Former State Duma deputy Denis Voronenkov: “The situation in Russia is like in Nazi Germany. I don’t want to live in lies and hypocrisy. I became a citizen of Ukraine and I am proud of it.”
By Yuri Butusov/Censor.net
February 14, 2017 Anno Domini
Translated from the Russian
Deputy of the State Duma of the Russian Federation of the 6th convocation Denis Voronenkov and his wife, also a deputy of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, the famous Russian opera singer Maria Maksakova in October 2016, even before the end of their parliamentary powers, left for Ukraine. They received Ukrainian citizenship and are not going to return to Russia anytime soon.
Voronenkov became one of the important witnesses in the investigation by the General Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine of the case of high treason of the ex-President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych. For the first time, statesmen of the Russian Federation of such a level went to Ukraine and for the first time testified in a case that is extremely painful for the Russian leadership, whose protégé was Yanukovych. Information about the action of Voronenkov and Maksakova became a sensation and a super scandal in the Russian establishment, of which both MPs were a part; the political resonance is colossal. Denis Voronenkov gave his first interview in Ukraine to “Censor.NET” – a site that is completely banned by the decision of Roskomnadzor on the territory of the Russian Federation.
“I HAVE INVESTIGATED CORRUPTION IN THE FSB. EMPLOYEES OF GENERAL FEOKTISTOV HAVE ATTEMPTED ON ME. PUTIN DOESN’T LIKE WHEN CLEANING DIRT AWAY.”
- Couldn’t you, a wealthy man with connections, with a famous wife, find your place in Russia in order to occupy your niche and live in peace?
In 2011, I went to the elections to the State Duma, financed myself, without attracting any oligarchs, passing all meetings with my own feet, without having any political strategists. The rudiments of democracy still existed in 2011, when I was elected to the State Duma. At the same time, demonstrations began on Bolotnaya Square, and it seemed to me that these were sprouts of freedom that would lead to positive changes. But everything was brutally suppressed. And the government began to take on more and more authoritarian character. In 2016, I went to the polls again, and they had nothing to do with democracy. I won the elections, but the authorities openly and cynically organized pressure on the members of the election commissions and falsified the results at every polling station.
Today the political system in Russia works only to destroy everyone who is not embedded in it. Meanings and principles are being replaced. The law and the rights of voters are being violated. Those who do this are the real traitors. But the meanings are being substituted, and they call me a “national traitor”, who did not earn money from the authorities, did not master budget money, did not enter into any schemes and did not falsify anything. And those in power shout loudest about their patriotism in order to present their personal interests as national. Straight on Saltykov-Shchedrin: “They began to press on patriotism. Apparently, they steal.” They say that I am a criminal. A criminal is a person convicted of a criminal offense by a court. By what court and when was I convicted? Here we will have to state with regret the accusatory bias of the current Russian justice. In Russia, according to the Supreme Court, every third man between the ages of 20 and 60 is either tried or prosecuted. What does this mean? This means that the law is somehow wrongly arranged. Any person can be prosecuted at any time or a case can be fabricated. And why? And suddenly he began to blather something, speak against the authorities, go out of step with everyone. If there were a man, there would be a job. They say: “Fugitive deputy”, and what, I have no right to choose where to live? And who was I running from? The names of all these corrupt shitty journalists writing under the dictation of the authorities are known to everyone in the Russian Federation. I believe that they should be tried for libel and Goebbels propaganda.
– The Russian media reported that in April 2015, a criminal case was opened, in which you are being held. Tell us what is at stake and what is the reason for opening a case?
- This is pure lie. But let’s start in order. In the early 2000s, we created the Federal Service for the Control of Drug Trafficking, headed by General of the Army Viktor Cherkesov. It was then one of Putin’s closest associates. And Putin instructed Cherkesov to deal with the fight against smuggling as well. As a military lawyer, I was appointed to a serious position in the new structure – the head of the department, I received the rank of colonel. And we took up the fight against smuggling very seriously, our task was to reach out to those who were in charge of these schemes. As a result of our activities, 16 FSB generals were dismissed, as well as a number of prosecutors associated with them. There has never been such a purge of the siloviki leadership. And this was only the beginning, the investigation continued to progress successfully.
And in one of the cases, we proved that the smugglers were directly high-ranking FSB leaders who delivered goods directly to the address of their military unit. Billions of dollars have been earned on this over the years. We opened this channel, documented most of the leaders, and stopped this activity. This case became known as the Three Whales case. A certain Zuev was drugged, taken to Germany, he rewrote the business to the Chechen loaders who allegedly worked for him, who later had to rewrite further to whom they showed. But we dug it all out. We were proud of the results and accomplishment of the task set by the country’s leadership.
But the results were unexpected: we failed to complete the investigation. Many of my colleagues who took part in the development were arrested by the FSB on trumped-up charges, and the Drug Control itself was essentially destroyed. In October 2007, General Cherkesov wrote an article entitled “The soldiers must not be allowed to turn into merchants.” He wrote about the disastrous consequences that impunity for high-ranking corrupt officials can lead to the country. But the result was the same: because of this article, he was fired, the FSKN was liquidated.
And at that moment it became clear to everyone that Russia had chosen a different course. It turned out that Putin does not like to have dirty linen out of public, if this rubbish concerns his closest friends, whom corruption, as it turned out, is allowed. In fact, the FSB smuggling case determined the direction along which Russia will develop in the future.
So, in order to destroy the cases against the leadership of the FSB, they began to persecute the employees of the Drug Control Service. This was done by Oleg Feoktistov, head of the sixth service of the FSB’s CSS. Feoktistov is now the head of the Rosneft security service. And our confrontation with him began precisely from that period. Feoktistov received the task to deal with all the employees of the Drug Control Service who were involved in the investigations against the leadership of the FSB. They decided that I was one of the key links in this operation.
– And what did they do to you?
- In 2007, an attempt was made on my life in the center of Moscow. They shot at me. This is in the midst of the Three Whales affair. I am sure that the assassination attempt was carried out by Feoktistov’s employees. I was lucky – I survived, but received bullet wounds in my legs. Transferred 12 operations. A criminal case was opened on attempted murder – no one was found. The press even wrote “order” – but he was walking drunk, he fell and broke his leg. They have it so. It is absolutely impossible to underestimate them.
– After such a war with the FSB, could you stay in the civil service?
- Not. We all left. All employees of Narkokontrol resigned in 2008, following Cherkesov. So that you understand – those who tried to stay were fired anyway, even the cleaning ladies were fired! Cherkesov is a very smart, correct, honest person, they decided to remove him and all of us from power. And in 2011, together with him, we were elected to the State Duma. They overlooked this, believed that being a person far from politics, I would never be elected. It was only possible to change something in the country by being elected to the State Duma; there are no other options for us in Russia. The State Duma has always been viewed as a platform for reaching independent positions. Governors, auditors, mayors. For this purpose, I went to the State Duma. The path to law enforcement was closed to me forever, but I wanted to serve my power, and went into politics.
– And who received the money for smuggling under the “roof” of the FSB? The Russian press claims that Feoktistov is Igor Sechin’s man, and Sechin is a close friend of Putin?
- This case was not fully investigated. We were not allowed to do this. How many years this system has existed, who received money from it. This should have been investigated within the framework of a criminal case and given an assessment to all those people who were involved in this. I only had the operational development materials. We didn’t manage to find everyone.
– How did you work in the State Duma, did you manage to “change Russia” as you hoped?
- I understood that in order to achieve any results, you need to have a strong rear. The State Duma at that time theoretically provided such an opportunity. I joined the Communist Party faction, which is considered oppositional. In 2012, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation nominated me for the position of auditor of the Accounts Chamber. This position is quite significant in the Russian Federation. And here these unfinished FSB officers made every effort so that they would not appoint me this auditor. The approval was passed in the presidential administration, all workplaces and diplomas were checked by the FSB, but the FSB’s CSS immediately intervened. By the gradation of “friend or foe” I was a stranger, and nothing else was interesting to them. And before the last stage – agreement with the president, they announced that I should not be nominated, I am almost a criminal. The mechanism for appointing to the post is as follows: a faction nominates a candidate, first everything is checked by the presidential administration, already within the framework of this check, the FSB is involved, if the go-ahead is given, the president submits it to the State Duma and a vote takes place. In general, I was not allowed to become an auditor either.
“FOR PUTIN THE STATE DUMA IS NOTHING. THE FSB RULES EVERYTHING.”
-What is the essence of the criminal case, the defendant of which you are? What are the charges against you?
- No charges have been brought against me. And there is nothing to do with me. In one of the trumped-up criminal cases, I am passing in the status of a witness. The case was invented just at the moment when I was promoted to the position of auditor. The FSB announced that a case was opened on the illegal re-registration of a building. Then they re-qualify him for fraud (159), a more serious article, take him from one district to another (for their own convenience), create a group of 25 investigators. The FSB does everything with the hands of the Investigative Committee, and they begin to invent a criminal case specifically “for me”. The funny thing is that this building did not go anywhere, the owner did not change. Subsequently, I found out that some tax officer tried to re-register it, who for some reason died two weeks later under strange circumstances. Some former FSB officers, apparently engaged in raider seizures and did not share with their leadership. All these people, most of whom I do not know and have never seen, have never called my name and never talked about any of my illegal actions. But only until the moment when each of them was not arrested and placed in the Lefortovo pre-trial detention center. Here they immediately began to give the necessary evidence that they acted together with Voronenkov. After that, a so-called deal with justice was concluded with them, they were released, receiving a suspended sentence. My status, I emphasize, which was and still is, is that of a witness. In Russian law, there is such a concept – a deal with justice. When a person admits his guilt and he says – “yes, I did it”, but together with such and such. And there is only his words, no more proof. But on this basis you will be judged. In 2014 alone, 500 thousand people were convicted in this way (I made a request to the General Prosecutor’s Office). In collaboration with colleagues from other factions, we prepared bills and changed this article 90 of the RF Criminal Procedure Code in 2016. Now, according to the law, a full-fledged investigation should be carried out against a person who did not know about this case. And I personally, of course, would very much like this case to be considered by any European court. So that the enormity of the falsifications and the insignificance of the accusations made were visible. After that, everyone who was involved in this case will have to be prosecuted.
– And yet, what is the essence of the case in which you are involved? I would like to understand how far justice in the Russian Federation is now from the standards of 1937.
- Justice today is not comparable to the 37th year, it is worse. Under Stalin, people were mostly convicted under Article 58 on political matters. But for all the rest of the general criminal, there were 20% of acquittals. Now in Russia there are less than 0.5% of acquittals. Political cases are rarely opened – it is loud, the West looks at it badly, it is easier to make a criminal out of a person. Any person who is independent and independent, was engaged in something: business, real estate, restaurants, construction, always under the gun of the Russian Criminal Code. And in Russia a new category of convicts has appeared – by analogy with “fifty-eighth,” they are called “hundred and fifty-nine.” This is a scam article that can attract almost anyone. This is a grave article of up to 10 years in prison.
In my case, they said that the documents were changed for a building in the center of Moscow at a cost of $ 5 million. Who evaluated him, where did this amount come from? Then it turned out that it was a stall behind the third ring of Moscow. To be honest, I don’t even know where this street is located in Moscow. But it was necessary to make a beautiful picture. I am not a poor person, a lot of property has been declared, since I was legally engaged in business. Yes, I realized, all incomes have been declared. In the middle of the 2000s, I was in real estate. I didn’t come up with anything new – it’s cheaper to buy, more expensive to sell, to make money on the difference. This required the legal purity of the transaction and documents, which interested me. And here is the person who took 100 thousand dollars from me in total, he had to sell one building to me, but just trivially “threw” me and disappeared. And I accordingly met with the head of the investigative committee, wrote a statement, and then they turned this case over to me. And this man turned out to be a drug addict, their agent. A certain lawyer Krylov, who has no education, was previously convicted of drugs. They told him: “You declare that he gave you this money to steal this building.” Everything was done primitively. Everything that the Russian authorities do with propaganda on TV, they do the same with respect to each individual person. I had a huge number of people in Russia who supported me, they knew that I would never do such nonsense. But now everyone lives according to the principle “my house is on the edge”, very few people supported me. And I was left alone with the system. You cannot fight legally against someone who acts illegally a priori. How can you talk legally with a bandit? And the main bandit in Russia now is the state. This is where the problem is. And some people, such as Feoktistov, usurped punitive functions. They themselves determine who to punish, how to act.
– Did Feoktistov’s people offer you to close the case?
- Yes, I was repeatedly offered offers, even the sums were named .. There were approaches, I dismissed them.
– How big was your business?
- It so happened that at one time in Moscow what was bought at a thousand dollars per square meter, a year later already cost 8-9 thousand. This was after I left the prosecutor’s office, somewhere in 2000. During this period, I was not in the civil service. And already before joining the Duma, I left all LLCs, because I understood perfectly well that as a deputy, I expose any of my business to direct guidance. Therefore, I diversified, I did the right thing, because now I would be left with nothing.
– In addition to the conflict with the FSB, did you have any conflict situations in power?
- I had no conflicts with anyone. The most interesting thing is that I have never seen Mr. Feoktistov in my life and have never met him.
– Alexei Navalny wrote that the current head of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service Sergei Naryshkin sang at your wedding with Maria, is that true?
- Yes, this is not classified information. Naryshkin at that time was the same State Duma deputy, our colleague. There were many people at the wedding, with whom we worked, communicated in power for many years.
– Navalny speaks critically about you, says that he does not believe that beliefs can be changed when crossing the border.
- From my point of view, Navalny is a man driven to despair who is now attacking everyone without going into details. I think it’s strange to sort things out for people who are under attack. I had my own good reasons to change my views and reconsider my life and its values. I will not enter into an argument with someone, it makes no sense. I sacrificed too much when leaving Russia, and I am not going to argue with anyone.
– Didn’t you inform Putin about the situation with your connections?
- For Putin, the State Duma is nothing, complete zero. In the system of the division of state power in the Russian Federation, it does not have any significance. There is no electorate, elections and democracy mean nothing, it’s just technology.
– Do you mean that the elections in Russia are all rigged?
- Absolutely. Everything from municipal to federal. The leaders of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, including Zyuganov, thoroughly know my situation. He signed many letters in my defense. They were outraged to the limit, but the level of their influence in the Russian system of state power, unfortunately, is not very large. There is always a certain set of requests that cannot be endless. In this list of requests, the name Voronenkov was somewhere far away. Therefore, now these people have no moral right to say that I did something wrong. They did not do something for me, but I did for them when I went to the polls and advertised their brand. And I don’t owe them anything to anyone.
– The Communist Party of the Russian Federation did not intercede for you?
“I’d like to know who they ever stood up for. They talk about a mythical struggle for human rights. But this struggle is limited to demagoguery. Of course not. We signed some letters to which there was no reaction at all. They are literate people, they have been in the system of state power for a long time. And in five years of working together, they could figure it out. For 7 years, in violation of the current legislation, I was under round-the-clock surveillance (and I knew about it), all my phones were tapped, all members of my family were monitored. With constant printouts in the press of details from my personal life, where I am, where I went, with whom. Even the Suvorov School, which I graduated from 30 years ago, received requests asking me to describe how I behaved, whether I enjoyed authority in the team. They checked all places of work – whether I received bribes. Couldn’t find anything. However, they find one of my acquaintances, who was one of the main “cashiers” in Moscow – Kachur Vitaly, he worked absolutely not hiding, with their permission. And they detain him and say tell him that you gave Voronenkov a million dollars – 7 years ago, but he did not return it. They needed it because I did not receive any material benefit from the alleged crime. Imagine a person who gave me a million dollars and for 7 years never reminded me of it! I never asked for a refund! Of course, he has no receipts, he has no contracts either – he just allegedly gave a million and forgot about it. And I only remembered being in the Lefortovo pre-trial detention center. Apparently, only there the memory starts to work well. This man is still sitting so that God forbid he would not give up his testimony while they deal with me.
– Can we conclude that Russia is now ruled by the FSB?
-A separate group of persons in this department usurped power powers on behalf of the state. They single-handedly decide whom to execute and whom to have mercy. Now the FSB has completely demoralized and defeated the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Prosecutor General’s Office has no oversight functions. Everything is run by the FSB. And to resist it … I thought that we should try to resist it – alas, I overestimated my capabilities and the scale of the problem. I would like to add that you are the first journalist who is interested in the real circumstances of my discrediting. Unfortunately, in Russia everyone is totally working out their fee.
– How, then, does Putin influence the mafia in the FSB and does he?
- Early Putin was a different person who delved into all the problems, understood that the state is stable only in a system of checks and balances. Now this is not the case. Why do they behave this way. And even if you come to him, he will ask for a certificate from the FSB. In Russia, now the main document for all cases is the FSB’s operational information. Despite the fact that in the Criminal Procedure Code there is no such document as the FSB’s operational reference. Putin is guided by the same principles. If he did not want to destroy the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Prosecutor General’s Office, then this would not have happened. If there were a system of balances, there would be at least some kind of balance. In Russia, this system has long been gone. If you are in conflict with these people, then you are finished. I’m in conflict with them. Their main principle is the same – with whom do you share the money that you earn? I never shared money with them, when I served, I was not engaged in business.
VORONENKOV’S WIFE MARIA MAKSAKOVA LOST TWO CHILDREN DURING PREGNANCY DUE TO STRESS UNDER THE PRESSURE OF THE FSB
– What would have happened to you if you had not left, what do you think?
- At 45, starting life elsewhere is a very difficult decision that is not easy to make. But I don’t want to be afraid, I understood that when I lose my deputy status, anything can happen to me. I am the enemy of those people who, unfortunately, represent the law in my country. I know that the FSB uses psychotropic drugs to suppress the will and subordination of people in the Lefortovo detention center. It started under Feoktistov, and I don’t want to become the next victim. The arrested General Kolesnikov, for example, was thrown from the balcony, declared a drug addict, and told that his wife tried to smuggle drugs into his shoes. Or, for example, Maksimenko, an employee of the Investigative Committee, was also guilty of something – and now they have made a “vegetable” out of him in Lefortovo. And I understood that because of the struggle that I was waging openly, I would also be treated with an extraordinary approach. It was a question of my life, health. Several high-ranking people directly told me that I overestimate my capabilities, and it was better for me to leave Russia. I took these warnings seriously.
– The Russian press wrote that your wife, State Duma deputy Maria Maksakova, because of these persecutions, experienced severe stress during pregnancy and lost two children in 2015. It’s true?
- Unfortunately. These are not people, but scum. Markin, a representative of the Investigative Committee, made accusations against me specifically on my birthday – April 10, 2015. The pressure was growing from all sides – the FSB wanted all friends and acquaintances to turn away from me after seeing this campaign. Maria saw all this and was very worried … She was in her third month of pregnancy … This tragedy greatly influenced me and made me look differently at many things in life. When your family is suffering, there is no choice.
– You understood that if you left for Europe, then there would not be such a reaction against you, because Ukraine is now called in Moscow the main enemy of Russia.
- I was hinted so that I would not try to go in this direction. And I am too independent a figure for them, too independent, and all our confrontation was absolutely obvious to the political elite in Russia.
“I DIDN’T CHANGE THE OWL. I HAD A CHOICE WITHOUT CHOICE – EITHER SEPARATE WITH ME, OR LEAVE”
– Do you understand that the Kremlin’s propagandists will turn you into an enemy of the state? Do you understand that they will try to trample your name and brand as a national traitor?
- They themselves are primarily national traitors. They insult others, insult the state, and unleash wars. These scum have never done anything in their lives for their Motherland, including fulfilling their constitutional duty – they did not serve in the army.
In my state, I went from a Suvorov soldier to a colonel, from a simple teacher to a professor, doctor of jurisprudence, served for many years, worked in the Arctic Circle, was a deputy of the State Duma, and I did not harm Russia with any of my actions.
Yes, I testified in the General Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine in the case of the ex-President of Ukraine Yanukovych, who really betrayed his country, was involved in the massacres of people, who fled to another country and called on the troops of another state to destroy his people. I believe that this person should not have received asylum in Russia, but a fair trial. And this court is very important for a democratic country. I am not a traitor, I love the country in which I was born and took place. I did not betray anyone, I did not betray my oath. If Putin considers the previously twice-convicted Yanukovych to be his friend, then I don’t need such friends.
I even think that they absolutely do not care that Yanukovych is being tried on a high treason case. They understand that they can confiscate $ 1.5 billion of property from him. The fight is only for this. The economy determines all politics. The unhappy fate of many people is a consequence of the choice they did not make. I made this choice. And I’m proud of it.
– Why did you vote in 2014 for the annexation of Crimea?
- I myself did not vote, they voted for me with a card. The decision of the Communist Party faction was to vote for the annexation of Crimea, and they voted with a card instead of me, although I did not give a power of attorney to vote. Then I saw the dire consequences of this vote, and today I consider it a gross mistake. My mistake and Russia’s mistake. And this mistake must be corrected.
I believe that the last wars of conquest ended in the 19th century, when other countries took over territories and siphoned off resources. Having seized Crimea, Russia began to pump huge amounts of money there. Resources for this are being siphoned off at the expense of other primordially Russian regions. In the Russian Federation, the poorest regions are the Russian regions – Ivanovo, Ryazan, Vladimir, Vologda, Pskov regions. The imbalance in the provision of regions is enormous. The Caucasus, for example, receives billions of dollars in subsidies. Now all of Russia is deprived to the detriment of Crimea. The consequences are dire for the country, they do not provide an opportunity for development. Having committed aggression against Ukraine, Russia quarreled with the entire world community, this was done even in violation of the federal Russian laws on referendum. Now Russia is under sanctions, anti-Russian sentiments are growing in the world, investments and access to Western credit resources have ceased.
– I found Cherkesov’s article “You can’t let the soldiers turn into merchants” in 2007, about which you spoke. There he described three ways of development of Russia under Putin. The first is the building of civil society, the second is the strengthening of power structures and the construction of neo-feudalism, and the third is the Soviet version of stagnation and corruption, which will lead to disintegration. Which way is Russia going?
- I think Russia is following the second path, gradually moving to the third.
Now there is a change of generations, and I see by what principles – parochialism, protectionism, etc. It is impossible to change the state under conditions of negative selection. I fought to lead one of the regions, I was close to that. And they explained to me that no, you cannot exist as a white crow. No one will ever let you do this, and secondly, if you managed to overcome corruption, to establish life within one region – this is a small projection of the country, then in principle you can succeed with a large region. Who needs such an example? And I began to understand that they wouldn’t let me do anything, the experience was not in demand, and I would just have to fight against a blank wall. At one of the meetings in the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, Zyuganov said that the USSR had collapsed because the rules were gerontocracy. This was said by a man who is 72 years old, who has been in charge for 20 years – he does not consider himself gerontocracy. And United Russia, which blames America and Ukraine for all Russia’s problems, has been in power for 17 years. There is such a concept in economics – an institutional trap. All over the world it is believed that 100% of profits should not exceed 40% of taxes. Because if this figure is higher, a person will not be engaged in business, because there will be no opportunity to invest in production, pay normal salaries – this is killing the economy in the bud. So in Russia it is about 60%. In fact, everyone who does business, they do it illegally through various forms of outsourcing. And how can this be changed if any changes in the state are prohibited? I was the author of a number of laws on offshore amnesty, on capital amnesty, which were signed by President Putin. But this is not beneficial for the state. If today some businessman is simply engaged in business and the state turns a blind eye to violations, and tomorrow he wants to speak out on some political issue, for example, about the Donbass, then the state will immediately be able to organize a criminal case against him.
– But you somehow lived with all this for many years, what has changed?
- A person is free to choose where to live. I left because I just don’t want to live in lies and hypocrisy anymore. Sometimes you have to make a decision – do you want to change something, or are you ready to live quietly as a timeserver? I don’t want to compromise. My wife tells me all the time that the worst thing in life is to compromise. I agree with her. This is a pernicious thing for the conscience. First you make a small compromise, then a bigger one. Now in Russia there are many people who are waiting for changes in the government, but they cannot come from within the government, which is just fine with everything and the system rejects everyone who wants changes. She also rejected me. Therefore, I had a choice without a choice – either they will deal with me, or leave the country. And in general, I agree with the statement of the famous actor that Russia is a necrophilic country where the dead are loved more than the living.
“THE CRIMEA UNITED RUSSIA AROUND THE IDEAS TO SLEEP … SOMETHING AT HIS NEIGHBOR. THIS IS MY ERROR, RUSSIA’S ERROR, AND THIS ERROR SHOULD BE CORRECTED”
– You left while still a State Duma deputy?
- Yes, in October. Formally, we had powers until December 4. But we decided not to wait for their completion. We considered different options, but due to my mentality, my roots and my position, which I often expressed, we decided to move to Kiev.
– Do you intend to obtain Ukrainian citizenship and build your life here?
- And I am already a citizen of Ukraine. On December 4, my powers as a State Duma deputy ended, and on December 6, I became a citizen of Ukraine.
– You gave evidence to the General Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine. Tell us what exactly.
- I would not like to tell the materials of the preliminary investigation, but in short … Yes, I testified in the case of Yanukovych’s treason. I considered it my duty to help my country and expose this villain. A previously convicted criminal who betrayed his people, escaped and asked to send troops of another state to destroy his citizens. It is my firm conviction that all these words and actions need to be translated into the legal plane. And give them a legal assessment. Yanukovych is a puppet. He himself signed the abdication, and his appeal to bring in Russian troops was illegal. At first, this appeal was generally written by the Crimean Aksenov. In Russia everything is a secret, but nothing is a secret. Then the Kremlin considered who Aksyonov was if Yanukovych was in Russia. And so he writes a letter to the President of the Russian Federation on the introduction of troops.
– How do you perceive the events in Ukraine, the revolution, the war for independence?
-. When the Maidan happened, the entire normally thinking part of the Russian political elite was delighted that the Ukrainians had driven away the corrupt government. The same thing is happening in Russia. A very small group has taken over and plundered the country. And all the rest are punished by punitive methods through the Investigative Committee and the FSB. It’s just that Russia is much more amorphous than Ukraine and there are many more opportunities to exploit it so that this power can stay in its place. Therefore, the Kremlin got mad and shouted that the events in Ukraine were the hand of America. What if this happens in Moscow? There is also a huge number of dissatisfied people. This was the main problem. Strangle in the bud and show that God forbid something like this happens here.
– How do you feel about the fact that Russia is waging a war against Ukraine in the Donbass?
- This is a huge disaster. The situation in Russia now is like in Hitler’s Nazi Germany. Everyone knew that he was killing Jews, but they continued to cooperate with him for many years, pretending that nothing was happening. The whole state went mad precisely in the pseudo-patriotic frenzy. Many things are now the same in Russia. As one well-known writer said: “What unites Ivan and Magomed in Russia? This is an opportunity to sp..t something for free.” Then all national, religious and linguistic differences disappear. Crimea has become such a litmus test – it has united Russia around the idea of something to sleep … with its neighbor. And many Crimean citizens would do the same – they have the same thinking. The Americans would come to Crimea and say: now there will be America here and pensions for a thousand dollars, so they would vote for America. War is trouble. Ukrainians must show maximum willpower. There will be victims, but you need to defend your territory. I see that there is a very high patriotic enthusiasm here. There is no other way to win the war. Otherwise, Ukraine will be crushed and crushed, the Kremlin will not stop. Today’s Russia does not need a successful Ukraine in any way. Only with the change of this power can something change, an epiphany come.
– What would you say to those Russians who go to Donbass to take part in hostilities?
- Over the past 20 years in Russia, unfortunately, they have lost the education system. Today propaganda is bringing up. When young people with no education, no profession (their parents are mostly asocial elements) are told every day: “Judeo Bandera, ukrofashists, enemies”, they develop false patriotism, they go to war. First of all, because they are not in demand, they cannot find themselves in Russia. And the state is filthy parasitizing on them, using them as “cannon fodder”. The same Motorola – he worked at a gas station. He was nowhere and never could achieve anything – and he was easy to hire and seduce with a false social lift. Such people have always been in any state.
– Why Ukraine after all? You could become a citizen of any country in the world, but everything is complicated here, because feudalism, corruption, they are also widespread in our state, and the state itself is just beginning to be created, there is a lot of chaos, and there are many disappointments. Life in Ukraine is a path of struggle.
- I earned enough in due time. But I realized that this is not the goal of my life. For me, the most important thing is to be in demand, to be useful to the state and society, to achieve certain results in my work so that they are visible, and strive to make life better around me. You go where you can find a case. And Ukraine is my second native country. Here, too, are my roots, in the Kherson region. Therefore, I do not feel like a stranger here, a visitor. Ukraine accepts everyone who believes in it. There are many problems, but there is a vector of development, there is a spirit of freedom, there are normal people. The first thing that we saw when we arrived here – people are kind, normal, there are no evil faces. I don’t want to leave Kiev. In Europe you will always be a stranger. Only the third generation will feel like non-emigrants. I am a person who has worked for the state all my life, what will I do there, who will I serve? Yes, my wife is in demand, she often travels to Europe. I think they will now begin to put obstacles in place in Russia.
– A terrorist attack was committed in Kiev, a former Russian journalist Pavel Sheremet was killed, circumstances say that he could have become a victim of the Russian special services. Aren’t you afraid that you are also now a potential target for Russian terrorists, and they might hunt you down?
- Do not underestimate any risks. But I am also a prepared person. And there is a risk. But the risk in Kiev is no higher for me than in Moscow. I’m willing to take risks.
– What would you like to do in Ukraine?
- First of all, of course, I would like to be useful to the country, with all the knowledge that I have. In Russia today people like me are not needed. I am currently in the negotiation stage. First, I received citizenship, because not being a citizen of the country, it is difficult to apply for any government office. I do not need privileges, I will try to find my place in life, like everyone else. I understand that it will be difficult, not easy. But this is freedom. A person can always make his own choice. I made my choice.
I would like to quote V. Mayakovsky:
“I wanted to be understood by my country,
But I won’t understand – well … ..
I will pass over my native country,
How the slanting rain passes … “