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REBELLIOUS PRISONER. CHAPTER TWENTY

INVESTIGATIVE COMMITTEE AND PROSECUTOR GENERAL’S OFFICE STRIKE BACK. KREMLEVSKII TSENTRAL (February 2019)

INVESTIGATIVE COMMITTEE AND PROSECUTOR GENERAL’S OFFICE STRIKE BACK. KREMLEVSKII TSENTRAL (February 2019)

 

 Surprise is the main feeling after the fury accompanying me in my prison adventures. I could never have imagined that within eight months of my detention I would change four detention centres and take a challenging durability test in the form of a hunger strike, especially given the fact that repeated deprivation of food during such a short period of time is of double harm. The quantity of the hardships I have faced runs high, but the army of billionaire Generals of the Federal Security Service Tkachev and Dorofeev fed with the rubbish money of Governor Vorobev and personal participation of General Prosecutor Chaika, who is ardently supported by his offended sons Artem and Igor, in my destruction have hit me so many times that I can hardly understand why I am still alive. 

Artem Chaika was the leader of the prosecutor gang of ten people who were imprisoned in connection with the gambling case, but he evaded punishment and liability only because Iurii Iakovlevich did not sign the letter of accusation for his subordinates. His younger son, Igor Chaika, won the bidding procedure for the amount of 145 billion roubles for disposal of the Moscow rubbish to the disposal sites in Moscow Region with his father’s help, so he is definitely offended by my struggle against rubbish in Moscow Region.

After the New Year, within thirty days, the valiant Investigative Committee and the Federal Security Service had another attack on my house by breaking through the windows. The armed officers tore off four TVs, sports equipment from the gym in front of my minor children and conducted another search; my family was stressed for around 24 hours. That was the Federal Security Service’s gift to my children during their New Year holidays. 

A week later, the Prosecutor General’s Office had a briefing where they stated that I had stolen ten billion roubles, which would be seized. I could not even imagine that the “public eye” could be lying so impudently, but all the central TV channels were happy to discuss the false flows from the prosecutor’s office, and the newspapers and portals repeated their information with joy. Lies by the people in a blue uniform are not a surprising thing, but when Kirill Kabanov, a public figure and the Chairman of the National Anti-Corruption Committee, accused me confidently on a TV show, even I was ready to believe his mean lies. Of course, it is easy to be the Kremlin exposer who flatters and bites by the order of Iarin and Kirienko. 

I would like to quote the words by Aleksandr Minkin for him, “The journalist blaming prisoners is a shame. Blaming prisoners and dead men is a shame. The journalist must write about those who have power, those who are in control, those who steal, humiliate and rape.” 

Hear me, Kabanov, are you afraid to write about those in control? Then shut up and do not be a shame. 

I was also surprised to hear the second servant of Head of the Interior Policy Directorate of the President of Russia Andrei Iarin, Oleg Matveichev, a famous Kremlin political technologist who claimed directly, 

“And what? They threatened him... They offered filing an application without any conflicts, and there would be nothing, no arrests or seizure of assets!”

 Matveichev meant the threats by General of the Federal Security Service Tkachev and Iarin. As they say, no comments. Such practice of political cleansing is turning into a common thing in Russia. Here we come!

Hardly had I come to my senses, ten days later investigator Roman Vidiukov, a fan of porn websites, instituted the criminal proceedings against me based on grave Article 290 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation “Bribe in an Especially Large Scale”. It was a security shot to finish me off, and I had no hope to leave the prison alive. Actually, they had promised that if I kept writing exposing materials, the consequences would be disastrous. A man’s word is his bond. As they say, I was asking for it. 

My future grave is the harshest detention centre of the country, 99/1, known as Kremlevskii Tsentral, in comparison with which Lefortovo is a resort. It is very similar to Hitler’s blitzkrieg, an instantaneous war to seize the USSR. 

To be honest, it was especially painful after the month of hope, December, when there were numerous inspiring pieces of news. It seemed I would be able to hug my children during the home arrest very soon. First, Masha contacted Press Secretary of the President Dmitrii Peskov, who promised in public that he would tell my story to Vladimir Putin. After that, during the meeting of the Presidential Council for Human Rights in Kremlin, Andrei Babushkin asked the President to help with Shestun’s home arrest with account of his numerous achievements in development of the district and many children. Mikhail Fedotov, the Chairman of the Council for Human Rights, was sitting next to Vladimir Vladimirovich and explaining the reports in detail. 

Mikhail Aleksandrovich visited me in the detention centre three times; he knows my wife Iuliia, and I definitely had the intoxicating hope that he would surely tell about the framed-up criminal case. 

In addition, I was transferred to Matrosskaia Tishina from Lefortovo, which seemed to be improvement of my conditions. 

I did not want to recollect that investigator Vidiukov claimed at the beginning of September, when I was in prison, that the General Prosecutor’s Office would take away all my property. Actually, the same thing had been promised by General of the Federal Security Service Ivan Tkachev long before the criminal case was opened. 

I have written to Iulia many times that hope is a dangerous thing in prison, it is very painful to fall down from the top every time, but I could not help dreaming of justice. 

Now there is no hope left, and I have to be strong enough to admit that I have been fully defeated in the uneven battle, to accept the fiasco and keep fighting, now as a prisoner sentenced to death. I am 54. The sentence I could get is at least 12 years of imprisonment. Given my diseases, I have few chances to live up to freedom. It is even harder to realise how many people will suffer from my conflicts with the “Podolsk gang”, Vorobev, Chaika and Tkachev. My relatives will be deprived of their property. The entrepreneurs who have earned money with their labour and health, the business, let alone the fact that many people from Serpukhov District who have fallen victim to the cleansing are already in prison. I wish the “terrorist” planted to Lefortovo by the Federal Security Service had killed me with a shank. It would have solved so many issues. I do feel sorry that many people will suffer after the property is seized by the Krasnogorsk Court. The Serpukhov Court refused to hear that case as they were afraid of the protests, and the Moscow Regional Court held to hear it next to the House of the Government of Moscow Region so that it could control all the decisions. 

I feel especially sorry about Drakino Park loved by the residents, who already tried to protect it when Elena Patkina, the Head of the Federal Agency for State Property Management for Moscow Region, filed an action for seizing the land and demolishing the buildings by the request of Governor Vorobev. When Boris Krivodubskii, the Director of Drakino Part, was awarded by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev for creation of the best country hotel of Russia, the businessman complained that the Federal Agency for State Property Management had filed an action for elimination of the facility the week before the award. Dmitry Anatolevich immediately grasped what the problem was and said,

“We will contact the Governor of Moscow Region.” 

And added off the records, 

“You are doing business in Russia!”

It would not be surprising to hear that from the British Prime Minister or the American President, but it is strange to hear such things from the Prime Minister of Russia...

A year before, Park Drakino had been awarded in Hilton Hotel in Warsaw at the European contest in the nomination “Opening of the Year”. When the jury awarded the prize, they said it was both for the wonderful design and the courage.

“Aren’t you afraid to invest in Russia? It can be taken away tomorrow.”

Almost all the commercial facilities to be seized are a security for the loan, and when it is not repaid, banks charge penalties. The foreign founders that have invested their money will probably start litigation to last many years, including in the ECHR. And they will definitely win in the European Court. But the only outcome will be fines of dozens of thousands of euros for the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation. The Moscow Region Arbitration Court is likely to take an ambiguous decision. The staff will lose their jobs, no taxes will be paid to the budget, the business will be destroyed, and the state will get no benefits, but who cares? It is very difficult to develop your business, but it can be destroyed in an instant. 

I remember working day and night to restore the infrastructure of Drakino Air Field and prepare for the World Championship for Sail Plane Aerial Acrobatics by the order of Governor of Moscow Region Boris Gromov in 2005. I was in Boris Vsevolodovich’s disfavour then, and I wanted to win his trust any way by doing the impossible in a year. Everything was in a mess, with no utilities or road. 

“I will give you money for the air field, but you must find investors for the hotel and restaurants on your own,” the Governor told me. 

Of course, nobody wanted to invest money into the messy place, and the profitability of country hotels in Russia is almost zero, so I used all the eloquence I had to persuade Boris Krivodubskii and his partners to invest money into that doubtful project. In the end, I received lots of gratitude and medals from the Aviation Sport Federation of Russia, the Russian Army, Air Force and Navy Volunteer Society and the Governor! Many governors came from the other regions to gain experience in creation of the air field infrastructure. Even Chairman of the Council of Federation Sergei Mironov arrived in 2007 to see Drakino Park. 

During the Helicopter Sports World Championship in 2012, the foreign sportsmen and judges were amazed by the quality of the hotels, restaurant and SPA.

“No other sports air field has such infrastructure!” they said in amazement.

The General Prosecutor’s Office had already practised the algorithm for taking away assets with Khoroshavin and Zakharchenko, but they have not touched legal entities. If prosecutors and the Federal Security Service start seizing assets of the entities owned by third parties, the conveyor of seizing assets from the weak and the unprotected will work full force. 

The General Prosecutor’s Office will definitely seize the land plots it has evaluated as ten billion roubles, but what will be the use? First of all, the main land assets had been purchased by the businessmen as shares of the former Bolshevik State Farm, i.e. without involvement of the administration, from private owners, long before I became the head of the district. Secondly, today the land is a liability, there are absolutely no sales, and the taxes on the huge cadastre cost are insane. Who will benefit from the fact that no money will be paid to the municipal budget? All these lands cannot be sold for ten billion or even 50 times cheaper. However, nobody cares about public interests, everyone is interested in redistribution of assets, even with account of 90 % losses and probable litigation. 

The General Prosecutor’s Office and the Federal Security Service are doing so much damage to the business environment in Russia, which already is very poor! I have had numerous detailed conversations about that with Colonel Zakharchenko, who has already passed this way when the apartments were seized from the girls he had dated many years ago. They had already got married and started a family, and then their assets were seized. However, they could not be made to move out according to the law. The families did not pay for utilities and real estate taxes. This is a lose-lose situation. Of course, the attorneys have already prepared an application to the European Court to appeal from this crazy decision, and the prospects of collecting all the costs from Russia are quite high. It looks even more cynical at the background of the fact that our country refuses to ratify Article 20 of the UN Convention regarding consistence of income and expenses. 

How did these billionaire generals get their castles? Where did General Prosecutor Chaika get the huge palace in Rublevka? They have never been in business. In my next publication, I will describe this in detail and show the elite real estate of today’s masters of the universe. I am sure that I am the only public official of Moscow Region who has fully declared all the business income gained to buy the house (when I was a businessman). 

 

The prison quest with changing places of detention looks cyclic.  I spent 40 days in the fifth detention centre “Vodnik”, 40 days in Lefortovo, the same number of days in the hospital of Medical Unit 77 of the Federal Penitentiary Service, 50 days in Lefortovo again, 70 days in Matrosskaia Tishina in the sixth special unit; detention centre 99/1 will probably be the longest.

My life in the sixth special unit of Matrosskaia Tishina was quite comfortable and brought lots of positive pieces of news and good cell mates. Andrei Sergeev is a 30-year-old resident of Tolyatti. He has been imprisoned based on Article 228 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation for keeping 0.2 grams of LSD. Andrei has been in the special unit for almost a year and does not really care about his defence and goes with the times. His mother died when he was a child. His father found another woman and stopped communicating with him almost at once. Andrei moved to Moscow in search of a wonderful life and actually succeeded in getting pleasures. He worked as an energy officer at the construction site, a VIP taxi driver, but his love for girls and night life was his priority. His only help in prison is his old grandmother and girlfriend while all the companions of his wonderful life have totally abandoned him. Andrei is smart and pleasant to talk to; he can cook well. He is fit, handy and friendly; he has even given up smoking because my condition was that, according to the law, I could be held separately from the smokers. 

The second cell mate, Igor Myshkin, is a 26-year-old resident of Shchelkovo District, textile village of Krasnoznamenskii. His story is similar to Andrei’s: Igor was caught with two grams of methadone. They both can be imprisoned for ten to twenty years under Part 4 of Article 228 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. Despite the fact that Igor’s level of education is lower than Andrei’s, he has compensated for that with his endless strive for proper life. Myshkin has studied the books about economics, psychology and other valuable literature, ate only healthy food and tried to be perfect. In the end, Andrei even had fits when we turned off the TV with his favourite TV show “Orel i Reshka”. We did sport together and helped each other in everything daily. In fact, it can be compared with the best place of my detention during the prison saga: the fifth detention centre “Vodnik”. Of course, there were some disadvantages: the sixth special unit had no gym, the cell was poorly decorated, the toilet looked like the one there used to be at bus stations. There are some negative memories of Kalmyk Mandzhi responsible for the detention conditions and field officer Sergei Ershov who disappointed me with his failure to fulfil the promises and open lies. This guy from Vladimir will have a successful career, but he will stop at nothing.

Of course, it is my own fault that the peace had been destroyed. During that period, I wrote lots of harsh articles, as a result of which the Investigative Committee of Russia and the Federal Security Service demanded from Matrosskaia Tishina to impose all the possible repressions and restrictions on me. 

In the midst of the trouble I had faced, I showed scant hospitality to my new cell mate Valentin Tishinev, who was brought to our cell 614 late at night, and I still feel sorry about that. He is a bit more than 60 and has been in the detention centre for three years under Article 105 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation “Murder”. His prospects of being acquitted are high because his case is heard by the jury. Looking further forward, I will add that the jury found Valentin guilty by a slender majority and sentenced him to long imprisonment. Of course, we laid the table at once, helped him bring his belongings, but after the negative news bulletins on the federal TV channels I felt moody and had taken a sleeping aid, so his night visit was hard to bear. After I had talked to Tishinev briefly and dryly, I went to bed at once, which was believed to be inadmissible according to the prison rules. Igor Myshkin spent all the night talking to our new mate, with a degree in law, was totally charmed by him and warned Valentin that I did not live with smokers and would probably ask to transfer him to another cell in the morning. Tishinev guaranteed that he would quit smoking during the check. I had not been warned of that night conversation, so I immediately demanded to transfer the new mate. Valentin also started a conflict with the prison wardens, so he was transferred to another building at once. 

I felt embarrassed with my attitude to the older man. I guess it had never happened to me before, and I was really sorry. 

Then, after all the blows by the law enforcement officers, I decided to go on a hunger strike and demand urgent hospital admission. My health was considerably deteriorated by the recent stress. I and my attorneys sent around 150 complaints against the refusals by the senior executives of the detention centres where I had been held for eleven months to transfer me to the hospital, Bakulev Cardiovascular Surgery Centre. Even despite the doctors’ opinions on my severe disease and agreements on payment for the services, it was no use.

Andrei supported my hunger strike, and Igor did as well after some doubts. When they were going to be transferred to other buildings, I spoke to Ershov and refused from the hunger strike in exchange for return of my cell mates, but the field officer cheated me: they were not returned; instead, I got a new cell mate, 35-year-old Vladimir Liubishin imprisoned under Article 222 “Weapons”. Before that, he had spent two years in the Hungarian prison for translating technical certificates of the military equipment manufactured in the USSR and left by our country in the vicinity of Budapest. 

Vladimir had studied in England for five years and got the Bachelor’s degree in a London university. His father imprisoned in the same case as his was held in Lefortovo. Liubishin said that the detention conditions in the Hungarian prison had been very bad in comparison with Matrosskaia Tishina and added that most prisoners were gipsies and foreigners. Hungarians are usually held under home arrest. Both Liubishins are happy that they have not been extradited to the US, where they would be sentenced to life imprisonment. In Russia, they will be released after the trial, given how much time they have spent in the detention centre. 

After my harsh conversation with field officer Ershov about the fact that Andrei and Igor had not been returned to cell 614 and suffered because of my protest, I had to claim that I was going on a hunger strike again. After that stunt, they started to prepare my transfer. The prison wardens told me that I would be taken to hospital, but when I was said to pick up my belongings from the warehouse, I realised that I could be taken to terrible detention centre 99/1, Kremlevskii Tsentral. In the end, I told them that lies were one of the greatest sins of the humanity. 

After I had gathered my belongings and got into GAZel, I arrived at detention centre 99/1 in ten minutes because it was located almost within the territory of Matrosskaia Tishina and was subordinated at the federal level. It was also the Federal Security Service’s bunker. 

During the trip, I recollected all the latest events of these two peaceful months that had a tragic end. Iulia sent us all the products, Andrei was a good cook, so we had healthy and tasty dishes day by day. After Lefortovo, frozen fish seemed a delicacy because it was impossible to get it in the second detention centre. 

Two of my youngest kids had birthdays during that period: little Grisha turned 11, and Matvei was five. My heart is broken by no chance to hug and kiss my little angels. It hurts so much!

Right after the attack on my house, there was a piece of news that Head of the District Sports Directorate Tatiana Grishina had been released from prison, which could mean only one thing: she had borne the “necessary” testimony against Shestun in exchange for the home arrest.

During my imprisonment, I have read almost all the classic authors describing the life and rules of prisons and prison settlements in the times of Stalin and Khrushchev. Then everyone bore testimony against the person arrested by the NKVD, including his close friends, and accused him of the most incredible crimes by the order of the field officers. Moreover, there was no need to put them behind the bars; few would refuse to inform against their friends. The present times are a bit better, so the Federal Security Service and the Investigative Committee of Russia have a well-established practice of arresting a confidant involved in something illegal to demand testimony against the necessary object in exchange for freedom. Our country is gradually moving in the direction of 1937. It is hard to blame the elderly sick woman, especially given the fact that Tatiana Nikolaevna has recently buried her husband, daughter and mother. I was at the funeral and tried to console her in her despair as much as I could. She was left absolutely alone. 

In the very beginning, it was stated in the criminal case that the money had been given to me by some Krivova in my office for several years. I have no idea of who she is! I do not think she has ever been in my office. However, as soon as we had published several articles in the mass media about the inconsistencies in the criminal case, the investigators conducted an additional interrogation and stated that the money had been transferred by Grishina, but she did not remember the days and amounts. Also, it was not clear what she had given the money for. The logic was that it was under the pretext of my criticism of her excessive financial costs. But why did she “give” bribes from 2013 until 2018 when I was not the Head of the Administration and her boss anymore? I was a Chairman of the Deputies’ Council. Why hadn’t it happened for the previous nine years when I had all the powers? Let alone the fact that we had Nadezhda Volleyball Team in the Top League from 2003 until 2013, and a lot of money was spent for that by Tatiana Nikolaevna. It was off-budget money, with more abuse opportunities. 

I have written many times that testimony is sufficient evidence under Article 290 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. Our fake courts do not need a criminal caught red-handed or at least an audio record. That is how it happens.

 

It is a pity that I cannot communicate with my prison friends from the sixth special unit anymore: Pavel Marushchak, Ramzan Tsytsulaev, Dima Skvorykhin and my good mate Iura Reshetnikov from the Ministry of Defence. 

Detention centre 99/1 “Kremlevskii Tsentral” is twice smaller than Lefortovo. There are fewer than a hundred prisoners here, and I have heard of about half of them. It is an elite detention centre, as clean as Lefortovo is, and I would even call it comfortable. There is a gym, larger freshly-redecorated cells (for three, four and eight people) with a fridge and TV, private toilet, large windows and good furniture. There is also a prison restaurant, a store and electronic correspondence, large walking yards, enough attorney offices (defenders can come very day if they need). However, the strict rules of this place outweigh all these benefits. As for me, this is the worst place of my entire prison saga.

Attorneys are not allowed to bring any papers: they are taken away at the entrance; my texts cannot be copied or transferred via the registry office. There are checks twice a day. During the search, you are made to carry all of your belongings to the search room, which is pretty far. You are not allowed to take any food, books, newspapers, a hair brush, complaints and applications to the court. If you do anything wrong, violence is used at once. During the walk, all the cells are searched without the prisoners’ presence in breach of the law. 

When I was in the sixth special unit in Matrosskaia Tishina, I had a video conference call from the Moscow City Court. At the same time, I managed to talk to Konstantin Piskarev from detention centre 99/1 accused of murdering Mayor of Sergiev Posad Dushko and other episodes. He is called Kostia the Big for a good reason: he is two meters tall and weighs 170 kg. 46-year-old Kostia is in the same cell as Gaizer’s accomplice, Valerii Veselov. 

Several minutes after quite moody Kostia, I finally managed to talk to legendary Grigorii Pirumov, who had been in the same cell with Manashirov in Lefortovo before me. Grisha is the most charming prisoners I have ever met. He is held in cell 604 for eight people in Kremlevskii Tsentral and finds this place as nice as Lefortovo. He said that detention centre 99/1 had stricter rules, but cells were cosier, and there were more services. Absolutely right. I find this comfort based on so many restricted rights is irrelevant.

I have felt like in hell since my first day in detention centre 99/1. That strike by the Federal Security Service was as strong as institution of the new criminal proceedings under Article 290 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation “Bribe”. Especially given the fact that I had wasted so many efforts fighting against Lefortovo only to get to the worse place in the end. Even the overcrowded minimum-security cells in ordinary prisons filled with criminals seem nice to me. 

I was furious with that transfer during the first days. It had been the sixth transfer in eight months. I did not expect them to dare that incomprehensible action because there is no other prisoner in Russia who would have been transferred to so many detention centres during the investigation without a good reason.

Right on 6 February when I was transferred to Kremlevskii Tsentral, I took harsher actions in response to their restrictions. On 8 February, I went on a hunger strike with the following demands:

1. Examination and treatment in the Bakulev Cardiovascular Surgery Centre.

2. Investigation into crimes and illegal enrichment of the billionaire sons of the Prosecutor General of Russia: Artem Chaika and Igor Chaika. Completion of the investigation and trial of the case of the gambling prosecutors, where I had been the applicant. Dismissal of Prosecutor General of Russia Iurii Chaika.

3. Investigation into the threats by General of the Federal Security Service Ivan Tkachev, Head of the Interior Policy Directorate of the President of Russia Andrei Iarin and Governor of Moscow Region Andrei Vorobev.

4.  Termination of bullying of my minor children by breaking into my house through the windows, tearing the TVs off in front of the children, and deprivation of my family with many children of their only accommodation by the request of the General Prosecutor's Office.

5. Investigation into my beating by twenty officers of the first detention centre of the Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia on 12 February 2019 and transfer into any other detention centre except for the first and the second detention centre of the Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia. 

This hunger strike is harder because it is the second one and much worse for my health; besides, there is nothing new about it. There is much less attention among human rights defenders and media. Moreover, the preceding massive attacks by the federal TV channels scare everyone away. Prosecutor Grama supervising detention centre 99/1, whom I met in Lefortovo, now behaves in a totally different manner. It would be strange to expect anything different after the stunts of the Prosecutor General’s Office against Shestun. His voice sounded metal while he was talking to me. 

Our meeting was as follows. When I was called to an attorney office, as usual, I was not told who was waiting for me. I took the papers in my case. While I was waiting in another office, the wardens carried away the documents from the folder, did not explain what exactly they did not like and locked the door. I started knocking on the door and demanding to comply with the law, which they hate because many attorneys and prisoners can hear the noise. It means I am destroying their idyll of iron routine and the rules. I was finally taken to Vasilii Semenovich Grama, who started claiming from the very beginning that he supervised the detention centre rather than me, and his duties were to protect rights of the prisoners and to look for violations by the staff of the detention centre. He wanted to find out why I was on a huger strike. After he had questioned me dryly and put down the violations I had told about, he reprimanded me for my improper conduct. No wonder that it is no use waiting for help from the prosecutor’s office in my case. 

When my attorney Pavel Sobolev came, he was at a loss because all the papers in the case had been taken away at the entrance to the office, which is strictly forbidden by the law. It is even forbidden to write down what a prisoner says in detention centre 99/1. It was not like that even in Lefortovo. Transfer of papers via the registry office is delayed for up to ten days by the administrative office in order to make this process useless. 

After the attorney, I was attended by the psychologist, Lieutenant Colonel Maksim Gennadevich, who started telling me at once of how harmful a hunger strike was and other cheap lies. Of course, he cannot and does not want to understand and solve my problems. And I am not interested in listening to lectures about the bright future of the genius senior executives of the detention centre. I can tell him much more than he can tell me, so I insisted on saying goodbye to each other and said that I did not need his life-saving conversations.

The next visitor was the head of detention centre 99/1, Anton Stanislavovich Podrez, with his sweet stories of how glad they were see to me and how ready they were to assist in anything. 

“This is the best detention centre in Moscow,” Colonel Podrez claimed solemnly. 

“It is probably the best for you, but the prisoners treat it as the worst one,” I told him the fundamental truth.

While talking to hundreds of prisoners, I heard terrible stories about Lefortovo and detention centre 99/1 and had a panic fear of getting to those dungeons.

“If you do want to help me, send me to the Bakulev Cardiovascular Surgery Centre for two days, where my treatment has been paid for,” I tried to tease him because I was aware of the direct ban by the Federal Security Service. 

Colonel Podrez started a long and wanton speech that ended with the statement that I could not be sent there.

Anton Stanislavovich is around 45, he is of medium height and ordinary appearance, fit and bearing the seal of the Federal Security Service on his face. We both evidently underestimated each other. The violence of the head of Kremlevskii Tsentral exceeded the Lefortovo tortures. Of course, everything does not depend on him. He is definitely instructed by the Federal Security Service on how to break the prisoners’ will. But any man always has a choice. 

When I came to my practitioner after the meeting, the young woman in a white uniform told me directly,

“You will not get your blood glucose meter. Or a blood pressure monitor. You need your pills? What for if you are on a hunger strike? You are ruining your heath yourself. If you are on a hunger strike, you will also get no water.”

To be honest, I was surprised to find out how coordinated their conveyor of torture and deprivation as. I did not argue with the prison doctor. I was weighed and left. I remembered descriptions of the German concentration camps where the Hitler officers said the same way that the detention rules were simple and clear, there was perfect order, and you would have a comfortable life if you adhere to those rules. You are lucky to have got into our concentration camp.

No matter how strange it sounds, for the last hard days I have had frequent dreams of my children, Iulia and mother walking together with me in Oleg Stepanov Park in Serpukhov and swimming in the Oka. I had no dreams of my family for the first six months although I think about them all the time. 

 

The next day, during the search in the cell, they made us carry all the belongings to the search room although it was pretty far. I was sick and on a hunger strike. I could not carry the bags, especially given the fact that it was not provided for by the law, and there was no rule like than in any prison. The prison wardens threatened to apply force and disciplinary penalties and insisted. Then I picked up a paper fastener and cut my hand so that they would not doubt my sickness. I was admonished at once for misbehaviour, the second time for two days of my detention. 

“You can admonish me a hundred times, place me into the isolation cell, but you will not break my will anyway!” I said to Podrez who kept threatening me with new sanctions in a quiet voice.

I filed an application for receiving a razor as I was going to the hearing regarding extension of my arrest. There would be my family and TV channels... Refusal!

“You have cut your hand!”

I demand to place me into the single cell because two of my cell mates smoke, which is provided for by the law. Refusal!

In the morning, I get ready for a trip to the Basmannyi Court. Search. They take away a part of the documents prepared for the hearing, including applications and statements, my boots, a newspaper, a hair brush and a book. I demand to be returned everything in accordance with the law. They put everything back into the bag, but take it away again in front of the prison truck. I insist on having by stuff back, but instead of the arguments I see a group of twenty people wearing helmets and holding rubber hoses and electric stunning devices. I am hit on my back several times and fall face down. The hat softens the fall and saves me from a dissection. They beat me with rubber hoses against my kidneys, but it does not hurt because I wear a heavy jacket. Two tall men stand on my ankles and twist them with their boots deliberately. In the end, I get a painful kick at the right kidney so that I cannot breath. They handcuff my hands from the back and carry me into the prison truck in the “swallow” position.

At the next bench, I see Igor Pushkarev, the Mayor of Vladivostok, looking at the “spacemen” in surprise. My head is buzzing after the fall, I feel sick, and there is strong pain in the right side, especially when I breathe in, let alone the stress I have felt. I see calm and well-fed Igor, whom I have wanted to see for a long time, and his young accomplice, a road officer from Vladivostok.

As I have already written, Pushkarev’s arrest was coordinated by General of the Federal Security Service Ivan Tkachev. He boasted that they had imprisoned “the king and god of Vladivostok” for no reason. In fact, I have heard about the strong mayor of Vladivostok and unpopular Governor of Primorsk Territory Miklushevskii.

“What are the prospects of your criminal case?” I ask Igor. 

“There is nothing in the case. The bribe was allegedly given by brother via my wife, which is absurd! 

Of course, they both deny these stupid accusations.” 

“Is there any justice in this country?” I try to bring Igor down to the earth. 

“What can I prove here? There is no evidence in the case.” 

I understand that it is no use dissuading him. I tell him about my hunger strike, beating and publications. 

“I eat peacefully and live with no stress. Nothing can tilt me out of the saddle,” Pushkarev finished our conversation almost indifferently.

We came to the Basmannyi Court too fast to discuss more. Four days later, I found out that the prosecutor in the Tverskoi Court had demanded 17 years of imprisonment for Igor Pushkarev. Terrible! In the end, the sentence was 15 years. I think he is not as calm as he used to be in the prison truck. 

In the Basmannyi Court, I am met by the wardens I know, and as soon as they see my condition, they call an ambulance. The paramedics arrive and examine me like a horse, pursing their lips in despise, because I am a prisoner, not a human. They think for a long time whether they should take me to hospital. They discuss it on the radio, but then a command is given, and they leave quickly. At least they have recorded the bruises. I go to the toilet where I am sick, but there is little to vomit as I have been on a hunger strike for four days. 

I am immediately taken to the unimportant hearing based on the attorney’s complaint against the investigator’s refusal to allow me to meet my family. The only people in the room are my wife Iulia and my press secretary Vlada Rusina. Judge Lenskaia, Milady, dismisses all of my petitions at once. When I speak, Iulia sees that I am at a loss, my voice keeps shaking, and I cannot concentrate on what to say. There are tears in my eyes. 

I get back to the glass cell and meet a 35-year-old Yakut from the fourth detention centre “Medvedkovo” who has been imprisoned because he had hit his neighbour when he was drunk. He has been in cell 511 in the new building of the fourth detention centre for more than a year and hopes to be released soon because the sentence under this Article is not that long. I have never met Yakuts before. His simple trains of thought have raised my spirits, and there is enough time before the main hearing. Dima Illarionov from Yakutsk is a 1C configurator. 

Before the main hearing on extension of the arrest, I saw lots of people, numerous TV cameras, relatives, acquaintances and friends, human rights defender Lev Ponomarev, who had often supported me, at the entrance at the largest room of the Basmannyi Court. 

As usual, attorney Shliakhov impressed me with his numerous petitions and destroyed all the arguments of the investigators in two hours. Investigators Pisarev and Vidiukov grinned nervously and scratched their heads when they heard his iron arguments. I wish there were the jury; they would have sent me home long ago.

Judge Artur Karpov is a subordinate. Thanks God he let us speak. When Prosecutor Stepan Tiukavkin started his speech, I heard the speech of a political technologist rather than a servant of the law, the same was as Aleksandr Kurennoi, the Press Secretary of the Prosecutor General’s Office. Tiukavkin was reading “Vlada’s letter” containing recommendations by psychiatrist Kaverin, allegedly on how to pretend to be insane. However, the letter itself was just a printed text with no signature, and after it had been read, the prosecutor refused to show that paper to the judge and did not attach that to the materials in the case. The people present in the room booed and laughed at the clumsy speaker openly. Judge Karpov made no remarks while I was reviling the prosecutor with my arguments during his speech. 

Let me remind you that my article about how I insisted on my total sanity in the Serbskii Institute and solved the problems with incredible speed was published by the media a month ago. Couldn’t I have solved those problems wrong if I did want to look insane? 

Vidiukov insisted on extension of the arrest, bleated about face-to-face interrogation, but judge Karpov responded,

“You say that at every extension, but never conduct such interrogation.”

“Your honour, I have already filed ten petitions for face-to-face interrogation, but I am refused all the time,” I supported the judge.

I said a lot in front of the cameras; it was a sort of small press conference although the bailiffs with their crackling radios were distracting. It was especially convenient to talk to the journalists when the judge was reading the decision he had prepared in advance; I took no notice of his remarks and told about the role played in my criminal prosecution by Tkachev, Vorobev and the family of Prosecutor General Chaika, mentioned Artem and Igor Chaika, told in detail about the beating in detention centre 99/1 right before the departure and about lack of evidence of the new episode under Article 290 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. These are bad manners. Arrested Grishina bore testimony against me and was released from prison at once. 

I could not help looking at my family. My oldest children Masha and Sasha are so beautiful and young. My wife Iulia is a real Decemberist. All the people I loved were just five meters away from me. 

The litigation ended at 10 p.m., so I was going back in the prison truck alone. Of course, I was upset. I am in the dungeon now and deprived of communication and new impressions from meetings. 

In the morning in the detention centre, I demanded a razor again. Before I left for the investigative actions, physical force had been applied again: I was grabbed by seven people, who left several bruises I recorded in the medical unit, and dragged to the investigator’s office in the “swallow” position. 

Pisarev, Grivtsov and Trepashkin were shocked to see me. I answered several questions and said that I was in pain, so I asked to adjourn the interrogation. 

After the attorneys had left, head of the detention centre Podrez and his deputy Kozlov came and tried to persuade me in concert,

“Let’s be friends.”

“Give back everything I may have, do not take away my attorneys’ papers, do not search them when they come and leave, comply with the law, and everything is going to be fine,” I replied.

“Stop the hunger strike, and you will be treated the same way as other prisoners are: well and respectfully,” Podrez repeated again.

“No chances unless my conditions are met!” I cut short.

The next day, I was taken to the hospital of Matrosskaia Tishina I had already been to, for ultrasonography of my kidneys. After she had moved a sticky mouse along my body for about 30 seconds, the young physician came to the immediate conclusion that I was fine. However, all the urinary tests demonstrated wild numbers of red blood cells (more than 50), which meant a trauma. Everyone, including dying people, is healthy in the prison medicine.

Finally, I was attended by Zhenia Enikeev, a member of the public monitoring commission, and Nastia Garina, the head of the Committee for the Prevention of Torture, to find out about the details of my beating. I had never seen Anastasiia before and was interested to find out that she was a lawyer. I talked to them right in my cell 506. In the other detention centres, prisoners are usually taken to an office to talk.

 

I have read the articles by Eva Merkacheva saying the public monitoring commission was going to be re-elected. It is stated in the President’s initiatives that trips to prisons and prison settlements will be paid for by the initiative of Mikhail Fedotov, the Chairman of the Council for Human Rights. 

It was very interesting to hear from Vladimir Putin that destruction of business by the officers of the Investigative Committee of Russia based on the criminal cases was an inadmissible thing because it would result in loss of jobs in the companies. Lack of hope for implementation of these initiatives is confirmed by the arrest of the oldest American Investor Michael Calvey, the head of the largest investment fund Baring Vostok, who has invested more than three billion dollars into the Russian economy. It is common knowledge that Artem Avetisian, a member of the inter-departmental group for protection of entrepreneurs’ rights at the Prosecutor General’s Office, has ordered this framed-up criminal case with support of Iurii Iakovlevich Chaika. The doer of this evil, which ruins the economy and prestige of our country in the first place, is Ivan Tkachev.

 

On 18 February, my supporters protested next to detention centre 99/1 with the poster “Hunger strike. Torture. Shestun”. I guess the effect will be weaker than in Lefortovo but support is very important for me. I am happy that the prisoners, including the ones in Matrosskaia Tishina, will see and know what is happening to me.

In the morning, I told the wardens again that I would not go to the video conference with the Moscow City Court without a shave. I was threatened to be forced again, and they even clicked the handcuffs in the corridor, but brought a razor in the end. 

While I was attending the video conference with the Moscow City Court and meeting attorney Trepashkin, my cell was visited by members of the public monitoring commission, Zhenia Enikeev and Boris Klin, a journalist of TASS. It is a pity we did not meet. 

The day was full of events, and I went to different places all the time: a sauna, a doctor, a talk to the senior executives. It was the tenth day of the hunger striker. I am losing weight with less dynamics than in Lefortovo. It is eight kilos in ten days, but weakness is the same. It is very hard to walk up two floors to the walking yard. The doctor refuses to give my Asparcam and polyvitamins and insists on a drop bottle, but I refuse. Who knows what they will inject? Drop bottles are not a hunger strike. 

In addition, I decided to wash my sweatshirt I had soaked on Sunday on that busy morning. I could hardly drain it, and my cell mate Dima helped me. When I started undoing my bed, I felt dizzy and collapsed onto the floor unconscious. The first thing I saw when I opened my eyes was Dima slapping me on my cheeks. A minute later, the cell was crowded with prison wardens and a doctor. Dima and Sasha dragged me to the bed, and I was lying in nirvana. I did not want to open my eyes not to lose that pleasant dizziness similar to being drunk. 

By the way, Dmitrii has taught me how to use ear muffs. It is incredibly convenient because the TV distracts me when I write texts and read books. It has turned out they must be squeezed tightly in between your fingers, rolled and pushed deep into your ear. Then they are expanded and block the noise well. Joy!

 

The next day, attorney Grivtsov brought lots of pieces of news, of course, unpleasant ones. The last good news was in 2018. Deputy Prosecutor General Vinnichenko filed the complaint against my attorneys Grivtsov, Iakubovskii and Kamaldinov, against all of them, for transferring my publications to the mass media, to Minister of Justice of the Russian Federation by the order of Chaika. So much attention to me! These vampires are afraid of the light. 

Vlada Rusina had a search and interrogation in the Investigative Committee of Russia. They took away her iPhone, her main weapon and tool, although she had hidden it in the vacuum cleaner. When the extension of my arrest was recorded by lots of cameras, few reports were shown on TV, but my monologue shot with her iPhone in the cell of the Basmannyi Court where I was telling the inconvenient truth had 250,000 views.

While they were taking Vlada to the interrogation, an officer of the Federal Security Service tried to scare her by throwing a gun onto her lap. They did not know how delusive her childish looks and angel-like voice could be. Even during the third exhausting interrogation, as usual, followed by the threats, she claimed that Aleksandr Viacheslavovich was a good and innocent man.

When I read the testimony by many of my acquaintances, I am always stunned by how much their souls are changed by fear. It is the scariest horror movie in my life. Tkachev warned me that as soon as they started massive arrests and searches and added slandering reports on TV channels, everyone would betray me. He was absolutely right. Actually, many of the operations conducted by Ivan Ivanovich are based on the evidence by the relatives rather than facts, which do not have to be established today. He is well experienced in encouraging betrayal based on fear. 

The hearing of the Moscow Region Court on the claim of the General Prosecutor’s Office for seizure of Shestun’s assets was conducted without me and my attorney, which is gross violation of the law. I had summons for the video conference call, but I was not taken there, and the attorney filed the confirmation that he had another hearing that day. Miracles of the administrative resource of the Federal Security Service and Prosecutor General’s Office together with the Governor. 

 

I was also attended by Tatiana Potiaeva, the Commissioner for Human Rights in Moscow. Our meeting in the office of the head of the detention centre and presence of Podrez himself increased the status of the meeting. In the first place, she was interested in my beating by the officers of the detention centre on 12 and 13 February, and I told her about those unpleasant events in detail. When Podrez started talking to explain his version of the events, his answer amazed me with its simple frame-up,

“Shestun attacked the officers of the detention centre himself.”

He probably took me for Jackie Chan. Attacking 20 well-equipped prison wardens in helmets, holding rubber hoses and electric stunning devices in their hands, after five days without food is an unexplainable action. If I had defeated all of them, I would have been shot by the armed officers standing 20 meters away from me with guns and machine pistols at once.

Tatiana Aleksandrovna was worried about my separation from children in a motherly manner and gave me humane advice,

“Why do you keep writing publications about corruption in the Federal Security Service, Prosecutor General’s Office and Government of Moscow Region? You are driving them crazy.”

“Then I could have left the country after the threats and avoided imprisonment. Interpol would not give me away to Russia for such trifles,” I responded.

I have already written a hundred times that my conscience and probably my ambitions prevented me from fleeing in a dress, like Kerenskii. I do not want to explain endlessly why I did not do that and, actually, why I keep writing.

Potiaeva complained that she could not settle the issue of my admission to the Bakulev cardio-centre with the Head of the Directorate of the Federal Penitentiary Service in Moscow, General Moroz.

“I am telling you directly that he has been instructed by the Federal Security Service. The fear for his office and freedom will never let him send me for treatment.”

I said warm goodbye to that elegant lady, to whom I was really grateful for her human rights defence. 

The next day upon arrival of the Commissioner for Human Rights, physical force was applied to me again. They called me to the investigative actions, and of course I demanded a razor again. My beard is so long that I look like a Wahhabi now. It was the fourteenth day of the hunger strike, and I was lying in my bed undressed. Seven young men working in the detention centre entered the cell and started twisting my arms and legs in the opposite directions so that I would feel like Jesus Christ nailed to the cross. It turned out they were going to dress me up by force that way. If I had not been on a hunger strike, even seven of them would have failed. I remembered a fairy tale about seven baby goats for some reason. However, I was weak and especially suffered from the shortness of breath. The prison wardens were not careful: they injured my wrists, and my back bone made a noise similar to a crackling fire with dry wood. They pulled my legs with such strength that I hit my head against the wall by inertia, and the plaster fell off the wall. 

“Why hit your head against the wall, Aleksandr Viacheslavovich?” the officers of the Federal Penitentiary Service said in front of the camera. 

The most disgusting thing was that they were assisted by the head of the medical unit, who also smelt so bad that my head went dizzy. As usual, they handcuffed me behind the back and carried me along the corridor along the calls. 

“Prisoners! The guards are beating and torturing me! What a shame!” I shouted all the way long so that my neighbours would know what was going on.

The prisoners would start hitting the doors as a display of support in any other prison except for Lefortovo. But Kremlevskii Tsentral was silent. 

When I was carried into the office, dressed up, with my trousers torn and a jacket with nothing under it, investigator Pisarev and my attorneys Grivtsov and Trepashkin looked at me, and their faces fell. Mikhail Ivanovich saw a bruise and a bump on my head bleeding at once. The head of the medical unit said during the examination without missing a beat that it had been 24 hours old. I cannot help wondering how our law enforcement officers sure of their impunity lie. 

“What is the white ointment around your nose?” the defenders asked.

“I have rubbed some zinc ointment into the reddened skin because of the hunger strike,” I replied. 

“We have given him no ointment, he has stained himself with the tooth paste,” the bloody bastard of doctor lied impudently another time.

“You squeezed some ointment into the plastic jar from the iron tube yourself,” I resented.

They twisted and carried me for 30 to 40 minutes, so I was exhausted, my head was dizzy, and the muscles of my back and the backbone hurt unbearably. I could not even sit on the chair and had to lie onto the floor to catch my breath. Of course, the attorneys asked the investigator to adjourn the investigation, which was recorded in the report, but the investigator was angry and grumbled something quietly in response.

“You have transferred me here for this torture yourself! What are you doing? The fourth detention centre and the sixth transfer! I demand to be transferred from this Federal Security Service’s bunker!” 

“You are hard to please! How many detention centres are you going to change?” Pisarev played fool.

 

I was supposed to be taken to the Basmannyi Court on 22 February for several of my attorneys’ complaints to be considered. I had asked Iulia to take my younger children. I had not seen them since October and was looking forward to the meeting with my babies, but I was not taken to court for some reason. The judges said something unintelligible regarding my delivery to the hearing. I was dead sure that it had been done by the investigators and the Federal Security Service on purpose to break me down. Pisarev had heard that my attorney Grivtsov was talking about my family’s visit to the hearing. Several days later, attorney Trepashkin saw the investigator leaving the office of the head of the detention centre although I had had no interrogation. He had been discussing something with Podrez... 

The next hearing is on 5 April. Should Grisha and Matvei be taken there? I will probably be exhausted and scare them with my looks. Iulia will decide on her own.

Finally, I managed to have a shave. My cell mate Sasha asked for a razor for himself and gave it to me to shave off the beard. Of course, the corridor guards noticed that and made him write an explanation why he had given me his belongings. I have not been writing anything to explain my actions for a long time. I have been given three more reprimands by Podrez, but I do not care even if there are a hundred of them.

In the morning, there was a meeting of doctors from medical unit 77, where I had been before. The meeting was chaired by Marine Konovalova, the Head of the Therapeutic Department. There were also several doctors I knew and one stranger, the most aggressive one. They were joined by the local doctors and the head of the detention centre, Podrez, with his deputy Kozlov. The little room was so crowded that I was the only one feeling free because I was on the bed behind the bars. Their faces looked gloomy and anxious. It was obvious that my condition was displeasing the doctors. Drawing up the opinion they needed was not a way out because there was a lot of attention to me both from the Federal Security Service and the public. When force was applied to me in detention centre 99/1 for the third time, it caused the public stir. Probably, Chairman of the Council for Human Rights Mikhail Fedotov asked my attorneys about the details of my beating for that reason. 

“We can feed you by force,” the doctor from medical unit 77 I knew told me. 

“Don’t you dare! You have no right! Only if I am unconscious. This is my life, so I can do whatever I want!” 

In the end, that procession followed Podrez to his office to discuss what to do with the troublesome patient. 

My cell mate Dima came back from court in the evening. In the prison truck, he met Valera Veselov and two other Gaizer accomplices and discussed the latest news of detention centre 99/1. It turned out that Michael Calvey from the US and Philippe Delpal from France who had been working at Baring Vostok had been transferred to our detention centre. Someone told me (it could be Trepashkin) that when I was being dragged to the investigator’s office by my arms and legs, two foreign attorneys heard my shouts of resentment and asked Mikhail Ivanovich in horror after the incident what had happened. 

The people accused under Article 105 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation “Murder” were also transferred to the detention centre and placed into two eight-people cells, 507 and 607. They included Grigorii Rabinovich and Igor Zhirnokleev, the leaders of the Taganka gang. 

Maga Kobra (Magomed Ismailov) transferred from the sixth special unit is also there. His investigator Levon Agadzhanian and ten other people were dismissed from the Moscow Directorate of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation after the notorious change of Ismailov’s status from the accused to the affected.

Minister of Finance Aleksei Kuznetsov is held together with a guy from the Ministry of Defence. 

I will not describe details of the hunger strike like I did in Lefortovo not to reproduce the text although there is physical and psychological difference. Something is easier, something is harder. To start with, I know for sure that I can bear any duration of the hunger strike, and there is no fear of the unknown. Secondly, I am losing weight more slowly than the last time. My body could have developed a protective reaction. Today is the nineteenth day of the hunger strike, but I have lost only 11 kilos and weigh 84 kg against initial 95. In Lefortovo, I lost 16 kilos against initial 95 in 26 days. Actually, when I was finishing the hunger strike in hospital and drinking juices, I lost a kilo and a half, down to 77.5 kilos. Thirdly, my prospects in the criminal case were much better then, and I had no thoughts about death. Now I treat such outcome as quite a possible and logic thing. I have no hope left that I could be released from prison some day. I am sure that in case I die, the claim of the General Prosecutor’s Office for seizure of my assets would be of no use. The children will get their home back, and the entrepreneurs will not lose their business. 

There have been no letters for these three months, which makes me depressed. The fact is that electronic correspondence has been suspended since the day of my arrival until 15 March, allegedly due to lack of a censor. I have never had such long pauses in access to e-mail before.

Despite my grave psychological condition, my ambition to fight the law enforcement squid has grown stronger, and the hatred to them keeps growing day by day. I am ready for more and more radical publications and actions, no retreat. 

 

I have recently finished reading the books on Stalin’s camps and classic writers of prison prose: Kolyma Stories by Shalamov and Journey into the Whirlwind by Ginzburg. These authors have an incredible style. These wonderful works are read at one sitting and, which is the main thing, the events there are the same as today: the prison guards calling each other the same way as they did, “seniors”, the judges delivering the same verdicts based on no evidence, the prosecutors and investigators playing the role of executors, betrayal of friends because of the fear of imprisonment, the society indifferent to the terrible position of prisoners, stupid wardens and guards with no moral principles, and, of course, NKVD (Federal Security Service) at the top of this conveyor of death.

When you read these books, you feel relieved to see how the people fought for their life dying at mines and logging camps. The detention conditions and prison ration were much worse than now. 

Description of Stalin’s death that caused unanimous joy and optimistic expectations in the prisons and prison settlements in Kolyma is totally different from the stories by my parents, who were the Komsomol members then, about the unanimous sorrow of the people all over the country. 

I hope I will be strong enough for at least a week to finish another striking article about the abuse by the billionaire generals of the Federal Security Service and other top-rank officials who have made a fortune based on the people’s hardships. I think it will be as scandalous and informative as the article about the customs office and drugs.

 

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