Ukrainian political prisoner Soloshenko tells about Russian lawlessness

Author : Halyna Tytysh Oksana Kovalenko

Respondent : Yuriy Soloshenko

Source : 112 Ukraine

Yuriy Soloshenko and Gennady Afanasyev released from Russian Gulag-like colonies unveil the shocking details of their trial (part 2)
12:22, 28 June 2016

Read the original text at

You can find the first part of the interveiw here.

Yuriy Soloshenko comes from Poltava region; he graduated from Kharkiv National University. For 48 years, he has been working at a defense plant "Znamya," first as an engineer than as CEO. The factory is specialized in manufacturing components for radar and anti-missile systems. The only customer in these parts was Russia. In 2010, he was retired, and the plant was closed, but he still used his old contacts to help Kyiv and Moscow with trade of specialized equipment. He has a wife and son. Yuriy was arrested when he was 72 years old. Now he is 74.

I still do not know what all these "secret" documents contain

I was the director of the factory, which has cooperated with the Ministry of Defense of Russia. It was our only customer, because we manufactured the military-technical products, which were operated in Russia’s Armed Forces.

One of these general customers, the colonel of the Russian Army, called and said that they purchased a large batch of our products and asked for permission for use in their complexes. I answered that the technical inspection must be conducted first. He asked: "Could you do that?" I have left the factory back in 2010, so I did not want to do it, but they insisted.

Finally, they persuaded me to come. I arrived in Belgorod, went through passport control, the border guard checked my documents than left and returned again. She took my passport, called somebody, and gave the data from my passport to some unknown people. I have realized that it was a trap.

Related: Peskov: Russia, Ukraine negotiate on exchanging Sentsov

Two friends, both of them are colonels, met me in Moscow. I entered their office, but suddenly the door opened and everything was like in a detective story. “Stay where you are! It is FSB!” (Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation) I did not even think that they came to detain me, I thought they came to arrest someone from the employees. The colonel pushed me against a wall with my hands up and searched me. I just could not understand what was going on. Then they gave me plastic bag. I have opened the bag and saw that there were two cell phones and some papers inside of it. “These papers do not belong to me,” I replied. “No, they are yours, you came here with them,” they said.

They have prepared some supposedly secret documents, which I allegedly wanted to steal them from Russia. These "X-Files" were shares on C-300 systems, which have been operated in the Armed Forces of Ukraine for 40 years already, and the components are made at the Kyiv factory "Generator."

Related: Kolchenko: fight for Ukraine without slaves and without masters

They put the handcuffs and photographed me.

The only "evidence" was these phones with the documents that they prepared. I have not left my fingerprints on those things. I have not even read them, I still do not know what is written in these papers.

We arrived at the Investigation Department. All the time I was trying to tell them that this must be a mistake. The investigator told me: "We have notified your embassy." We arrived at the court, and I told once again that this is an absurd accusation.

But the judge told me: "It's not in the indictment, before the proceedings end, we want to resolve the issue of preventive measure." And then they made a decision to put me in prison in "Lefortovo" for two months.

Related: Russia’s Supreme Court refuses to reconsider sentence in Sentsov-Kolchenko case

They closed me in solitary confinement. The next day I was escorted under guard to the investigation department.

“If you accept Russian citizenship, we will transfer you to the status of the witness, and you will be under the protection of Russian law on the protection of witnesses", they said.

I refused to take Russian citizenship.

Then they have put me behind the bars.

"If you plead guilty to espionage, we will place you under house arrest"

My friends in Moscow were very helpful; they provided me with everything that I needed.

People from the investigation department told me: "The lawyer from your friends is dangerous. He came here to spy for the real reason of your isolation in order to protect your friends.” They strongly insisted that I refused to work with this lawyer.

October 2, the court extended the preventive measures. And… they gave me another two months.

When I heard the verdict, I thought a heart attack would have happened.

A month has passed. I have not left my cell. After a month, Department of Investigation personnel told me that my lawyer did not show up and advised me to hire another one. They “recommended” me to take a concrete lawyer. My new defender said: "From tomorrow, I start to prepare materials for the article reclassification. Espionage is extremely serious offence, it is not subject to appeal, judicial review or amnesty, and you will get from 10 to 20 years."

“You have two options - to plead guilty, and then you will get 10 years. If you do not plead guilty, you will be judged to 20 years," my lawyer said.

I answered him with a smile on my lips: "Look at me, sir! 10 or 20 years, it already does not matter for me. I am not going to plead guilty!"

In total, I have spent 10 months without a lawyer, and 8 months without a consul.

I did not confess, and they did not have enough materials. Then they said: "If you plead guilty to espionage, you will serve a house arrest (in the apartment of my friend near Moscow)." Then they promised to give me suspended sentence.

Related: Savchenko: Putin is not eternal

My children kept me informed about what measures were taken. They went to Kyiv, spoke to different human rights activists and lawyers. Russian Ombudsman Ella Pamfilova said: "Now I cannot help you, only after the trial."

I know that the accusation is totally absurd; no one in Ukraine would believe that I was trying to steal these materials, because our country has been using them for 40 years already!

And I agreed for the house arrest and asked the investigator to confirm this proposition. We filed the documents. In some time, they said me that there was a little problem. "You see, everything is agreed, except for one thing. You do not have Russian passport, so you cannot be under house arrest here... Let's have a drink." Of course, I did not drink with them.

The investigator continued: "If I acquit you, the next day I will be fired. Your detention was decided at the highest level of General Prosecutor's Office and by the FSB leadership."

I had no chances. I wrote to the administration of the President and the Chief of Investigation Department. Nobody answered me. I have signed the accusations, and the next trial was scheduled for October 1.

Related: Savchenko: I am a human being, a soldier first and then a woman

I was not beaten, they were trying to break me mentally

The trial was closed, no one was allowed, neither TV, nor consul.

At the third hearing, I spoke in my own defense. The judge listened to me and said that the court took my words critically.

Ella Pamfilova said that December 10, my question to be discussed at a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. But it did not work. Before sending me into colony in Nizhny Novgorod, I went to a prison hospital for two weeks. But I became ill; I was admitted to the regional prison hospital, where I spent 2.5 months. After it I was transferred to the colony.

I was placed in a cell with very respectable people, with two PhDs. One was the Special Forces Colonel. And with one Georgian, I taught him Ukrainian national anthem, and we sang it in a low voice.

I was not beaten, they were trying to break me mentally. I had nothing to lose. Of course, I wanted to see my grandchildren. The investigator told me: "Of course, it is better to die at home."

When you are in Russia, you should not count on some kind of humanism or fairness. This monster has one power, the autocrat and his FSB henchmen.

Dear Ukrainians who still remain in the Russian captivity held hostage in the Russian Federation, do not lose your faith. Ukraine has not forgotten about you! It is fighting for every citizen.

Faith cannot be lost.

Related: Novikov: 'Savchenko always laundered her clothes in detention by herself'

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