Ukrainian Political Prisoner Igor Dzhadan: New Ideologemes in Ukraine

The Kharkov doctor and publicist Igor Dzhadan was arrested in the spring of 2015 and left custody in the summer of this year after his measure of restraint was changed to bail. Little was known about his case for a long time. There were rumours that the doctor of Anti-Maidan was crippled during his detention. Only after the publication of the letter of the political prisoner to the Ukrainian Ombudsman in 2017 did many details of his case become clear…

Igor Dzhadan answered the questions of the “Rhythm of Eurasia” publication.

How did your criminal prosecution and your other misadventures begin?

“At first there were court hearings on a charge of mass riots in Kharkov on April 6th-8th, 2014. In parallel I continued to work as a doctor in a policlinic.

In the spring of 2015 the journalists of Komsomolskaya Pravda contacted me for an interview. By the anniversary of the Crimean events there was a publication. Interest was attracted by my article ‘Operation <Mechanical Orange>’ written for the ‘Russian Journal’ in 2008 (the author predicted much of what happened in Crimea in the spring of 2014).

A month passed. One day I was leaving the policlinic after an appointment, and several young strong guys grabbed me. They started to beat me and dragged me into a car. I resisted and demanded names: ‘You are the SBU?’ They were called ‘Right Sector‘. I believed it because they behaved like complete louts, they didn’t show any documents. ‘Now we will take you to the forest, we will kill you’. A bag was put on my head and I was taken to some basement. Further, it turned out that they were all SBU operatives. And it was a SBU basement, with a shooting gallery. There was a torture chamber.

They started to beat me. It was said that some weapons depot had been discovered. And they beat me for a long time with bats, demanding to admit that I was guilty. Then they saw that I had already fainted. I could’ve died without having said anything useful to them. This wasn’t in their plans. They carried me to the 4th hospital and placed me in intensive care under a false name. When I started to recover, I heard how behind the door a very aggressive young man tried to persuade the women to kill me.”

Health workers?

“Yes, they tried to persuade them to inject a drug that is used for anaesthesia and leads to the paralysis of the upper airways. They said: ‘And this is even the leader of a white movement (so he presented me). It is useless to trial him. He must only be killed’.

I, without thinking twice, unhooked myself from all the tubes and jumped out of the window. It was the second floor of intensive care. I understood that I won’t escape far. But if I am under a false name and am killed, then no one will ever know where I am or what’s wrong with me. The aim was to disrupt this program. I will be found, and I will give my name. I jumped out unsuccessfully: I broke my leg and fractured three vertebras.

I was picked up and carried to a sanitary inspection room – I gave my name. I said that I had been kidnapped by ‘Right Sector’. I was placed in another separate chamber that is protected by young people with pistols in civilian clothes.”

They were other persons?

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“Yes. They called themselves the town council’s militia. First of all I asked for communication with my family and a lawyer. But I was refused: ‘Take your time, everything will be fine. We will take you home soon’. They refused to introduce themselves. This lasted three weeks: On April 29th I was taken away, but only on May 21st was I taken to court so that a measure of restraint could be imposed on me. My family and my lawyer during all this time looked for me and couldn’t find me. And the SBU told them: we don’t know him. Subsequently it became clear that, like the young people who detained me, both all these visitors and the protection were from the SBU. The entire performance was staged by the SBU.”

What was the weapons depot you were talking about?

“It had allegedly been found at my place, along with a flag of Novorossiya hung on a wall. On April 29th, when I was captured, I had 3 keys on me. And they carried out a search on May 1st. It is obvious that, having used my keys, everything was planted there.

But there is more to come. Two weeks after the search my security guards withdrew somewhere. And I was left handcuffed to a bed, in plaster and in a corset … I already understood: something was going to happen. Half an hour later three young suspicious persons came. The faces of two of them were covered by headscarfs. And the third one was one of those guys who captured me. And he so boldly flicked a knife in front of me and said some threats. I said: ‘Well, three together, with a knife, against someone chained and broken you’re courageous’. They pulled out a grenade and plastic explosives from a backpack, and started to roll them in my fingers. I was chained, alone in the chamber, so shouting was useless.

I.e., on May 1st there was a search, grenades were ‘found‘. Subsequently I saw in the case papers that they sent these grenades for examination, then took them back on May 14th or 15th. They modified them (put them in my hands) and sent them again for examination.”

No one was going to take you home as promised?

“On May 20 I was found accidentally by my family. They were told that I can be taken away at any time, they agreed on the 21st. My family came, and I had already been taken away to court! I was given a state lawyer. Nobody listened to his arguments that I can’t be put in a pre-trial detention center. Without batting an eyelid, the judge Efremov looked at me lying on a stretcher: ‘Of course, detention, without the right to bail’. For a long time it was not wanted to put me in a pre-trial detention center: ‘How is it possible, why here in such a state?! Where can he flee to?’ But then I was taken, on short notice, obviously. I was sent to a medical unit. Moreover a red strip was added to the card: inclined to flee. And from this moment onwards, I was handcuffed all the time for four years – as someone inclined to flee. I long tried to find out who I was fleeing from and to where. Because I thought that I was fleeing from ‘Right Sector’ towards the police … I was told: ‘Well you all the same fled. This is inclination to flee’.”

What you were accused of?

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“I was initially charged, if I am not mistaken, under three articles. 258 Part 2 – commission of terrorist attacks. Allegedly I am involved in six explosions in the city. 263 – storage of weapons. And 110 – separatism. Around November 2015 an additional investigation was conducted: the homes of my parents and the relatives of my accomplices were repeatedly searched. A charge also of creating and managing a terrorist organisation (Article 258-3) was brought. And also of desecrating the national flag of Ukraine (Article 338). This is referring to an episode imputed to me concerning the explosion of a flagstaff. There is also a charge of damaging monuments and cultural values – this concerns the explosion of a UPA monument of imputed to me.”

And there was at least one explosion in Kharkov that wasn’t pinned on you?

“The explosion of the car belonging to the commander of some territorial battalion was imputed to me in the beginning. And then it became clear that this car was either appropriated from someone or stolen. And this charge was dismissed.

Were you offered some relief if you went along with the investigation?

“No, it wasn’t offered to me directly. Probably, because the answer was known in advance. It was offered indirectly. I.e., some offers were expected from me. But my offer, if it want to hear it, was: acquittal within two months – also don’t take me for a ride more.”

You left custody at the time of the parliamentary election. Did you feel any changes in the atmosphere?

“I perceive everything that is happening now as a political thaw. And the fact that I indeed started to be judged under the law and that laws (concerning an uncontested measure of restraint) were even softened is proof of the thaw. Earlier there was no talk about any option for my release, except in relation to a prisoner exchange.”

A thaw, but in the meantime the discriminatory caveman language law comes into force in Ukraine…

“In Ukraine an attempt is being made to tone down from above the form of nationalism that existed 100 years ago, at least. And, of course, nothing good will come of it. I can only say that these attempts are doomed to fail and can lead only to the definitive disintegration of Ukraine. It already, in fact, began.

The people try, via methods of centenary prescription, by fascist methods from the 1930’s, to instil something that contradicts reality. On the one hand, unrealisable hopes are instilled. And at the same time unrealisable ideologemes are instilled. They didn’t work in the 20th century. Why would they work in the 21st? It is incomprehensible! What do they want to do in Kharkov? That all of us start talking in Ukrainian? But it won’t happen. There is no such trend there. They try to make ethnic Ukrainians out of ethnic Russians. But there is no such thing in the world for more than 10 million people to be ethnically reforged.”

But these ideologemes are taking root, and the curators of the Kiev regime do not mind?

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“The people and the elites are inspired by the unreasonable ambitions of the state of Ukraine, which is almost a European superpower. Complete pipe dreams are instilled in the people. And then these people are angered by the fact that its expectations weren’t met, will take to the streets, and will start to destroy the government. Moreover, this is repeated with a frequency of once every ten years.

It seems to me that the couple of dozens of families that own 90% of the Ukrainian gross product have now completely lost touch with reality. And they only think about how to quickly grab more and flee somewhere. Responsible elites don’t behave like this, they doesn’t destroy the state in which they live.”

How do you assess the possible consequences of the sale of the Ukrainian land? The new government already speaks plainly about such a “prospect”.

“All of this is reminiscent of some liquidation commission to which the bankrupt firm (and in this case – a bankrupt state) has to sell itself to in parts more expensively. This is the level of thinking of the elites, acting by the principle ‘after us the deluge’. And the result of this sale is absolutely predictable. The money will run out again, and there simply won’t be other sources for the replenishment of the budget and the replenishment of pockets. It was decided to break open already the last piggy bank and savings that were the result of the work of the previous generations, to sell them under the hammer. And further, it is necessary only to pack up things and get away from here somewhere far away, to islands. It is clear that a new revolution awaits Ukraine in such a direction. I.e., a period of chaos, new disintegration, the loss of territories, and other things that follow revolutions.”

Vladimir Artemenko

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