Ukraine’s Interior Ministry’s staggering response to Razvozzhaev’s abduction


As concern mounts and stories differ widely regarding the abduction of Russian opposition activist Leonid Razvozzhaev and who was involved in forcibly returning him to Moscow, Ukraine’s Interior Ministry has provided staggering commentary.  Ministry spokesperson Volodymyr Polishchuk has told journalists that the investigation by the Ministry into Razvozzhaev’s abduction will continue until 29 October, however they can already now, on 24 October say that no criminal investigation could be initiated over the abduction. This, he says, is because a foreign national was abducted by a foreign security service and such services should not share their plans regarding such activities.

“If there was a criminal offence, i.e. if a person was abducted, it doesn’t matter whether it’s a Ukrainian or Russian Federation citizen, such material reaches the police in the form of a statement or information, it’s registered and an investigative check is carried out.  On the basis, in fact, of an appeal from a lawyer, a woman born in 1983 that a person has been abducted. However the next day that person was alive and well and accompanied by the RF Security Service.  It’s clear therefore that here it wasn’t criminals who abducted the person, or terrorists, but that an operation by other enforcement officers has been undertaken on Ukrainian territory.”

Polishchuk claimed that the Ministry has no information as to whether the operation was undertaken with the permission and in the accompaniment of Ukrainian divisions. This, he said, was not a matter for a criminal inquiry, but a political issue.

Leonid Razvozzhaev was on Sunday remanded in custody in Moscow for at least two months.  The investigators claimed that he had handed himself in and “confessed”.  This was immediately placed in question by a video released on the Internet which showed him shouting that he had been tortured.  On 23 October members of the Public Supervisory Committee which monitors violations in places of confined visited Razvozzhaev in the remand prison.  He told them that he had been placed under severe psychological pressure, that the investigators had threatened to hurt his wife and children.

Razvozzhaev apparently also said that he was grabbed from outside the UNHCR offices in Kyiv by four men who forced him into a minivan with Ukrainian number plates. He said that on the way to Russia he was transferred to another van and that once in Russia, he spent three days before he signed the “confession” tied up in a basement without food or a toilet.

(Halya Coynash, based on media reports)

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