Team 29: 'Granddad' (Viktor Kudryavtsev) released from Lefortovo

posted 1 Oct 2019, 11:06 by Translation Service   [ updated 1 Oct 2019, 12:11 by Rights in Russia ]

28 September 2019

Hi, this is Katya Arenina

This letter will be short and wry. The main news this week (well, for us it was really cool news) is the release of our defence scientist Viktor Kudryavtsev of TsNIIMash (the Central Research Institute of Machine Building) from the Lefortovo detention centre.

Of course, it’s a very strange feeling when someone is released – he doesn’t know you at all, yet you have lived alongside his family for a year and thought of him every day. The family of 75-year-old Kudryavtsev call him granddad – even his wife Olga calls him that. We gradually started calling him that. Yesterday his lawyer Ivan Pavlov wrote in a chat ‘Our granddad is being released.’

Kudryavtsev, and all of us, have been waiting for over a year for this. He ended up in Lefortovo in July of last year, when some kind of spy shenanigans started up at TsNIIMash, where he had been working for over half a century. Since then, it seems, we have tried every possible method and means to get him out of there. There was even a petition (I don’t believe in petitions, but so be it) for his release, which was signed by more than 200,000 people, and protests, and open letters. These were purely legal actions – endless pleas to change the terms of his imprisonment, complaints to the European Court of Human Rights, the demand that the ECtHR take interim measures and finally transfer him to hospital.

Finally it came true: yesterday evening Kudryavtsev left the prison (up until the last moment we feared that something would go wrong – it was hard to believe anyway, and the authorities drew the process out, having originally promised to release him at 19.30 and in the event doing so only two hours later). Nevertheless, something human awakened in the investigator – at first he changed the terms of imprisonment not merely from detention to house arrest, but to a mere written undertaking not to leave the house, and then he released Kudryavtsev quicker – it had been thought that he would be released next week. His son met him at the door of the prison. It was all very touching. Watch the video: here Kudryavtsev speaks with his wife on the phone and says that he’s not hungry and there’s no need to feed him at home. He laughs, and his son laughs too.

Ivan Pavlov believes that the decision to release Kudryavtsev not to house arrest, but under written undertaking, might be a good sign – this measure isn’t often taken in espionage cases, and the cases in which this have happened previously ended either with acquittal or closure of the case. Well, I hope so!

The only sad thing is that Kudryavtsev’s health has declined significantly during his year in prison – apparently this was the decisive factor in favour of his release. I want to believe that, free, and under the care of doctors who are not controlled by the prison bloodsuckers, everything can be corrected. That everything can somehow be normal, or even good.

Rejoice and be sad with us.


Translated by Anna Bowles