(A quote from Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian prime minister, after telling pensioners in Crimea May 23 2016 there is no money to raise pensions from the current 8000 roubles per month (£85).)
I’d expected of course that the appeal to the European Court of Human Rights made by my lawyer Karina Moskalenko over Russian “justice” would provoke the usual distress in Russian judicial circles. But I never even considered that this appeal would lead to an act of intimidation and the hostage-taking of my former wife, with whom I haven’t lived for more than ten years.
Everyone has gotten used to the outrageous actions of law enforcement organs in Russia. But what happened this morning goes beyond the boundaries of the usual outrageousness.
Today at seven o’clock, an officer with the Investigative Committee, Vladimir Alexandrovich Kuzmenko, accompanied by about 15 well-equipped and armed operatives from the Interior Ministry and the Federal Security Service, first tried to break down the door that leads to the forested plot of land where my ex-wife lives alone in a small wooden house that was built in the 1930s. Without any explanation and without showing any documents, these people hurriedly began to search the premises, damaging her simple belongings.
For starters, they took away her telephone. Fortunately, the elderly guard, who was also raided but who was able to keep his telephone, called her friend. This friend, in turn, called a lawyer. Within a few hours Alexander Tasalov, a member of the Moscow lawyers’ chamber, arrived at my ex-wife’s house to provide advice and to defend her civil rights.
They did not let him onto the territory for a long time while they checked his identity. After he was able to prove his identity as a lawyer, he tried to find out on what basis the armed men had entered the territory. Investigator Kuzmenko showed him a search order issued by the Basmanny Court. The only thing the lawyer was able to notice was that the reason for the raid was to attempt to find the suspect Sergei Pugachev.
The investigator behaved extremely nervously and extremely aggressively. At the same time, he began interrogating the guard over who had called the lawyer. Then they refused all the lawyer’s procedural requests including a request to copy the search order issued by the court.
The lawyer tried to explain to Kuzmenko how his client’s rights had been violated, and how his as a lawyer had been violated too. This was the last straw that broke the investigator’s patience. He ordered the operatives to very briefly and clearly explain to the lawyer what his rights were. The operatives then beat up the lawyer, broke his arms and threw him off the territory. The only thing that then escaped the clenched teeth of the fuming investigator was: “You need to complain less to the Strasbourg court.”
At the time of writing this post, the searches are still continuing at my ex-wife’s home. On the eight hour of the search, however, Stockholm syndrome began to set in with the investigator. Like a mantra, he began to claim that he is just a small guy, and that you should understand that everything is being done on the orders of the commander-in-chief. We can but guess who he means by the commander-in-chief.
If this really is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, Vladimir Putin, then I would like to say he knows my ex-wife very well. She was once very close friends with the first lady. Based on the fact that the main task of Vladimir Putin in relation to his former wife is to find her a new husband (as he’d stated publicly during a press conference), then it seems to me based on what’s been happening that what he’s been trying to do in relation to my former wife is to cause her to have a heart attack. In the past, Putin and his wife had visited my wife on her birthday. They wished her good health and all that’s best, as did many other leaders of the state, who formed queues, like in Indian films, to kiss her on the cheek and wish her all the best. It seems that “all the best” has arrived in the direct sense, in form of fifteen armed OMON special forces operatives armed to the teeth.
I would very much hope that their wishes do not come true.