Ilya Kapustin: “They Said They Could Break My Legs and Dump Me in the Woods”

“They Said They Could Break My Legs and Dump Me in the Woods.” Petersburger Ilya Kapustin Recounts How FSB Officers Tortured Him
Yegor Skovoroda

January 27, 2018

Traces of handcuffs on Ilya Kapustin’s hands. Photo courtesy of his attorney and Mediazona

This week, FSB officers searched the homes of several Petersburg antifascists and anarchists. The searches were authorized by order of a Penza court.  One of them, Arman Sagynbayev, had lived for a time in Petersburg. They were charged with involvement in a terrorist network (Russian Criminal Code Article 205.4).

On January 24, 23-year-old antifascist  was detained at Pulkovo Airport in Petersburg. The following day it transpired he had been remanded to police custody as the member of a terrorist network and had “confessed the suspicions about him.” Filinkov recounted that after he was detained he had been beaten and tortured with an electric cattle prod, presumably by FSB officers.

“Most of all I was shocked by the traces on the hips from the electric shocker (as Viktor assures me). During my long struggles against police lawlessness I have never seen such injuries, and I have over fifty torture and bullying convictions of police officers under my belt,” attorney Vitaly Cherkasov  on his Facebook page after visiting Filinkov in Petersburg’s Pretrial Detention Center No. 3.

On January 25, the security services searched at least two more flats. After one such visit, antifascist Igor Shiskin . Neither his loved ones nor his attorney have been able to find him. During her interrogation, Shishkin’s wife was asked about the movements or groups Network (Set) and November Fifth (5.11), and also asked whether she professed anarchist views. [TRR.]

Ilya Kapustin was seized by masked secret service officers on the evening of January 25. The young man says he was tortured with an electric cattle prod while being asked questions about an aquaintance of his in Petersburg who had recently been arrested, the anarchist movement, and Penza, a city Kapustin has never visted. Mediazona presents his firsthand account of torture, his interrogation as a witness, and the search conducted by officers from the FSB’s Petersburg and Leningrad Region Office.

••••••••••

It so happened I am acquainted with a person who was recently arrested in Petersburg. I am an industrial climber, and I knew him from work. I telephoned him with a job officer right when he was being detained, which definitely caused what happened.

When I was returning home in the evening and was quite close to my house, five or so men in black uniforms and masks attacked me from different directions. They pushed me on the ground and dragged me into a minivan while kicking me. I tried to call for help. I yelled, but to no avail. I was knocked down on the floor of the vehicle, and the men searched me while continuing to kick me. I was handcuffed me very tightly, so tightly I still have cuts on my hands.

The vehicle drove off, and I was interrogated. When I did not know the answer to a question, when I did not understand who or what they were talking about, they shocked me with an electric cattle prod near my groin or the side of my stomach. They shocked me so I would say some acquaintance of mine or another was planning to do something dangerous. There were questions about whether I was a member of certain organizations, where I had traveled, and whether I had been to Penza. They asked me to tell them details about the lives of my acquaintances.

So, from time to time they poked me with the shocker. At some point, one of them said they could dump me in the woods somewhere and break my legs. I was looking forward to this moment when it would all be over, because they had tortured me for such a long time it was quite unbearable. 


Traces of electric shock on Ilya Kapustin’s body. Photo courtesy of his attorney and Mediazona

I was in the vehicle from roughly nine-thirty in the evening to one-thirty in the morning, when we arrived, apparently at an FSB office. When they took me out, they pulled a hood over my head and forced me to look down, and I could not figure out where we were, but later, when they took me home to search my flat, I guessed that it was a corner on Shpalernaya Street of the FSB building [whose main entrance is on Liteiny Avenue in downtown Petersburg—TRR]. I saw just as many secret service people in the office, only they were not wearing and were dressed in plain clothes. An investigator questioned me for something like an hour. Other secret service guys would sometimes stop by. One of them told me that if I did not want a second round, I should answer all the questions.

Then we went to the flat where we live, and there they let us read a search warrant issued by a court in Penza. During the search, I refused to switch on my laptop and telephone. That made them act very stridently. They threatened to hide a grenade and come back in a couple of days and find it in a search. Ultimately, they confiscated my laptop, telephone, and hard drive.

When they left, I went to the emergency room and documented the fact I had been beaten. I was issued a certificate in which all my injuries are listed. I am now looking for a lawyer to file a complaint. I am not mixed up in anything, but out of the blue I was tortured for several hours.

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Breaking Bad with the FSB

The FSB Breaks Left

A second anarchist from the mythical organization Network (Set) has been remanded to police custody at the request of counterintelligence. Viktor Filinkov and Igor Shiskin are suspected of planning an armed insurrection to seize power

Alexander Yermakov

January 27, 2018

The purge of the anarchist movement in Petersburg is due to no more and no less than alleged plans to violently overthrow Vladimir Putin. This is the background the FSB has invoked as it has arrested the young men. They are accused of involvement in a terrorist association about which the courts, the Justice Ministry, and the National Anti-Terrorist Committee have never heard. 

 was sent to the pretrial detention center on Shpalernaya Street in Petersburg on the evening of January 27. He was detained two days earlier by FSB officers, taken to their regional headquarters on Liteiny Prospect, and interrogated for nearly twenty-four hours, except for short breaks. His interrogators focused on Shishkin’s involvement in the anarchist movement and alleged plans for violent acts whose objective was overthrowing the current government via an armed insurrection.

As someone suspected of involvement in a terrorist network (Criminal Code Article 205.4 Part 2), the 26-year-old Shishkin was detained only this morning. After Petersburg’s Dzerzhinsky District made its ruling, he joined , a 23-year-old programmer and Kazakhstani national, who had been remanded to police custody a day earlier, in the pretrial detention center.

According to police investigators, Shiskin, Filinkov, and unidentified persons who espoused the anarchist ideology were involved, allegedly, in the so-called Field of Mars (aka Mars) branch of the terrorist organization Network no later than August 2016. Their purpose was to plan crimes and engage in terrorist activists that the Criminal Code defines quite clearly: the violent seizure of power and armed insurrection.

There is no mention of Network (Set) on the web, unless, of course, you do not count  set up by the pro-Kremlin youth organization . You will also not be able to find Network in official documents. The , as established by court rulings, contains twenty-seven organizations, including foreign and international organizations, but you will not find Network on the list, a list that is published, in particular, on the websites of the FSB and the National Anti-Terrorist Committee.

Fontanka.ru has learned that the Petersburg anarchists were detained due to possible links with the failed albeit highly publicized “revolution of November 5, 2017,” as promised by , leader of the banned movement Artillery Barrage (Artpodgotovka).

Residents of Russian cities were urged to engage in mass protests. Most of the oppositionists were detained preventively two days before the event. The day passed peacefully in Petersburg, except for the  of a pacifist in a car chockablock with weapons, and a small gathering near the Smolny, Petersburg city hall. Five people were given jail time for not complying with lawful orders of the police: they refused to show police officers the contents of their bags.

Maltsev himself lives abroad, where he has been granted political asylum, but a wave of detentions has rolled across Russian cities. Among others, the Petersburg native Arman Sagynbayev was arrested in Penza. According to the human rights website , Sagynbayev has also been charged with involvement in a terrorist organization. He has, allegedly, made a full confession.

According to our information, FSB officers asked Shiskin and Filinkov whether they knew Sagynbayev. Attorney Igor Mangilev, who has been representing Shishkin, corroborated that a transcript of Sagynbayev’s interrogation was included in the case file used at his client’s remand hearing.  According to other sources, Filinkov and his wife Alexandra, who is currently located in Ukraine, met Sagynbayev around a year ago, in  early 2017.

Criminal charges were filed against Filinkov and Shishkin on January 24, 2018. The case file contains testimony from a large number of witnesses, many of whom are classified.

The media have reported that the FSB managed to chat with another supporter of leftist views [sic], Igor Kapustin. Apparently, he was also interrogated and then released. He has told the press about the threats made by investigators.

Documented proof that the FSB used prohibited methods to pressure a suspect or witness in the case is available only with regard to Filinkov. He was detained on the evening of January 23 at Pulkovo Airport, and was identified formally as a suspect in the case around midnight on January 24. For over a day, he was in the hands of the FSB without any outside oversight. Yesterday, January 26, Filinkov was visited in the pretrial detention center by members of the Public Monitoring Commission, who filed a report substantianting numerous recent injuries to Filinkov’s body, including .  Filinkov confirmed in writing that he had been subjected to violence, and that FSB officers had demanded he memorize his testimony and the names of people whom he, allegedly, knew. Attorney Viktor Cherkasov confirmed to Fontanka.ru that his client was forced to confess his involvement with the Field of Mars branch of the terrorist organization Network.

Filinkov and Shiskin have been remanded to police custody until March 23, 2018. In all likelihood, theirs will not be the last names on the list of Petersburg “Networkers.” According to our sources, the FSB has possession of electronic media [sic] that Filinkov tossed in trash containers before heading to Pulkovo Airport.

As for Vyacheslav Maltsev, the criminal case against him has been . He has been named as the organizer of a terrorist network (Criminal Code Article 205.4 Clause 1) and has been accused of pubicly calling for extremist activity (Criminal Code Article 280). Several suspects in his case have been charged with planning a terrorist act.

NB. Although Fontanka.ru has long been Petersburg’s most popular news website (or, at least, it has long claimed to be), the foreign reader should bear in mind that its founders, publishers, and editors have backgrounds in military intelligence and the Soviet and Russian police’s criminal investigative divisions. While this has no doubt come in handy over the years and permitted the website’s reporters to do what the name of its founding organization (AZhUR or Investigative Reporting Agency) suggests, there are other times when it is not clear whether Fontanka.ru believes the mallarkey which Russia’s so-called  are capable of spinning from whole cloth or whether it is mocking their incompetence. In this article, Fontanka.ru seems to want to have its cake and eat it, too. They seem to suggest that the FSB has invented a nonexistent terrorist network from scratch while at the same hinting that the FSB has plenty of evidence the young men so far arrested in the case were actually involved in this nonexistent organization. Even a local reader with average intelligence and a healthy amount of skepticism would find this story and how it is reported by Fontanka.ru perplexing, to say the least. TRR

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Support anarchist and antifa prisoners in St.Petersburg!

Fundraising for lawyers working on cases about police raids and arrests of anarchists and antifascists in St. Petersburg ans Penza, Russia has begun. At the moment 2 people in St. Petersburg and 5 people in Penza are arrested, more are connected to the case as witnesses. Continuation of raids and repressions is highly possible. They are charged with 2 of Art. 205.4 of russian Criminal Code (participation in terrorist community) at the request of court from Penza.

On January 23 on the way to Pulkovo Airport the Federal Security Service (FSB) detained Victor Filinkov. In order to get the testimony he was beaten up and tortured with electric shocks in the wood. Signs of torture were confirmed by the Filinkov’s lawyer and members of the Public Monitoring Commission (ONK) who have visited him in the pre-trial detention center. Filinkov is arrested for two months.

On January 25 the FSB came unexpectedly with a raid to Igor Shishkin’s apartment. After the raid neither his lawyer, nor members of Public Monitoring Commission were unable to find Igor for more than a day. On January 27 Igor with signs of a beating was brought to a court session where he was arrested in Pre-trial Detention Center for two months. Journalists were not allowed to attend the hearing and evenmore two of them were arrested.

Tortures were also applied to witnesses. Ilya Kapustin was beaten up and tortured with electric shock while police demanded him to give testimony that some of his acquantances are up to “something dangerous”. Numerous traces of the stun gun usage were recorded later by health service.

Legal help is necessary for prisoners (whose number can increase) and witnesses. So far it is early to speak about the certain amount of money, but it will be at least 200 thousand rubles for work of lawyers in the next months.

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Anarchist Black Cross St.Petersburg

Arrests and searches in regard to anarchists and antifascists in St.Petersburg

On January 23 antifascists Viktor Filinkov was kidnapped at the airport in St. Petersburg and was found two days later in a special detention facility of FSB. He claimed to have been tortured by masked police and forced to give evidence in a terrorist case against himself.

On January 25 another activist, Igor Shishkin, was detained while walking a dog. His house was searched, as his wife said to OVD-Info.

Shishkin’s wife was taken to the interrogation in the FSB. She was asked
about some “Network” and 5.11.2017 (the date of some opposition protest after which a lot of people got criminal charges), and also asked whether she shared anarchist views and whether she knows particular people under nicknames. After that, his wife was released.

Shishkin’s lawyer was told that Igor had not been sent to the FSB. It is
unknown where the detainee is now.

In the night of January 26 in St. Petersburg, another search was carried out
in an antifascist’s apartment. FSB officers seized the equipment and
detained one person. Later this person, Ilya Kapustin, was released and stated that he was tortured, too.

Activists fear that searches can be carried out among all anti-fascists who are in the base of the Center for Combating Extremism. The case is connected to the previous arrests in Penza in late October 2017, where 5 out of 6 people allegedly admitted their guilt in charges of forming a terrorist group. One of these people’s name is Arman Sagynbayev.

Anti-fascist arrested with regard to case on terrorism, informed about tortures

Antifascist Viktor Filinkov, accused of participation in the terrorist community, was tortured. This follows from the conclusion of the Public Monitoring Commission of St. Petersburg (body controling observance of human rights in detention facilities), which visited a young man in SIZO-3 (detention center) . The conclusion is available at the editors of OVD-Info.
Commission members recorded numerous traces of burns from a Taser in the chest area, as well as across the entire surface of the right thigh and hematoma on the right ankle. According to Filinkov, he had received these injuries on January 24 in a car (blue Volkswagen), in which he was put by FSB officers after being detained at the Pulkovo airport. From there he was taken to the police department of the Krasnogvardeysky district, and then to hospital No. 26.
From the hospital, Filinkov was taken into the forests, where masked people beat him for five hours. During the beating, FSB officers demanded from Filinkov to confess. After he agreed, they forced him to learn precise formulations. Filinkov was threatened that this beating to be “an easy version of what will happen next” if he refused. This words of the activist mentioned in the conclusion  of the Public Monitoring Commission (PMC). Masked people were saying only “Stay quiet!” and “Don’t yell!”.
Filinkov wrote explanatory notes to the Ministry of Internal Affairs (police) and the FSB, where he gave the learned “testimonies”. As stated in the commission’s document, the young man was threatened if he retract this testimony, he will be placed in a cell with  prisoners suffer from tuberculosis.
Then Filinkov was transferred to another car – Lada Priora – and delivered to the Regional Office of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. As explained by arrested activist, people in masks were well -oriented in the building, and discussed that they “need to close their face, because of video-cameras”.
After all, he was taken to search of apartment where he lived with his neighbor. The neighbor was also threatened, that “everything will be all right” if he tell “what he knows”. Filinkov has very noticeable red handcuff marks on his hands, stated in the conclusion of the PMC members.
Blood was wiped off from the beaten activist with snow and his hat, that remained with the young man. Members of the PMC printed blood traces from the hat on the interview notes.
  • On January 23, Viktor Filinkov disappeared on his way to the Pulkovo airport. His wife suspected that he could be detained by secret services. A few months ago, they thought they were being watched.
  • On January 25, the Dzerzhinsky District Court of St. Petersburg arrested Filinkov for two months. He is suspected of participation in the terrorist community (Part 2 of Article 205.4 of the Criminal Code). According to the investigation, “Filinkov and other unidentified persons, sharing the anarchist ideology, took part in the division of the terrorist community in order to carry out terrorist activities, propaganda, justification and support of terrorism.” The report says that the left activist made confessions.

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You can write letters to Viktor:

Filinkov Viktor Sergeyevich, 1994

SIZO-3 ul. Shpalernaya 25, St. Petersburg, 191123 RUSSIA

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