Vasily Alexanyan Addresses the Supreme Court

Below is the exclusive English translation of the transcript of Vasily Alexanyan’s comments before Russia’s Supreme Court – an urgent matter reported on here at this blog and in other media (his last name is often spelled “Aleksanyan” and “Alexanian”). The former Yukos general counsel is literally dying in prison before the indifferent eyes of Russia’s prosecutors and judges, and this impassioned plea below is among the more incredible expressions of what has become of the Yukos case. – Editor


Russian oil executive Vasily Alexanian is seen on a video screen during a Supreme Court hearing in Moscow January 16, 2008. (Photo: Reuters)

Vasily Alexanyan’s testimony before the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation, Jan. 22, 2008 I’d like to add a few very important points. I beg your pardon for the cough. I want you to hear certain things from me that are of critical significance for understanding what is happening and for all these “patriot games” which, unfortunately, are costing me life and health.

The forensic [medical] examination report about which my defender Lvova spoke. Three months they worked on it; the Experts’ arms were being twisted. This is my opinion. Not a single forensic examination report takes three months to do. Especially given that all medical examinations and checks were over within the course of two weeks. On 22 November it was ready. It contains two mutually exclusive opinions. The first is that I can be kept in detention, but only if I am receiving HAART [highly active anti-retroviral therapy]. And those very same experts, [in response] to a direct question raised by the investigation, say: “but we can’t say whether it is possible to carry out HAART in a jail.” What kind of conclusion can be made from this? IT IS DIFFICULT FOR ME TO SPEAK.

On the 23rd they extended the term for me …it was not presented in court and never was presented in court, it was being concealed by the procuracy.“I would like to [word missing – “address”?] the insinuations with respect to refusal of treatment. Whoever is asserting this, I would like to let him have my body for 10 minutes, so he could experience the hellish torment I’m experiencing. Only a person bereft of reason could say something like that. So he’d be climbing the walls from the pain and no medicine would help him. Let him have enough of a conscience to look me in the eye. We tried to ascertain what problems there were with this HAART; this was news for everyone, what it even is. We ascertained that this is chemotherapy that threatens life in its own right. From the responses to our inquiries to MGC SPID [Moscow City Center for AIDS Prevention and Control] and from those instructions for the drugs that are used in this chemotherapy – “lethal outcome” is clearly written. Round-the-clock monitoring, there must be the capability for making blood transfusions, because of the dreadful effect it has on the liver, the blood, and the vital systems. I have an extremely rare blood type – IV positive [AB+]. A mass of requirements, which we ascertained.On 22 November, the procuracy realized that there were problems with Alexanyan. A big problem. Because there is just one illness that has a legal definition in the law – a fatal incurable disease. You’re men of law, after all! And we too are men of law – and we must take this into account. This is a sentence that can not be appealed. Death is not subject to appeal. And what happens next? I am prepared to answer for my every word that I am about to say.

Understanding full well that the preliminary investigation was found completely under the control of the procuracy then. And what happens? On 28 December 2006, under the pretext of familiarization with some kind of materials, they take me out to the building of the Procuracy-General.

I am explaining why I am still in jail, still locked up, dying here. And investigator Salavat Kunakbayevich Karimov personally – as it turned out he was then only preparing these new absurd charges against Khodorkovsky and Lebedev – offers me a deal. The lawyers are present right here. In front of them I was brought to him, we were left alone. He did not have a formal relation to my case, he said to me: the leadership of the Procuracy-General understands that you must have medical treatment, maybe even not in Russia, you have a grave situation. For a month already I’ve been in detention without treatment. Although the forensic [medical] examination report was on 22 November. And he says to me, we must have your testimony, because we can’t support those charges that we’re making against Khodorkovsky and Lebedev. If you give evidence that suits the investigation, then we’ll release you. And he offered me a concrete mechanism for this deal. You write me an application for me to transfer you to the IVS [Temporary Holding Isolator] on Petrovka 38 and investigators will work actively with you there for a week or two; apparently, conditions are better there, because this is the MVD [Ministry of Internal Affairs], and not GUIN – FSIN [Main Administration for the Execution of Punishments – Federal Service for the Execution of Punishments]. And when we get those indications [? probably “that evidence”] that will suit the leadership, we will exchange it, as he put it, signature-for-signature, i.e. I put a decree on changing the measure of restraint on the table for you, while you sign the interrogation record. In so doing, he was doing everything he could to persuade me to do this and was displaying the title pages of the interrogations of supposedly other persons who had agreed to help the investigation to me.In every manner possible, attempting to convince me that I have to do this. But I can’t perjure myself, I can not frame innocent people, I refused to do this. And I think that no matter how horrible my condition may be right now, the LORD will protect me, because I did not do this, I can not buy my life like that. What happened next?


Next they made the conditions of detention a lot worse for me. Here, this isolator, SIZO No. 99/1 – this is a special jail, it isn’t public at all, it’s quite a challenge to even find it. Not more than a hundred people are held there even at peak times, of federal subordination. They held me in cells like these! They still remember Beria and Abakumov! The mildew, and the fungus, and the staphylococcus there eat your skin alive. This despite the fact that people know that my immunity has been destroyed. These are fascists, plain and simple!


I ask that you hear me out. Please excuse me, Your Honour, this isn’t the first time I [stand] before the Supreme Court either, and every time I get diagnosed with one, two, three more diseases; how much can a person take?!In the month of April, investigator Khatypov – I’m naming names, because these people must one day be held responsible – says to my defender who is present here: Let him admit guilt, let him agree to the conditions and the procedure, and we’ll let him out. All this time, by the way, not only were they not prescribing medical treatment for me, they didn’t even want to take me out for repeat tests. This is torture, you understand, torture! Natural, legally authorized torture! I am refusing medical treatment! This is complete drivel! You’re now seeing me via television relay, apparently, in black-and-white depiction. If you were to see [me] right now in the courtroom, you would be horrified. On my face, I’ve got the tracks of the after-effects of those diseases that I’m carrying on me right now.In the month of April, another attempt – of course, a categorical refusal. Because they want to roll me though quickly and create a precedent out of me, collateral estoppel. We are men of law, we understand, by Article 90 of the CCP [Code of Criminal Procedure]. They don’t need to prove anything any more against Khodorkovsky and Lebedev, and the other managers.In the month of July a serious relapse began. For three weeks, every day I begged them to take me out to a doctor. But instead of this, they were even restricting me in the transmission of commonplace medicines to me, which reduce pain, pain shock. Do you understand what they were doing! The devil is in the details. [In] what I can tell you how the administration treated me in this jail, knowing that I am terminally ill. They tormented me with hunger, with cold, I slept with my clothes on for a year. Two degrees, three degrees [Celsius]. Water running down the walls. Mildew. This is the 21st century. What are you doing! Well, not you, but the authorities. What are you doing!

Only on 10 July did they formally let me sign this paper at the MGC SPID. And how is it that I was in jail for 7 months since November? On just what lawful grounds? Even if we accept this response of the experts, can be held exclusively on conditions of receiving HAART. But I, Your Honour, wrote – these documents exist, they’ve been presented to Europe, because there people read them, there people pay attention to this. I ask to provide me, please, with the opportunity to receive medical treatment. I wrote to the investigator. The investigator even was forced to admit that I’m not provided… and this paper too exists. That same Khatypov, that such conditions don’t exist. Provide, provide, provide. A cynical reply.

They’ve brought things to the point where even the doctors look upon me with horror. You know what these indices mean that Yelena Yulianovna read out. Over a million and 4%. That would be enough for two corpses. Over a hundred thousand and doctors are already tearing out their hair. I fly off the scale on his instrument there. Thank god that Taghiyev wrote that there’s no HAART and that this question is being dealt with. And it’s not being dealt with at all. Because nobody intends to treat me. Judge Fomin, when he extended [my term in detention], I had this feeling – and especially when the defence read out the decree to me – that if they’d brought him a clean sheet of paper, blank, he would have extended the term of detention for me. I think that in your life you have read dozens and hundreds and thousands of decrees, being of your level. What he wrote – this is revolting. Fabrication! A person who was simply looking [for something?]. Given that the investigator, as Dangyan rightly said, hadn’t given him anything. The task that he’s got is to keep me in jail. How can he misquote documents like that. He writes, in his decree, that he read the report of the panel of doctors, where is the written that [my] condition is unsatisfactory, that an aggravation of the stage of the illness has taken place. So he attaches a little memo that I supposedly can participate in court sessions.

Just in this time since I’ve been here, I’ve been diagnosed with another three serious diseases. Understand, this is instead of getting hospitalizing at MGC SPID. What’s the problem? But the problem turns out to be in the fact that when on 15 November they extended the term of detention for me, on 27 November investigator Tatiana Borisovna Rusanova – who has always been the closest assistant of Salavat Kunakbayevich Karimov, now an advisor to procurator-general Chaika, if anyone doesn’t know – showed up to see me. And she made me that same offer again, this time in the presence of one of my defenders, who is now found in the [court]room. Without any sense of shame. Testify and we will conduct yet another forensic medical examination and will release you from detention. These are criminals! And when the European Court issued its Indication – to hospitalize me immediately – she, leaving on a business trip, transmits to my lawyer through an investigator who comes to me. Investigator Yegorov, who says: the offer remains in force. They couldn’t care less about the European Court! They need to beat testimony out of me, because they need to be able to put on a real show trial. I say this here before the LORD, I can answer for every word. This is the truth. And here’s why they’re keeping me in jail, because when the investigator came out with the petition, it was these here people that are present here in the light-blue uniforms. “And you light-blue uniforms” [Lermontov, “Farewell to Unwashed Russia” (1841)]. 150 years have passed since the poet wrote this – nothing has changed. It finally got to them – oh my goodness! Release him? We can’t do that! Let’s squeeze him like a lemon. But I will not perjure myself. And I’m not going to lie. And I won’t frame innocent people; I do not know of any crimes whatsoever committed by the company YUKOS and its employees. This is all lies.

Nobody intended to give me medical treatment. I never refused medical treatment, I don’t have a death-wish. I repeat once again: whosoever asserts this [should] try even a part of the torments that I have endured here. Moving on. I have a dependent small child born in the year 2002. And I don’t want medical treatment?! Or I don’t want to live?! This is a lie. And I ask you to forget about these insinuations once and for all and to never use them. How many attempts I undertook to get this medical treatment – no. Everything boils down to one thing only.

And nobody has any intention to carry out the decision of the European Court and direct evidence of this is the behaviour that we are observing. And here’s what the main point is all about. You’re deceiving the courts, procurators. You come out with an extension [of the period for familiarization with the case materials] until 2 March, which doesn’t take place, because I can not, I am not in any condition to familiarize myself. And this is confirmed by documents irrefutably. After this you limit me [in the time allotted for familiarization] through that Basmanny court of yours that you’ve got in your pockets, until 15 January – who is it that you’ve deceived, then? Did you deceive Fomin? Or Me? Or does someone want to deceive you. A month and a half – on 15 January you limited. What did you ask for until 2 March. What, you didn’t know what kind of state I’m in? What kind of theatrical production is this, anyway? That’s what I ask [you] to evaluate. By signing this familiarization, it was like we’d given them an outright gift. Because the revolting basmannish decision of judge Karpov, which was adopted with such a quantity of violations, on the basis of forged medical “documents”, once again from isolator 77, has not entered into legal force. I filed a motion for them to open a criminal case against this doctor – Yelena Gennadievna Molokova – but she is now out on sick leave, for a whole month. By the way, this is the only infectious disease doctor in the jail where I’m held and she’s not here, and we’ve got no medical care here at all.


There were no grounds whatsoever for extending the term of detention; furthermore, if judge Fomin had a grasp of the actual circumstances that had unfolded by the moment when the investigator came out with the petition about this. He should unequivocally have denied [the petition] – who “set him straight” so that he did what he did is unknown. There is not a single lawful ground to hold me in jail in the decision. And his references that something someplace hasn’t changed, your honour – this is simply beyond all reason. How haven’t the circumstances changed? First, 2 years have passed, they’ve changed simply by default. Second, excuse me, but I was arrested on completely fabricated charges, in which was present the particularly grave Article 174 prime [174.1], which had been introduced into the CC [Criminal Code] as of 1 January 2002, while what are being imputed to me are events of the year 1998-1999. This too will need to be examined. The European Court, apparently, is going to examine. And that’s how they arrested me, to remove me from the company. And on 22 June, a day before the appointment of the new Procurator-General, this Article suddenly disappeared [from the charges], because this is a criminal offence to impute this Article to me. You yourself know the operation of a law in time. And a new Article appeared.JUDGE: respond to the question, what decision do you await from the Supreme Court.

I await from you a just and humane decision. I consider that holding me in detention in the current conditions and in the current state in which I’m found has no legal grounds – case closed. We have signed all the protocols. Only if one has the desire to finish me off behind bars. I see no other motives for holding me in those people who are initiating this and carrying it through. It was not possible for judge Fomin to satisfy such a petition. He did not have the right to do this. I don’t know any more if some kind of medicine is even going to help me with those problems that I caught here. I therefore consider that the Supreme Court has to figure out once and for all [and] give an appraisal with respect to each argument and repeal the decree of judge Fomin and release me from custody. That’s what kind of decision I await. I consider that extension [of the term of detention] is unlawful. I ask the SC to manifest…to show that there is justice in Russia, that Russian citizens don’t need to go dying on the steps of the European Court in order to attain any justice. That it can be attained here, in Moscow, in your [court]room, show this. How long can we go on paving the country with bones. My trial hasn’t even started yet, by the way, what kind of preliminary confinement is this. A mutilated person in jail for two years. Thank your for [your] attention…Before the supreme court also I …