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    Zoya Svetova: Who is it, Mikhail Savitsky, conducting an interrogation of Aleksey Pichugin | 13 Jul 2016

    Otkrytaya Rossiya (Open Russia)According to Otkrytaya Rossiya information Aleksey Pichugin was interrogated by FSB investigator Mikhail Savitsky. Zoya Svetova tells what this high-profile «terrorist» case expert is known for.

    According to Alexey Pichugin’s lawyer Kseniya Kostromina who communicated this to Otkrytaya Rossiya on July 13, Pichugin was interrogated in the status of a witness. The lawyer Kostromina signed a pledge of secrecy and refused to disclose us the name of investigator interrogating him. She also said that the investigator did not say what case was a matter of Pichugins interrogation and Pichugin himself refused to provide testimony pursuant to the Article 51 of the Constitution. «Aleksey Vladimirovich Pichugins current position is as follows: he committed no crime and considers himself a victim of an unfair trial, as confirmed by the European Court, the decision of which was dismissed by the Supreme Court of Russia»,  said Kostromina after interrogation. According to her the interrogation lasted about an hour.

    According to Otkrytaya Rossiya information Pichugin was interrogated by the chief of the 3rd Division of FSB Investigation Department Mikhail Savitsky. Here’s what we know about the affairs, he was engaged in before.

    Mikhail Savitskys professional experience analysis shows that he specializes in the «terrorism» cases  especially those which are given important «state-level» value. He built his career based on the investigation of such cases.

    Savitsky started as major case investigator in the FSB Investigation Department of Russia. Even as a captain he investigated the case of explosions of houses in Moscow and Volgodonsk in 1999. In 2005 he was awarded a rank of major and investigated the case of attempted assassination of Senator Vladimir Slutsker. It was Savitsky who in April 1, 2005 interrogated the Colonel-General, retired former head of the Moscow FSB Anatoliy Trofimov as a witness, who worked as Savitskys assistant (nine days after the interrogation Trofimov was killed).

    In 2007 Savitsky was assigned another resonant case  attempted assassination of the head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov in Moscow on May 09, 2007. Charges were brought against two students residing in Moscow  Umar Batukayev and Ruslan Musayev,  and Chechnya resident Lors Khamiyev. Neither Batukaev, nor Musayev pleaded guilty. In April 2009, the jury found no fault of Batukayev and Musayev in attempted assassination of Kadyrov; Batukaev was sentenced to 5 years for possession of weapons, Ruslan Musayev was declared not guilty in full. Only Lors Khamiyev was sentenced to 8 years for the attempted assassination. «The case was fabricated completely, as confirmed by the jury verdict, which, in spite of the strong pressure exerted on them in the court, declared two of the three defendants not guilty»,  said the Batukayevs lawyer Murad Musayev.

    The lawyers specializing in terrorism cases note that despite all its external correctness Savitsky can be tough and cynical. „He’s a typical KGB man-climber,  says about him one of the Moscow lawyers.  He boasts with his connections in Chechnya, official business, he used to be out there. He doesnt like the arranged attorneys, like most of the FSB investigators, preferring own «pocket» attorneys".

    Savitsky has contacts not only in Chechnya, but also in South Ossetia. In January 2012, Savitsky, when he was a head of the 3rd Division of FSB Investigation Department of the Russian Federation, together with the operational group  «Alpha» soldiers and FSB investigators  went to Tskhinval to conduct a search of the head coach of the Russian free-style wrestling national team Dzambolat Tedeyev who supported Alla Dzhyoyev during the presidential elections in South Ossetia, who was an alternative candidate of Eduard Kokoity. Back then Tedeyev had his foreign passport confiscated and was brought him to Lefortovo prison for interrogation which, according to his lawyers, lasted for 5 hours.

    For the past two years the terrorists have become well sought not only in the North Caucasus, but in Crimea as well. And Colonel Savitsky is one engaged in this. He was in charge of the so-called Crimean case against Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov accused in preparing terrorist attacks on the peninsula. He was the one who «did not notice» the results of tortures inflicted to the accused.

    And it is this case in respect of which Colonel Savitsky at the beginning of June 2014 wanted to obtain the pledge of secrecy of the preliminary investigation from the right activists, members of the Public Monitoring Commission of Moscow, when we arrived with an inspection to Lefortovo detention facility. It was for the first time covering the eight-year period of our visits to Moscow prisons that we have faced with such a practice.

    Back then it was for the first and the last time when I saw Savitsky. A man entered the office of the deputy chief of Lefortovo detention facility about forty, wearing a gray jacket in a small strip and blue shirt with a colourful tie. He introduced himself: «Mikhail Savitsky, head of the 3rd Division of FSB Investigation Department of the Russian Federation. We have heard that you are going to visit Oleg Sentsov. You should not encroach upon the preliminary investigation data. After all, you may accidentally become aware of something that we would not want you to disclose»,  the Colonel instructed us.

    We refused to sign a pledge of secrecy explaining to the Colonel: the Law «On public control» contains the Article 20, which warns us already to keep the investigation secrecy confidential,  so we dont have to sign any additional pledge of secrecy.

    But Colonel Savitsky really needed to get this pledge of secrecy from us. He took out from the folder three printed investigation confidentiality statements, put them on the table and waited for us to sign.

    Film critic Dilyara Tasbulatova, PMC member, entered into controversy with Colonel. She knew Oleg Sentsov personally, met him at film festivals and was sure that he could not commit a terrorist attack, or even prepare it.

    «Can a film director be a terrorist?»  Tasbulatova complained. Colonel Savitsky told her confidently: «Of course, he can». And he added: «The arrested are facing up to 20 years in a colony with a strict regime». Back then, in June 2014, we did not know yet how Colonel Savitsky was right: North-Caucasian District Military Court sentenced Oleg Sentsov in August 2015 to 20 years in prison.

    Zoya Svetova, «Otkrytaya Rossiya»

  • 14 years behind bars without fair trial. What did Strasbourg rule in the case of Pichugin?
  • Zoya Svetova: Who is it, Mikhail Savitsky, conducting an interrogation of Aleksey Pichugin
  • Alexey Pichugin: «I wrote a motion to have a visit from my mother»
  • Statement of Igor Viacheslavovuch Sutyagin
  • Mikhail Khodorkovsky: «An innnocent man, Alexey Pichugin, is still behind bars»
  • The European Court of Human Rights. CASE OF PICHUGIN v. RUSSIA. Judgment
  • Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger about Alexey Pichugin case
  • Leonid Nevzlins interview about the «case»
  • The «Amnesty International» is anxious about Alexey Pichugins condition

  • Trial of vengeance

  • Journalist Valeriy Shiryaev on the first case of Aleksey Pichugin in his book «Trial of vengeance. The first victim of the YUKOS case»