctors have told me, the good thing about this detention centre that everyone is in the same cells of 7.8 square meters, with no hot water and with an iron toilet. It does not matter whether you are an oligarch, a terrorist or a general. There are better and worse cells in other prisons, and money or influence often gives you a priority of choice. They say the former director of the Federal Penitentiary Service Aleksandr Reimer had special conditions of detention and spent hours in the office of Aleksei Romashin, the senior executive of the prison, eating hot meals from the restaurant and speaking on the phone without any restrictions.

Reimer was held in Lefortovo for two years; he refused to talk to the investigators, flipped them off, called them animals and hated them. He was in cell 28, together with billionaire colonel Zakharchenko.

When danger was threatening Aleksandr Aleksandrovich, he took his money and escaped to Israel, which did not extradite anyone to other states. He was drawn to Moscow by fraud and arrested. One of the people he trusted called him and said,

“I have been to Kremlin, they are going to offer you a new position!”

And the sixty-five-year-old head of the Federal Penitentiary Service, who had been through fire and water, believed in that incredible offer like a little boy. When he was in the prison settlement in Kirov Region, Reimer said during the interview that he would never have thought that he could be in one of the prisons he had organised himself, at the age of 68. 

They say that Romashin, who welcomed Reimer in his office, had actually never been subordinated to him. Lefortovo is officially a part of the Federal Penitentiary Service, but everyone knows that prisoners are brought here only by the director order of the director of the Federal Security Service or his deputies.

15.08.2018

For the last ten years, I have had a lot of interaction with the Sixth Service of the Internal Security Directorate of the Federal Security Service, M Directorate and many other units of the Federal Security Service, and I was perfectly aware of the fact that Lefortovo was their home territory the same way as special unit 99/1 in Matrosskaia Tishina. Federal Security Service’s bunker – this is how we call Lefortovo.

As for attitude to publication of the video address to the President together with the audio records of General of the Federal Security Service Tkachev and Head of the Interior Policy Directorate of the President of Russia Iarin, the officers’ opinions differed: some criticised and some supported the idea. For instance, most officers of the Sixth Service criticised although there were many alternative opinions. On the contrary, most officers of M Directorate supported me and said Tkachev was an opportunistic place hunter who would stop at nothing, who did not mind ties with crime bosses, who was not very smart, but had a great appetite. The officers of M Directorate called my arrest abuse and betrayal of the system itself which had withdrawn from its principles, let alone the fact that there had never been such professional failure by the key general of the Federal Security Service, the Head of K Directorate, before. As a reminder, Tkachev managed the investigation and detention of all the governors, Minister of Economic Development Uliukaev, oligarchs, Sugrobov etc. The records of his conversations were partly published in the video address to the President of the Russian Federation; there the general told in detail how he imprisoned everyone by order, regardless of the fact whether a crime had been committed. 

When I responded to his threats and said that the President would not be happy to find out that I was under pressure to free the vacancy for the representative of the “Podolsk brigade”, Ivan Ivanovich answered,

“Do you really believe that the President does not know Lalakin (Sergei Lalakin nicknamed as Luchok; according to Wikipedia, he is a permanent leader of the Podolsk criminal gang; A. Sh.)?”

“I think he does not,” I replied.

“You should not think so; of course, they meet,” Tkachev claimed dismissively (there is an audio record; A. Sh.).

 

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