Alla Pichugina, Aleksei Pichugin’s mother: «I cannot wait for him at all»
© Julia Saludanova
Aleksei Pichugin, former head of the Internal Economic Security Department of the oil company YUKOS, has been in custody since June 19, 2003. According to two sentences in 2005 and 2007, under articles 162 (robbery) and 105 (murder) he was sentenced to life imprisonment with serving a sentence in a special regime colony. In the course of the investigation and the trial there were numerous violations that make it possible to consider that Pichugins guilt has not been proven, and the evidence that served as the basis for the verdicts has been falsified. The European Court of Human Rights twice satisfied the complaints of the convict and recognized that the provisions of the Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms were violated during the examination of Aleksei Pichugins case. «Memorial» recognized Aleksei Pichugin as a political prisoner.
Tell us how Aleksei was in his childhood.
He was very kind and trustful. I always worried that he is very open. He was very good boy and always obedient. Teachers of Aleksei well remember him and still do not understand how he was hung such accusations. It is frightful to think. He had a goal since childhood to become a military man. When he entered the school, he was a little bit plumpish, he started running around the stadium that is located near the house, he was preparing hard. And he achieved his goal, he entered, I even went with him then, did not let him go to Novosibirsk alone. When he entered, I left, and he stayed there. I went to see him at the graduation school. I was proud of my son, he served well, was always in high esteem, he has a diploma and even a medal. Everything was fine before some events. 15 years have passed, but still in my head does not fit.
When did you last see Aleksei last time?
It was June 23. And now I will see him on December 23. Through the glass exactly 4 hours, do not allow to touch each other. For these four hours Im flying to Orenburg, I come the day before, talk and then fly back. I always go with some son of Aleksei. Now Im going with his eldest son, I already got tickets.
Do you often correspond?
I write to him very often, almost every other day. I am writing about everything about the sons, and about myself, and about all our relatives, so that he does not get bored to know that we are always with him, constantly. And the sons write, my sister writes, niece, everyone tries to support him. And how many people write to him people of all ages and from all cities send words of support. If you knew how many congratulations he gets on his birthday, now its New Years Eve he will receive many letters again. That is, not only we, relatives, but outsiders write to him. People understand that a person is innocent, whatever the courts say.
Whats his attitude?
Hes always right. He believes in justice and says, «I am innocent, and I will still go free». He believes that good will necessarily defeat evil. He has this feeling constantly, despite the fact that the Supreme Court upheld the verdict, but still he does not lose hope. It is also encouraging to me; I think that all the same everything will be decided positively. How, I do not know yet. The European Court twice has proved his unjust conviction. So what? The Supreme Court left everything as it was. On 19 It was 14 years and five months, as Aleksei was taken away. Already so many tears have been blown away for this time, I do not know how I still live, honestly.
What would you like to tell the mothers of other political prisoners?
These women, as a rule, have hope and there is a certain period. This should be appreciated. You know that after a certain period: in a year, in five years, in ten years your child will return home. In my case, life imprisonment, I do not have this hope. I generally cannot wait for it. If it was at least 20 years, it would be possible to receive a parole. Here parole is given in 25 years, he has not served another 15 years, only soon will be. You should wait a parole another ten years, and it is not known whether they will give or will not. And will I wait?
Text: Anna Revonenko, «Open Russia»