There is hope for Aleksei Pichugin

posted 30 Dec 2013, 09:54 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 30 Dec 2013, 10:01 ]
26 December 2013

Source: (info)
Aleksei Pichugin was arrested in the summer 2003 and sentenced to life in 2007 for allegedly organising several murders, including a murder of the mayor of Nefteyugansk Vladimir Petukhov and the head of Moscow company Phoenix, Valentina Korneeva. The former KGB officer and the former chief economic security official at Yukos, Aleksei Pichugin, is serving his sentence in Orenburg region in a penal colony in the town of Sol-Iletsk, also known as the Black Dolphin.

The mother of Pichugin, retired Alla Puchigina, is allowed to see her son twice a year. The last time she saw her 51-year-old son was on 21st December. On her way to prison she already knew that her son’s former boss, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, had been released.

- Of course, this news cheered him up. He got some hope. Thank God everything’s a bit better now and his health improved. I felt better too when saw him smiling. Khodorkovsky said they wouldn’t desert their friend in trouble. And Boris Moiseevich called, saying “we remember and know, so don’t worry”.

- Is that Mikhail Borisovich’s father?

- Yes, that’s him. They won’t desert him in trouble, that’s why there’s hope.

- Have you any idea how Mikhail Khodorkovsky can help Aleksei Pichugin?

- No, I haven’t. I don’t know on what grounds he was released, if there have been any agreements, I don’t know. What I know is that he wants to help and it’s enough for me. Plus people who worked with him for many years also say that he’s a good man and won’t desert his friends in trouble. I believe them.

- Did you have a chance to discuss these issues with your son? Although, it must be hard with the glass between you and many ears listening to your conversation.

- No, we don’t discuss things like that.

- Did you tell him that Mikhail Khodorkovsky had been released or he already knew it?

- Yes, he had heard. The prison staff told him and he heard it on the radio. He simply said, “I am very happy for him and for his relatives”. Well, in general, we talked about our family. Anyway, nothing is clear yet. We were simply happy that Mikhail Borisovich has been released, what else? We saw the press conference, where Aleksei was mentioned, later. This, of course, really touched me.

- Was that through the glass again?

- Yes. We talked for four hours non-stop. He asked about everyone, about his sons and, first of all, about his grandsons, about all the family. He asked about everyone.

- What could be a scenario for his release, do you think?

- I don’t know. But the reasons why he was given such a sentence were explained very well by Kandaurov (Aleksei Kandaurov, retired general of KGB, the former Yukos employee - RS) He said it well and accurately: because he used to work for this agency and refused to follow their instructions to testify against Yukos, that’s why he got punished.

- To testify against Mikhail Borisovich, something that was very important for the investigation?

- Yes.

- And do you support the way your son dealt with this situation?

- Certainly! He’s got three sons and he wants to be their role model, and he is. They are proud of him and respect him and believe he did the right thing. He couldn’t have acted any other way!

- Did this meeting differ from previous meetings?

- Of course it did. He was very happy for Mikhail Borisovich, he also has some kind of hope now and he’s more cheerful, too. I am a mother and I understand. I had tears in my eyes when I watched Khodorkovsky’s reunion with his parents. Even now I get a lump in my throat thinking about it. Such joy! I congratulated them and said that we were very, very happy for them.

- Do you also talk to Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s mother?

- I do go to Korallovo and we meet at various celebrations in the school.

- Have many people called you and given you moral support since they found out that Khodorkovsky had been released, and when he mentioned that he wouldn’t desert his friends in trouble?

- Of course, there were very many calls! Aleksei told me that he sent 70 New Year cards to different parts of the country, to those who support him. They also try to call me and express their hope for a better future.

On 23 October 2012 the European Court of Human Rights held that one of Pichugin’s criminal prosecutions had been unlawful. The Court found that there had been violations of Article 6 (the right to fair trial) and Article 5 (the right to liberty and security of the person) of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

Source: Radio Svoboda

Translated by Olga Cable