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REBELLIOUS PRISONER

The truth about present-day Russia told by the most famous prisoner of the Federal Security Service, from the cells of the creepiest detention centres of the country The man has obviously risked it all, and his YouTube video is a desperate act of courage. What can I say? We are glorifying the insanity of the brave. Iurii BYKOV, the director

Part 1

INTRODUCTION

My husband, Aleksandr Shestun, has numerous talents. Yet, I found out about his writer’s talent concurrently with the other citizens of Russia watching our family tragedy in his articles published in the print media.

For the last ten months, my husband has turned into one of the most widely discussed people in our country. Of course, both good and bad things have been said about him. Few have experienced such a negative attitude as he and our family have faced. Well, it was expected after Aleksandr Viacheslavovich had published his address to the President of Russia and recorded threats by the law enforcement officers and top public officials. No one has ever heard and will probably hear such things again. You must be desperate to a certain extent to decide to make the compromising materials of such level publicly available.

My husband’s story has become a part of Russia’s history. He has been accused of having the property worth ten billion roubles; it does not matter that it has nothing to do with our family. It is a milestone to remain forever, which may even be mentioned in text books. Also, it will probably be mentioned that, on the day of the arrest, 40 people broke into hour home, the people wearing balaclavas pointed a gun at our daughter and scared our minor children...

My husband, Aleksandr Shestun, will describe all these events in his diaries later. He hands over his records describing the events to the mass media once every several weeks. This book is made of these records collected piece by piece.

I am often asked why he keeps writing, and whether we are not scared. We definitely are, but his address and diaries might have saved his life, turned into a kind of a protective order, and our principal achievement is that my husband is still alive. Whatever mass media say and write, Aleksandr Viacheslavovich is still a hero for our family and many citizens of the country, even though our country has turned upside down. 

You must know my husband: he has always been a fighter, and would never retreat. In the 90s, he fought against the system created by the gangsters, and never paid them a penny. When he was appointed the head of Serpukhov District, he opposed the prosecutors extorting bribes. His imprisonment is nothing more than the outcome of his battle for preservation of local self-governance and closing of Lesnaia disposal site.

While Aleksandr Viacheslavovich was kept in the detention centre for ten months, Serpukhov District was destroyed as a municipal entity, the rubbish protests in Moscow Region were suppressed, and Lesnaia municipal solid waste disposal site is open again and keeps poisoning hundreds of thousands of people.

I am not going to tire the readers with my considerations and will just emphasise that my husband’s greatest talent is to take the blow and not to give up when it seems there is no way out. That is why Aleksandr Shestun has been fighting from every place he has been kept in for these months, including Vodnik, Lefortovo, Matrosskaia Tishina and Kremlevskii Tsentral: he draws up hundreds of complaints, informs of various violations, brings the corrupt officials to light and, of course, keeps records in his diaries, the first part of which you can read below. Still, let’s start with the transcripts of the historical conversations he published in the address to President of Russia Vladimir Putin.

Iuliia Shestun

 

SHESTUN’S RECORDS 

CONVERSATION 1

“ARE YOU TIRED OF LIVING?”

 

Participants: Aleksandr Shestun, Ivan Tkachev (Head of K Directorate of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation, General)

Venue: First entrance of the Presidential Executive Office of the Russian Federation on Staraia Square

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Tkachev: Don’t. There will be no more questions about the house; we have spoken both with Dorofeev (Aleksei Dorofeev, the Head of the Directorate of the Federal Security Service in Moscow and Moscow Region; A. Sh.) and Vorobev. You know Vorobev escalated it to the president. Don’t you understand?

Shestun: What do you mean by ‘escalated’? Did he mention Shestun?

Tkachev: Yes!

Shestun: To Putin?

Tkachev: Yes, he mentioned the conflict. It was said by the director, and by Kirienko, too (Sergei Kirienko, the First Deputy Head of the Presidential Executive Office of the Russian Federation; A. Sh.). I’m meeting him tomorrow. You must be joking, you will be run over, that’s it. You will be involved any way; you will be there as long as you are necessary, don’t you get it? Haven’t you seen what they did to Sugrobov (Denis Sugrobov, an officer of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation, General Lieutenant of the Police (disranked); involved in the notorious corruption case in the MIA, sentenced to 22 years of imprisonment; the sentence was later mitigated down to 12 years; A. Sh.)?

Shestun: I have.

Tkachev: It was skilled and tough team work.

Shestun: I would say it was cruel.

Tkachev: Yes, but it was on purpose. There are many situations like that. Why do you need that? How old are you?

Shestun: I’m 52.

Tkachev: Are you tired of living?

Shestun: Don’t you feel sorry? I have five children.

Tkachev: I do, that’s not what I’m talking about. All you have to do is to avoid being run over and having fucking problems.

Shestun: I understand that I will be imprisoned. I am dead sure about that, no problem.

Tkachev: Why do you need that? It is not a question of imprisonment. The question is why you, your wife and children need these problems. Just step aside. He doesn’t have a long time either, believe me. I mean the governor. So your best decision is to sign a paper with no date. The problem is solved. The litigation is in dead-end, it can be arranged. You stay here in peace and resign by September.

Shestun: Then let’s wait for the court decision. How can I give up before the court decision is delivered?

Tkachev: You can wait. Then you will surely lose the case.

Shestun: It is clear that I’ll lose the case.

Tkachev: But if you sign the paper now and leave, you’ll win the case.

Shestun: I won’t.

Tkachev: You will. Hear me, that’s president’s order! And Kirienko's. Whether you want it or not, you will not be (Head of Serpukhov District; A. Sh.), Sasha. I guarantee that. Believe me, I have worked with Solovev (Head of Udmurtia from 2014 until 2017 accused of getting the bribe; A. Sh.), Governor of Mari El Markelov (Head of the Republic from 2011 until 2017, with the criminal proceedings instituted based on the suspicion of bribery; A. Sh.). They said the same, they both were stubborn. There are no chances. No chances at all. All the lists to be approved, starting from the governor and for the district level and election, are submitted to me. I see who will be run over in a month, in two or in three months, who will be replaced, and who is afraid. The big clearing is coming. He decides everything. You give it to him, he puts it into the safe box. Solovev and Markelov did the same. Markelov came here, it took two weeks to get him broken. He wrote it and put it (the statement; A. Sh.) into the safe box. And he left and reversed everything. He wouldn’t have been arrested. All of them were given a chance to leave peacefully. They wouldn’t have been touched if they hadn’t opposed. But they did, the order was given, and the train started moving.

 

CONVERSATION 2

“FUTURE IS SHAPED IN THIS OFFICE”

 

Participants: Aleksandr Shestun, Andrei Iarin (Head of the Interior Policy Directorate of the President of Russia), Ivan Tkachev (Head of K Directorate of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation, General), Mikhail Kuznetsov (Deputy Chairman of the Government of Moscow Region, Head of the Executive Office of Governor Andrei Vorobev)

Venue: meeting at Iarin’s office on Staraia Square

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Iarin: If we want to move on, we need your statement. I will lock this statement up in the safe box in your presence. We have discussed it with Ivan Ivanovich. There are implied things, including information silence and lack of discussion in the print media. Firstly. Secondly. There is an absolutely specific physical obligation to be fulfilled. In particular, the litigation as regards your house must be somehow adjusted.

Tkachev: Of course, the hearing is on the 18th.

Iarin: Moreover, I’ll urge Mikhail Mikhailovich (Kuznetsov; A. Sh.) to draw a kind of common schedule of obligations. In this regard, some issues might be settled much faster. But let’s not discuss now what these deadlines will be. In any case, your resignation must give you an opportunity to save the face. I will take any actions necessary, I have heard your opinion. You are a free man, a citizen of the Russian Federation. You can structure your relations with Mr Vorobev without Mr Tkachev and Mr Iarin. But if you want to see me and Ivan Ivanovich as a sort of guarantor or, say, the person who is ready to say something to Vorobev in your favour, you must take a kind of step. In my turn, if you make a step, I guarantee I will act decently within the arrangements made at this table. I will not give full play to this statement until I am sure that everything we have arranged is done. Another thing is that you also owe something to me, you undertake to act adequately. When the president signs it, everything happens. It is logical, isn’t it? The situation is the same here. Four of us and Vorobev know that Shestun will draw up a statement. And there will be no more comments. If I’m asked, I know nothing, and I’ve seen Shestun only once at the Cossack parade. Or twice. Actually, this is it. Let's be done with it. I have a question, Aleksandr Viacheslavovich: will you draw it up or not? Come on, let’s waste no more time. If you agree, I have nothing more to say. I don’t want to bow and scrape anymore. We are moving on. Otherwise, well, actually, so what... The statement must be like this, my lawyers will work this out, but the form must be like this. Quite basic. You can draw it up right now, here is a paper and a pen. Then I’ll lock up the folder with all the materials in the safe box, where it will be kept. As for my guarantee, we have discussed it with Ivan Ivanovich, we are of the same opinion of what is to be done. Moreover, we are closely connected in a number of processes, no jokes are made in these offices. I am sure this guarantee is sufficient. You can make them (inquiries; A. Sh.) among your acquaintances, they know me first-hand. It is a sufficient guarantee so that you will be sure that until I understand that everything is fine, and all your conditions are met… (I will not give full play to your statement; A. Sh.). Let me remind that there have been two of them: the physical one, which is your house, and second one, which is that a) you need a chance to save the face, and b) the media harassment must be over. I’m being sincere. Otherwise... 

Kuznetsov: For God’s sake, I just must understand who is jumping on.

Iarin: Listen, you should work it out yourself. I understand who is jumping on.

Kuznetsov: Serpukhov?

Shestun: Yes.

Iarin: Serpukhov.

Kuznetsov: As for Serpukhov’s story, of course, it will be adjusted.

Shestun: I’ve received a call from two central newspapers today.

Kuznetsov: Well, I don’t know, we just don’t need that. It’s risky.

Iarin: I get it.

Kuznetsov: You have a phone, you should have written, “They are calling me.” You write when you need it.

Tkachev: Mikhail Mikhailovich, don’t make me bring the billing because I’ll get the better of you. Come on, stop it!

Kuznetsov: Ok.

Tkachev: I’m telling you, hear me? Stop! Don’t. I’ll turn up the heat then.

Kuznetsov: Ok.

Iarin: Many people’s destiny is shaped in this office, believe me. Destiny of district heads is shaped in offices of the lower level. So, if I needed to pack Shestun up, sorry for my vocabulary, I would do it without having to waste two hours discussing simple and clear things.

Shestun: I’m not ready to sign yet.

Iarin: You should have accepted my offer. You didn’t. So let’s pretend this conversation has never happened. Ok? Fine, thank you. See you.

 

CONVERSATION 3

“THEY WILL BURY YOU BEFORE THE ELECTION”

 

Participants: Aleksandr Shestun, Ivan Tkachev (Head of K Directorate of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation, General)

Venue: after the meeting with Iarin

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Tkachev: You will be attacked from all sides now: by the investigators and prosecutors. They will be putting pressure and looking for an opportunity to take you down. You will be dismissed from there. It is easy to dismiss you based on the declaration. Dorofeev is focused on you now. He will run over you like a running roller. They don’t give a fuck. Dorofeev has two assistants. They will destroy you. There is a main driving force, Dorofeev. Dorofeev manages prosecutors and cops, and he’s well in with Vorobev. I have practised my methods and won over several governors this way. They will meddle in your affairs eight or seven years ago. Our period of limitation is ten years.

Shestun: Yes, it is 100 %, easy.

Tkachev: After what they frame up, Moscow or cops will come, not me. Get it? You’ll be detained at once and have your assets frozen. They will find the evidence and imprison you.

Shestun: I have no doubts about that, Ivan Ivanovich.

Tkachev: And there will be no fuss. Look at Udmurtia, he was a lord and master there. Look at Mari El, look at Sakhalin. Vladivostok – he was the coolest, adored and worshipped. I have worked with all the governors and heads in all the regions. Well, if there is an order, we’ll force Alpha Group into submission now, for sure, we’ll force Renova into submission. You know that, don’t you? 80 billions have already been taken away from there. Nobody gives a fuck, there’s been an order. And you’ll be run over.

Shestun: Houses are not demolished, it has not been done yet.

Tkachev: They attach the property, and then bailiffs start their running roller. Two or three criminal proceedings case instituted.

Shestun: Against whom?

Tkachev: Against you.

Shestun: Why me?

Tkachev: Who else can it be?

Shestun: What have I done?

Tkachev: They’ll find this out.

Shestun: I have all the forest wardens’ tables signed.

Tkachev: They’ll find something else.

Shestun: For example?

Tkachev: You’ll be accused of damages, your house will be frozen. The methodology is simple. Your house, your apartment, your business, both your and wife’s accounts, – everything will be frozen. They will be frozen by court. Patrushev is in opposition now. They are working thoroughly, don’t you get it? They will bury you before the election. They will make people believe that Shestun is a thief, Shestun is a negative figure, that Shestun is over there. You will be in prison. Who will vote? After all of it is shown on TV.

 

CONVERSATION 4

“YOU SHOULDN’T ORGANISE A PROTEST”

 

Participants: Aleksandr Shestun, Ivan Tkachev (Head of K Directorate of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation, General)

Venue: telephone conversation in April 2018 where the protest against Lesnaia municipal solid waste disposal site

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Tkachev: You shouldn’t organise anything like that. Hear me. Don’t do that because your disposal site is the next place where order will be enforced.

Shestun: Ivan Ivanovich, they have brought three times as much waste as licensed.

Tkachev: I know!

Shestun: Yesterday it was four times more.

Tkachev: I know! I know.

Shestun: Make them stop, this is not a problem.

Tkachev: I just want you to hear me.

 

CONVERSATION 5

“WE’LL FIND A LOCAL TO RUN FOR THE ELECTION”

 

Participants: Aleksandr Shestun, Mikhail Kuznetsov (Deputy Chairman of the Government of Moscow Region, Head of the Executive Office of Governor Andrei Vorobev)

Venue: meeting in March 2018, before the Moscow Regional Duma adopts the law on the direct election in Serpukhov District

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Kuznetsov: I have one condition left now, the political one. It is associated with your peaceful existence in Serpukhov District. We’ll find a local to run for the election and work there with no trouble.

Shestun: How can you elect the governor when it is legally impossible?

Kuznetsov: We can, there can be direct election.

Shestun: Of the head?

Kuznetsov: Yes. You are not running for it. This is the only thing we need to discuss. There is nothing else for me to worry about.

 

INTRODUCTION

VOROBEV VS SHESTUN. SWEEPING VICTORY?!

 

Andrei Vorobev has been approved and is the new no-option Governor of Moscow Region while Aleksandr Shestun, the Head of Serpukhov District, is behind the bars. The entire Moscow Region has been watching this long process of unequal fight for several years. Here is the fitting result!

In the beginning, I got on well with Vorobev. Before the election in 2013 where the Governor of Moscow Region and the Head of Serpukhov District were elected, I approached the then-acting Governor and said that I would also run for the office of the municipality head if he did not mind. Andrei Iurevich responded, “Of course, Viacheslavovich, we are the same team.” During the first year of his rule, Vorobev came to the district three times to take part in opening of new factories: Geropharm, Serpukhov Elevator Construction Plant. The next year he attended the production facilities and the opening of Absolute Boarding School and the new cottage village for the families adopting orphans in Raisemenovskoe Village. It should be noted that all the facilities had been constructed at the expense of private investors, and Vorobev praised the district for raising the investment.

The first and probably key conflict took place when Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev attended the elevator construction plant. Before that, I had contacted Vorobev several times: Capital Plus and the dry-mix plant could not get a sand and gravel production licence. The Governor called the Ministry of Ecology in my presence and ordered to receive the businessmen. The Ministry sent them to the company called Osnova, where its director Ivanchenko asked a dollar per cubic meter, i.e. 14 million dollars (which is now almost 900 million roubles now) for the entire field deposit.

While we were waiting for Medvedev, I said that the investors had been demanded an illegal and unrealistic bribe of almost a billion (!). Vorobev got furious and started cursing and threatening to imprison me.

Then Vorobev’s team made up the fake farmer who had allegedly not been allocated a land plot in the district. I was subject to the public whacking with participation of the mass media. As I had warned, I criticised the government in response and told about five billion roubles spent by the regional authorities for their personal PR, about the lease of expensive cars and helicopters. My words were repeated by the All-Russia People’s Front and all the leading mass media in the country.

Then there was another confrontation regarding arrears in public utilities. When we discussed that issue, Vorobev cursed and offended me again in the other people’s presence, and imprisoned three district utility providers under the condition, “The people will be released when you return the money.” The district earns money, but... Two thousand people kept chanting, “Stop PR, give our money back” soon, in Nadezhda Sports Palace. They meant that the district earned more than five billion roubles, but the region let us retain only 800 millions of our proceeds, solely for mandatory payments and salaries to civil service workers, with nothing left for development. There followed a headline-making hunger strike connected with construction of the school in Bolshevik Village and a protest demanding to close down Lesnaia disposal site. 

The situation got more aggravated when the members of the so-called “Podolsk brigade” came to Serpukhov. The head of the neighbouring municipality had left his office early. At the same time, the authorities of Moscow Region cancelled the direct election in the town and deviously had their man, Deputy Head of Podolsk Dmitrii Zharikov, get the office of the mayor. The newly appointed mayor of Serpukhov was set a clear task: to destroy Shestun; he was guaranteed necessary combat support. 

Zharikov soon suggested that I should hire his deputy Batukov to the office of the head of the administration. I refused. I should note that Zharikov kept claiming that he would not interfere with the district affairs and would deal with the town only. Therefore, the appointed mayor did not get along with me. 

Then there was an attack on Park Drakino, where the municipal children and youth sports school called Pegasus was located, by the Federal Agency for State Property Management in Moscow Region. The agency filed an action for seizing the park’s land and demolishing all the facilities there. At the meeting, the head of the regional Federal Agency for State Property Management told me that it had been Vorobev who asked her to start the litigation. The litigation continued for more than a year. In the end, all the claims of the Federal Agency for State Property Management were dismissed.

All this time, I was regularly approached by Mikhail Kuznetsov, the Head of the Executive Office of the Governor, who suggested that I should resign from my office and become a deputy of the Moscow Regional Duma. He also promised that I would get the office of the committee chairman, with the right to an official car and a higher salary. I said I was not interested.

Soon, Mikhail Kuznetsov and Roman Karataev, the “regional Minister of Security”, started visiting Ivan Tkachev, then the Colonel of the Federal Security Service and the Head of the Sixth Service of the Internal Security Directorate of the Federal Security Service. 

I worked with Tkachev for a long time in the case of Sergei Abrosimov, an officer from the General Prosecutor’s Office who had been extorting money, in the so called “gambling case” of the underground casinos in Moscow Region and of the violations in the Main Directorate for Economic Security and Anti-Corruption Enforcement of MIA of the Russian Federation. The relations between the Moscow Region officials and Tkachev were obviously getting better and better, and they started hugging and kissing each other soon when they met. In the end, Ivan Ivanovich and Andrei Iarin, the Head of the Main Interior Policy Directorate at the Presidential Executive Office of the Russian Federation, and Mikhail Kuznetsov demanded on Staraia Square that I should resign. Otherwise, they threatened to put me behind the bars, to take away my house, and to make my children turn to bag and wallet. And if I was going to run for the office of the district head again, they would imprison me and take away all the property. I refused to resign... Almost at once, the regional government filed an action for declaring construction of my house illegal. But I won the case.

I managed to audio record all the threats. I told them that as soon as they tried to put me behind the bars, I would publish the files.

The tipping point for the “trio” was the satisfied claim of the district administration for the ban on operation of Lesnaia municipal solid waste disposal site and the protest where the activists were going to demand to close down the disposal site. Tkachev called me at the beginning of April and demanded to forbid the people to gather at the square; he added that I would otherwise be “run over by the running roller”. I explained my stance with the fact that I had already promised the people tired of the stink of the disposal site that I would permit the protest, and that it would be legal,  well-organised and with no violations.

Unprecedented pressure was exerted on the administration of Serpukhov District in April and May. About a hundred people wearing masks came to us at least once a week. Russia had never witnessed such an attack on the municipal district before. We were openly demonstrated the power: they started arresting people on dubious grounds, carried out almost a hundred searches, which started at 5 a.m. and lasted 24 hours. It could be compared with an attack by the horde of fascists, from which Serpukhov lands had already suffered.

Of course, everyone was used to the fact that the police “worked” for the Governor and “Podolsk brigade”. But it was really strange that the Federal Security Service brought itself down to serving the evidently unpopular head of the region who had brought about the incredible level of corruption and was famous for inefficient region management!

When General of the Federal Security Service Tkachev, the Head of K Directorate, and Iarin, the Head of the Main Interior Policy Department, act like gangsters and blackmail me by threatening my family, and the President of Russia gives no response, although his Press Secretary Peskov knows about my video address and has promised to study the facts thoroughly, when the General of the Federal Security Service finds excuses for the connection between Governor Vorobev and the Podolsk group, says that the President communicates with their leader Luchok (Sergei Lalakin), and “run over” me in their favour, are the national interests respected?

Doesn’t it mean the end of the democratic election procedure and restitution of the traditions of 1937? Who benefits from my imprisonment in the framed-up case? Probably, five of my children laid on the floor by the armed people? The public reprisal against me is a signal to the entire country that they will knock off not only the opposition, but also the executives loyal to the government, who are an obstacle on the way of double-dealing governors, confidant oligarchs, gangs and generals of the Federal Security Service that act in their favour and have suddenly earned a fortune.

I genuinely believed into the Federal Security Service, I believed that it could be the only core uniting all the law enforcement authorities. I had been working with the Federal Security Service for ten years, sparing no efforts and ignoring risks. I met lots of honest, qualified and patriotic officers who intended to devote themselves to their country to the bitter end. Even when the General Prosecutor’s office instituted the proceedings against me based on the major element of Part 4 of Article 290 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“bribe”) in retaliation for Abrosimov’s arrest and in response to the statement filed by Graf, the local criminal leader, I treated it as a by-product: a la guerre comme a la guerre. Aleksei Dorofeev, the future Head of M Directorate, and Ivan Tkachev, the Head of the Sixth Service, gave me their word that I would be safe and sound, though. “It is a matter of honour for the Federal Security Service,” they claimed. The irony of it is that Dorofeev and Tkachev were my executors for the rubbish money of Vorobev and his friends, Luchok, Garik Makhachkala and other gangsters from Moscow Region. Has the public reprisal against me improved the reputation of the Federal Security Service? Two of these Vorobev’s minions have destroyed the honour and decency of the once most powerful authority in Russia. No powerful entity can maintain its reputation only based on the force and violence. First and foremost, power is justice, power is the truth, power is kindness, and power is honest staff. What honesty can there be if Tkachev said such terrible things that he would have been shot down by the NKVD security forces, and would have been immediately fired by the CIA?

The entire country heard Ivan Ivanovich’s words, more than three million people watched my video address to the President online. Tkachev himself says how many oligarchs and governors he has imprisoned for political reasons. “He, the governor, refused to resign, so the engine was started,” Tkachev admitted trying to make an impression on me. “Have you seen General Sugrobov put behind the bars?” continued Tkachev. “It was skilled and tough team work.” Before that, he had told me that they had crossed his path in the area of cash-out, which was confirmed by Ivan Ivanovich’s subsequent appointment into K Directorate.

As for Serpukhov District, the reprisal against me means that the “Podolsk brigade” will dominate in the south of Moscow Region. When the “Podolsk brigade” who have come into the city started robbing all the businessmen in Serpukhov, some of them opposed and went to court. However, after Vladimir Kirnitskii, the businessman who had refused to pay them ten million roubles for overall support, had been imprisoned, and after Vasilii Strelnikov’s medical centre had been demolished following his refusal to pay eight million, few were ready to stand their ground. None were left after my arrest. Integration of the “Podolsk brigade” into the Directorate of Internal Affairs and the Federal Security Service and absolute support of the Governor, who is actually the only option at the election, mean the total power that will result in large-scale extortion, stop the existing flow of investment into Serpukhov District, entail opening of new disposal sites and revocation of the court decision on closing down Lesnaia municipal solid waste disposal site. The words by John Acton, the English historian and politician, are most applicable in this case, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

The authorities of the Moscow Region need the election in the district for the only purpose: to liquidate the municipality through their appointee and grab the city. Nobody cares that the village residents will lose their electricity benefits, the teachers, culture and sports workers will lose their village wage supplements, that towns and villages will have less money for development and roads, and that the town of Kurilovo will be transferred to Kaluga Region.

The public interference by Ella Pamfilova, the Chairperson of the Central Election Commission of Russia, gives me hope that I will be able to run for the office of the Head of Serpukhov District. If Shestun wins the election while he is in the detention centre, it will be the Russian-level event, and nobody can imagine now what the political situation will be like1. 

No matter how strange it sounds, I don’t feel I have lost or won. Did I know that I would be imprisoned? Of course, I did. I knew and said it openly that the chances to be put behind the bars after my video address were 90 %. Nevertheless, I refused to leave the country. I did not even consider exposing them from cosy and safe Europe. Why? First of all, I love my Motherland. Secondly, I wanted to show it to all the residents of Russia that there were people capable of uncovering the rottenness of such top-rank officials, their Barbarian methods and endless meanness. I feel like a hero and a patriot, despite the sad ending. There is only thing that keeps worrying me: was it possible not to sacrifice my family’s interests for the sake of the interests of the district and the country (some would say my ambitions)? My children are suffering. Let alone the fact that my wife is in a tight corner as she has to provide for five children. I know what challenges they will face. It is breaking my heart.

So, does it mean Vorobev and the “Podolsk brigade” have won over Serpukhov District and Shestun? Yes! Of course, it is a crushing political defeat. But what is the price? What are the consequences? How much has the reputation of the Federal Security Service suffered? The entire country has seen how top-rank officials can threaten, and that even publication of these threats stops nothing and entails no punishment.

The local self-government authorities of entire country have seen that they are inferior, that municipalities will never be able to choose the social and economic development strategy on their own (which, by the way, is the basic principle of all the other countries). The residents of Serpukhov District have seen the savage grin of the government. And the fear is not the best feeling to manage the territory efficiently. Lawlessness brings about lawlessness. Terror brings about terror. The gangster authorities in Moscow Region will never be trusted by the residents of the region anymore. We have seen too much meanness, corruption and neglect of the public opinion, inefficient economic policy, cheap populism, cruelty and indifference to the future of the capital-city region. So who has won, and who has lost?

 

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