Gennady Afanasiev: Lefortovo. Life

Author : Gennady Afanasiev

Source :

Gennady Afanasiev’s memories of what happened with him during detention by Russian security services in Crimea and on further detention in Russia
16:45, 2 September 2016

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For a long time I was tortured in Crimea and during the tortures I was often asked with a smile: "Do you know where we will send you? You know where you will get to? To "Lefortovo"! Hold on, bastard..." At that moment I had no idea what they are talking about, and actually I didn’t care where they are going to take me. For a man who has never been in jail, all places of detention are the same. But very soon I felt the difference.

I was transferred to "Lefortovo" jail on civilian airliner. Separately, first I was brought to the end of the salon to the last seats and seated near the window. Next to me were two FSB employees and one sat in front of me in the next row. I was shackled - handcuffs on me, and yet another, fastened to FBS officer, who was sitting nearby. Other passengers came, behaved as usual, but secretly looked at me. And in their eyes I saw a fierce contempt and hatred ... They looked at me as I was the last bastard without knowing about me absolutely nothing. I was so ashamed that I was pulling sleeves of sweater over the palms to slightly cover handcuffs when children passed by. I still can’t understand the attitude of people, because in the recent past, almost one in two had relatives who were sitting in jail, and it is often for political reasons. It seems they should understand the prisoners, but no.

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Of course, in-flight for me were not allowed neither drink nor eat nor go to the toilet. I had to sit in silence and don’t look at another people. If I fell asleep, I was beaten in the ribs. Probably it’s because of the incredible cruelty and hatred, specially grown in their hearts. In their eyes I was a prisoner who does not have the right to rest, and they - men who work to protect the country.

And so we flew to Moscow. They waited until all go out of the plane, and then, at the last moment we came out. Police van was standing near the plane. I was taken out and forced to sit with hands on my head, waiting for further orders. " They filmed it.

"Lefortovo". I was taken to the promised place. Employees confiscated all my things. Even took the cross from my neck. Then dressed me in overalls much more over my size, with large holes between the legs and in underarms. It was humiliating, but I had been wearing these clothes for month or two.

My standard eight-meter camera was designed for two prisoners. The toilet was separated from the bed with tiny, narrow, no more than 50 centimeters in height, plywood partition. No privacy, everything is visible. It was very uncomfortable.

I had no chance to talk to family, hug them, touch them. I remembered all the good things that was in my life, and understood that it was lost forever. Then recalled the bad and understood that I will never fix it.

Related: Russia to extradite 18 prisoners in Crimea to Ukraine

Every week on Thursday I was taken to wash in the bath, but they didn’t give me clean clothes, forced me to walk in dirty rags. I asked them to return my clothes, and they answered: "Write an application." I have wrote it, and about a month I was waiting for an answer, before received permission to get back my clothes, and then I waited for another month to receive it. All the time dirty, smelly, humiliatingly stripped.

Generally the time in "Lefortovo" is flowing very slowly. There are two prisoners in one room, unlike other jails where prisoners sit for at least 4-20 people in one room. This great overcrowding is not always easy in terms of living conditions, but you can talk to neighbors, not only from your but from other cameras. In other detention centers on walks you can talk to each other, find out who sits where, get some news and information, and at night there’s an opportunity to contact each other through the so-called prison mail. In some prisons you have the opportunity to call the loved ones on mobile phone. In "Lefortovo" in-prison communication is impossible and, of course, there are no phones. Because of the communication deficit, some people are going mad and they became certainly frustrated and started quarrels with those nearby. It’s very difficult to control them. Only routine partly solves the problem.

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