Now, Putin’s Goons simply Start Kidnapping

Other Russia reports:

A Russian journalist and activist in the industrial town of Tolyatti had her children taken from her by police without explanation on Tuesday the Forum.msk news site reports. It looks to be the latest of such cases where the confiscation of children by the police has been used to threaten or intimidate activists and oppositionists in Russia.

An article by the journalist, Galina Dmitrieva, had been published two days prior describing the situation in the AvtoVAZ automobile manufacturing plant. Then, on Tuesday at 1:30 pm, local police came to her home and said that since her children were living in unsanitary conditions, it was possible that they could be taken away.

While it was unclear what the police found to be objectionable in the article, it was certainly an issue of contention. Yury Korotkov, a fellow journalist working with Dmitrieva to cover problems in the AvtoVAZ plant, was with his colleague when the police visited her home. According to the news site, one officer took Korotkov aside and said directly: “Don’t mess with AvtoVAZ!”

The police told Dmitrieva that she should come to a local police department at 2:00 pm for a discussion to prevent her children from being taken away, but then demanded that the journalist hand over her childrens’ identity documents. And at 2:20 pm, a different set of police officers than those who originally visited Dmitrieva took away her children, three-year-old Nikita and six-year-old Alexandra. They gave no explanation whatsoever, not even the supposed sanitation issue.

Dmitrieva herself was also detained, without charge and with no explanation, for almost four hours, and according to reports on Wednesday is being continually denied access to her children.

Dmitrieva’s case is not the first in which police have taken children into custody as a means to pressure Russians who have been deemed undesireable to the state. Yevgeny Ivanov, leader of a trade union of General Motors workers in Russia, has been threatened by child custody services that his parental rights could be revoked. In the city of Dzerzhinsk, the local government attempted to take away the children of opposition activist Sergei Pchelintsev. Such tactics have even been used to threaten people who haven’t paid back debts owed to the state.

5 responses to “Now, Putin’s Goons simply Start Kidnapping

  1. They kidnapped thousands upon thousands of people already, you know. And thousands of them were either found dead or “disappeared”. Many women and children too.

    • They don’t consider Chechens to be people, just cockroaches to be exterminated. But they can’t deny this is a person.

      • That’s not only Chechens (or Ingushes, dozens of Dagestani nationalities, and so on).

        Natalya Estemirova was a Russian woman for example. Politkovskaya got kidnapped too:

        Politkovskaya has had some unpleasant tangles with the authorities in the past. In 2000 her life was threatened by a Russian police officer because she had spoken out about an individual being kidnapped; she was forced into hiding.
        In February 2001 there was worse to come. Accused of being a spy for Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev, the man who claims he masterminded Beslan, she was held in a pit for three days by the FSB without food or water.

        There was, of course, a certain amount of tittering among members of the public: he was behaving just like Stalin. Putin too was simultaneously “the friend of all children” and “the nation’s first pig-farmer”, “the best miner”, the “comrade of all athletes” and the “leading film-maker”…

        Why do I so dislike Putin? Because the years are passing. This summer it will be five since the second Chechen war was instigated. It shows no sign of ending. At that time the babies who were to be declared shaheeds [martyrs] were yet unborn, but all the murders of children since 1999 in bombardments and purges remain unsolved, uninvestigated by the institutions of law and order. The infanticides have never had to stand where they belong, in the dock; Putin, that great “friend of all children”, has never demanded that they should. The army continues to rampage in Chechnya as it was allowed to at the beginning of the war, as if its operations were being conducted on a training ground empty of people.

        This massacre of the innocents did not raise a storm in Russia. Not one television station broadcast images of the five little Chechens who had been slaughtered. The Minister of Defence did not resign. He is a personal friend of Putin and is even seen as a possible successor in 2008. The head of the air force was not sacked. The commander-in-chief himself made no speech of condolence. Around us, it was business as usual in the rest of the world…

        Why do I so dislike Putin? This is precisely why. I dislike him for a matter-of-factness worse than felony, for his cynicism, for his racism, for his lies, for the gas he used in the Nord-Ost siege, for the massacre of the innocents which went on throughout his first term as President.

        “Putin’s Russia” by Anna Politkovskaya (The Harvill Press, Random House), £8.99, supported by English Pen

  2. Fear of Corruption Charges Leads Most Russian Businessmen to Keep Money and Children Abroad, Expert Says

    Paul Goble

    Vienna, May 28 – Most Russian businessmen prefer to keep their money in offshore banks and their children at foreign schools lest the businessmen be charged with corruption and lose everything, a Moscow specialist on Russian elites says, just one of the ways in which Russian government policies are promoting short-term thinking and undermining development.
    Olga Kryshtanovskaya, the head of the Center for the Study of Elites at the Academy of Sciences Institute of Sociology, drew those and other conclusions during an interview with “Svobodnaya pressa” today on the basis of a survey of 25 leading Russian businessmen conducted by UBS and Camden Research (
    Those two firms, which conducted the study for “Vedomosti” which published the results in its edition today (, queried 25 Russians who own privately held businesses with annual turnover of 100 to 500 million US dollars in a broad range of fields.
    Among the more interesting results were the following: “72 percent are not considering the possibility of expansion abroad in the near future. But all except two are ready to sell their business for a good price and a little more than half are ready to do this in the next two to four years.”
    Moreover, “84 percent of them keep their money abroad,” with “the most popular countries being Cyprus, Switzerland, and the Virgin Islands.” And most seek to live modestly – “only two have yachts” – “in order not to attract heightened attention to themselves and their money” by the powers that be.
    In addition to keeping their money abroad, “Vedomosti” reports, most also prefer to “educate their children” there “but they try to ensure that their offspring will not lose their national identity,” although most of them do not expect their children to continue the businesses their parents have founded.
    “I don’t want to hand over to my children the difficulties and uncertainties which accompany the management of a big business in Russia,” one of those polled said. “In this country, it isn’t necessary to be an entrepreneur in order to become rich; it is simply necessary to get into the ruling circles: the bureaucrats make money.”
    Marko Naumann, the co-director of the UBS-Camden survey, said that “Russians often operate as serial businessmen, building one company after another, very much like the situation in the United States” but very different than the one in Europe where “family businesses” often passed down “from generation to generation” predominate.
    Moreover, he continued, “wealthy Russians often do not want to hand over their businesses to children because they are not certain that the latter will be able to run them successfully in unstable times” or be able to cope with corruption and bureaucracy. Consequently, these owners themselves seldom plan “more than two years ahead.”
    Commenting on these findings, Kryshtanovskaya, who has written widely on Russia’s new elites, said that they show the fear most Russian businessmen have that “something will happen with their money and that someone will grab onto and take away that which they have up until now managed to keep.”
    Asked about the political ambitions of a group that has such short-term views, the Moscow sociologist says that their collective views are “very, very weakly expressed,” a reflection of their relative youth as a social group and their lack of a sense that “we are a force in the country and we can unite and put pressure” on the government. “This doesn’t exist.”
    “There is,” she says, “a desire to strive toward that but there is also an absolute lack of faith in their own forces and a fear, a fear of the powers that be. [These business owners] understand that this is a danger zone. Therefore, in considering the relative weight of this ambition and the fear of losing everything, fear still wins out.”
    Until and unless the Kremlin can change that, not only encouraging Russian business owners to take a longer view about their own operations and to begin to feel their strength as a political group, all the talk about modernization is likely to remain just that, and both the money of Russian business owners and their children will continue to go abroad.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s