From his childhood Aleksey looked forward to a military career, so after leaving school in 1979 he entered Home Ministryís Higher Commander School in Novosibirsk.
Aleksey Pichugin graduated in 1983 and was sent to the Home Ministryís unit in Tula region.
In 1986 Aleksey Pichugin entered the KGBís School in Novosibirsk. He graduated from it successfully and started his work for State Security Department.
From 1987 to 1994 Aleksey Pichugin worked in the Administration of the KGBís Military Secret Service.
On the whole Aleksey Pichugin had given 15 years of his life to the protection of the state interests in the military forces and the Russian secret service. In 1994 after a number of reorganization efforts in state security Aleksey left the FSB being in the rank of Major.
On leaving the FSB Aleksey Pichugin joint the security service in the bank of «Menatep». In 1998 the bank of «Menatep» acquired the YuKOS oil company, and Aleksey Pichugin started to work for YuKOS. He became the head of a section within the security service.
Being the head of YuKOSís Internal Economical Security Department Aleksey Pichugin paid most attention to protecting companyís properties and preventing thieving and plunder in the companyís enterprises. The colleagues who used to work with Aleksey consider him to be a real professional and a stern but just superior.
Aleksey Pichugin is married. He has got three sons. In 2003 his youngest son Sergey was only 5.
Aleksey Pichugin was more than once rewarded for irreproachable service in the units of Home Ministry and the FSB of Russia.
The First Alexey Pichugin Case: Murder (?) Without Corpses
Alexey Pichugin was detained June 19, 2003, as a suspect in the murder of Tambov business people, Sergei and Olga Gorin. His arrest happened during a search of Pichuginís apartment performed by officers of the Russian Prosecutor Generalís Office, who were assisted by FSB officers. The search was performed in Pichuginís presence, but the chief investigator did not allow Pichuginís lawyers, who arrived 30 minutes after the start of the search, to be present there.
Taking into account the gravity of the charge, the Prosecutor Generalís Officeís «probative base» raises many questions. The bodies of the murdered people were absent, not everything is clear with the forensic results. The first investigation, performed in Tambov, stated that the blood found in the yard of the Gorinsí house belonged to some unknown thirds parties. And only a second examination of the blood samples, which was done much later in Moscow, revealed all of a sudden that the blood was supposedly Gorinsí. During the entire period of the investigation, more than 30 examinations were carried out. Very often Pichugin and his legal counsels got to know about orders to conduct an examination after the latter had already been completed. All expertsí statements regarding the case had been given to Pichugin and his lawyers only 8 to 10 days before the case investigation was over.
During the trial, the defense was not allowed to find out circumstances that would lead to the conclusion that Pichugin had not committed any crime. The court hearings were conducted behind closed doors, although not a single secret documents was read out there. It is very strange and unusual that the first jury, which was obviously inclined to give a «not guilty» verdict to the defendant, was dismissed. The members of the second jury, according to Pichugin and his lawyers, were under the influence of the Prosecutor Generalís office. This was indirectly confirmed by state prosecutor Kamil Kashayev, who let it slip at a press conference that the jury were brought to court by a special bus. The defense was not given the lists of those jurors, in violation with the law.
The prosecution concealed from the defense and jury that the main «witness» for the prosecution, named Korovnikov, was sentenced for life for 8 murders, 5 rape cases (including those involving minors), kidnapping, manufacturing of explosive devices, and other crimes.
In violation with Art. 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms («Prohibition of Torture»), while incarcerated at the FSB pre-trial detention center «Lefortovo,» Pichugin was July 14, 2003 handed over to two still unknown people, presumably FSB officers. In an interrogation room, they gave Pichugin an injection of some unknown substance, presumably of the so-called «serum of truth.» There is information that they used hypnotism against Pichugin. And then they «interrogated» him, while he was unconscious.
Pichugin was subjected to coercion and psychological pressure by these people, in order to be made to give self-slandering evidence, and information about the management of the oil company «YuKOS» that the FSB officers wanted. It must be stressed that the case is investigated by Russiaís Prosecutor Generalís Office, so involvement of employees of the FSB in the investigating activities is illegal.
Pichugin told his lawyers that about 2:30 pm he was brought to an office of the pre-trial detention and interrogation center of FSB, where he saw two FSB officers; a tape recorder was sitting on the window sill. He asked these people to name themselves and their positions, to which both said that at FSB they were dealing with economic crimes, but refused to give their last names. After that, they started to ask Pichugin questions about the substance of the crimes he was charged with, inquired about the YuKOS management as a whole, and Alexei Pichuginís superiors, in particular.
During the interrogation, the FSB officers offered Pichugin some coffee. At first he declined, but half an hour in he made a few sips of the coffee, after which he felt numbness in his legs, and his head was pounding. He does not remember what happened afterwards.
Pichugin came to about four to five hours later (at about 8:30 pm). He was brought back to his cell. Since he was not feeling well, Pichugin asked to call for a doctor, who took his blood pressure and said that it was normal. He was not given any medical assistance. After the interrogation, Pichugin discovered two injection marks (one on the interior part of the left elbow bend, and the other on his right hand between the thumb and the index finger).
Pichuginís lawyers tried on that day to get a visit with their client, but their solicitation was declined under the pretext that all interrogation rooms at the FSB pre-trial detention and interrogation center were occupied on that day.
Alexey Pichuginís mother and wife say that on the next day after the «interrogation» he was pale, very weak, looked sick.
Notwithstanding the demands of the lawyers, Yu.A. Burtovoy, head of the interrogation group and a Prosecutor Generalís Office interrogator for specially important cases, did not allow Alexei Pichuginís immediate medical checkup. Only later a doctor saw the prisoner and said she «did not find» any injection marks on his body. On March 30, 2005, Alexei Pichugin was convicted of arranging the Gorinsí murder and sentenced to 20 years of imprisonment at a strict security camp.
Alexey Pichugin became a «guilty» convict because he knew Gorin and worked for YuKOS.
At present, a complaint related to that case is filed with the European Court of Human Rights. The lawyers mentioned violation of Art. 3, 5 («Right to freedom and personal immunity»), and 6 («Right to a just and equitable trial») of the European Convention.
The Second Case: All Evidence of «Witnesses» for the Prosecution from Words of Third Parties
On August 6, 2007, Pyotr Shtunder, a justice of the Moscow City Court, sentenced Alexey Pichugin to a life imprisonment at a special security camp.
Within the framework of that case, Alexey Pichugin was charged with arranging murders in 1998 of Nefteyugansk Mayor Vladimir Petukhov and of Valentina Korneeva, director of the Moscow company Phoenix, as well as arranging in 1998 and 1999 assassination attempts against Evgeny Rybin, executive manager of East Petroleum Handels, an Austrian company. According to the state prosecution, Pichugin acted on commission from Leonid Nevzlin.
On August 17, 2006, the Moscow City Court had already convicted Pichugin of those crimes and sentenced him to 24 years of imprisonment. But the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation reversed that sentence and sent the case for a re-trial by a new composition of court. It is of note that although the Supreme Court vacated the verdict according to the defense complaints (the court enumerated many abuses of law revealed by the defense), but, nevertheless, specified the need to assign a stricter punishment to the defendant. Thus, according to the defense and Alexey Pichugin himself, the new trial from the very beginning was biased for the prosecution.
During the trial, Judge Shtunder brushed aside groundlessly those proofs which did not fit with the indictment. For example, the evidence of the convict Ovsyannikov was not taken into consideration; he stated that the investigators from the Prosecutor Generalís Office had forced him to give false evidence against Alexey Pichugin, exerting psychological and physical pressure. Ovsyannikov suffers from hydronephrosis and, according to the evidence of this witness at the trial, provision of medical aid to him depended directly on his giving confession necessary to the Prosecutor Generalís Office. The evidence of the witness Kondaurov, head of the analytical subdivisions at YuKOS and at the bank «MENATEP,» was ignored by the court. During the interrogation at the trial he stated that Alexey Pichugin had reported to Shestopalov, head of the Security Department, and could not get instructions from Leonid Nevzlin.
Justice Pyotr Shtunder rejected the defenseís petition for a handwriting review by an expert of the note with Evgeny Rybinís address, which the prosecution said had been written by Alexey Pichugin, although such an examination would help establish the truth. The principle «witnesses» for the prosecution, convicts Tsigelnik and Reshetnikov, gave evidence about Pichugin and Nevzlinís implication in the crimes based on the words of third parties, Gorin and Goritovsky. And it is now impossible to verify whether those had ever actually said the words ascribed to them (Goritovsky was killed, and Gorin disappeared together with his wife).
The place and time of the crimes are not specified. It is specified in the sentence that Alexey Pichugin committed them «in an unascertained place» and «at an unascertained time,» in collaboration with «unascertained parties from the YuKOS top management.»
The court did not take into consideration that Alexei Pichugin had no reasons for committing the crimes. The statement of the public prosecution that these crimes were advantageous for YuKOS does not find any confirmation in the files of the case, according to the defense lawyers.
On January 31, 2008, the Supreme Court threw out the defenseís appeal. So the life sentence took effect. On March 3, 2008, Alexey Pichugin was sent away to a detention facility for convicts sentenced for life, to the town of Sol-Iletsk.
Alexey Pichuginís «fault» is that he is an honest man who did not want to slander the YuKOS management.
On April 21, 2008, of at the court session of the Moscow City Court with regard to the case of the former top-manager of the YuKOS Leonid Nevzlin the witnesses for prosecution Gennady Tsygelnik and Evgeny Reshetnikov have refused their previous evidence. They have stated that they slandered Leonid Nevzlin and Alexey Pichugin under pressure of the investigation bodies in exchange for indulgences in term of imprisonment.
Gennady Tsygelnik and Evgeny Reshetnikov were the trump cards of the General Prosecutorís Office during the investigation and at court with regard to Alexei Pichuginís case. These were their words which formed the basis of the judgment of conviction, according to which Alexey Pichugin got long-life imprisonment in the high-security penal colony.
«I slandered Pichugin and Nevzlin at the request of the investigators from the General Prosecutorís Office Burtovoy, Bannikov, Zhebryakov and the police operative Smirnov. I closed a deal with Burtovoy on the 4-th of May, 2005, ó Tsygelnik informed the court. Ė I was promised a protection and a minimum term, but I got a maximum one». (Tsygelnik got 18 years of imprisonment in a colony of strict regime).
Gennady Tsygelnik has expained that in 2005 the investigator Yuri Burtovoy demonstrated him the video recording on which there had been recorded false Evgeny Reshetnikovís evidence against the YuKOS employees, and recommended him to act the same.
After that, Tsygelnik, according to him, began giving the evidence, needed for the General Prosecutorís Office.
Tsygelnik has told that the representatives of the General Prosecutorís Office called on him with instructions every time before the interrogation at court with regard to Pichuginís case. And also Ė with regard to Nevzlinís case on April 14, 2008.
As Tsygelnik has stated, indeed, he has known neither Alexey Pichugin, nor Leonid Nevzlin, and has heard of them for the first time only from the investigator Burtovoy.
Gennady Tsygelnik has stated that he decided to refuse the false evidence against the YuKOS employees, as the promises, given him within the limits of the «deal», the General Prosecutorís Office does not carry out.
The similar confession has been made also by Evgeny Reshetnikov. According to him, the investigator Burtovoy told that Leonid Nevzlin and Alexey Pichugin are allegedly the ordering parties of the crimes, and then he advised to give «true statements».