Russian Dissident’s House Attacked


Andrei Nekrasov is a Russian documentary filmmaker whose work has often taken a sharply critical approach to the current government in Russia (including a Cannes-award winning doc on the Litvinenko case).  He’s been published several times on this blog, is a friend of Bob Amsterdam, and recently suffered the passing of his wife and co-producer Olga Konskaya.

A few days ago we heard that his home in Finland was broken into and violently vandalized – the second time such an incident has taken place.  There is fair reason to believe that the assault on the property is related to a new film he has coming out.  Anyways, without further ado, here is the brief note that Andrei sent us detailing the incident (which was also covered by the Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat).

Two years ago Multialan Kartano, my house in Eastern Finland wasbroken into and vandalised. Earlier that year I made a film for the BBCabout Alexander Litvinenko, an ex-KGB officer and Putin critic poisonedin London. The film was shown in many countries and I did not mince mywords in the many interviews I gave about the suspected murderers fromRussia. At the time of the burglary in Finland I was making anotherfilm on the subject, for the cinema, which was subsequently premieredin Cannes. So when I found the picture of Litvinenko on my bed in theransacked house I had reasons to connect the burglary to the worldfamous murder case. I had received other threats which were reported inthe media at the time.

Russian opposition figures and their property are often attacked inRussia, but it was shocking to be targeted outside Russia, in one ofthe safest countries in Europe. However compared to what happened to myfriend Litvinenko, murdered in central London, my predicament lookedpetty. Still, once I decided to repair the house the financialconsequences of the burglary turned out far reaching. But it was amatter of principle for me. I wouldn’t be scared away from the houseand the area I loved and wanted to become home for the rest of my life.So it is all the more tragic that Multiala has just been vandalisedagain.

Somebody broke in and smashed all the windows – 30! – and damagedthe walls inside. The criminals managed to disable the newly installedalarm system. I didn’t see the extent of the damage, the news caught mehopping from one plane to another in Germany, but I am now returning toFinland which I left just two days ago. The Litvinenko case though notofficially solved yet, may be becoming history, but there is unsettlingparallel to the events two years ago. I am finishing a film on theRussian-Georgian war and its historic context, highly critical ofRussia’s attitude towards its neighbours. I tried not to spread theinformation about the film, but Georgian TV aired a high profile reporton the film on the 7th of June, with repeats and news items to follow.And there is something which is very difficult for me to mention enpassant. The film’s co-director, my wife Olga Konskaya, died on the28th of May, trying to finish the film in a race against cancer, and itwas impossible not to mention her work in many tributes to her shortlife.

There is, at the moment, no proof that the people who have justplayed havoc with my beautiful historic house in Luumaki are Russianspunishing me for continuing to make “anti-Russian” films andstatements. In a way finding out that some Finns were capable of suchsenseless cruelty on their land would be even more shocking and shouldgive food for thought in Finnish society. But such is the track recordand psychology of some of my compatriots that I have to suspect themfirst. And I want them to know that I will not stop telling what Iconsider to be the truth. That is the task of a real patriot. Even ifhe has a house 50 km away from the Russian border. — Andrei Nekrasov