Ukraine’s December 27 prisoner exchange with the Russia-led separatists of the self-proclaimed “Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics” has revealed new information about the whereabouts of Stanislav Aseev, a journalist and blogger imprisoned for his work in occupied Donetsk.
Aseev is being held at the old Izolyatsia factory in Donetsk, where the “Donetsk People’s Republic” (DPR) keep prisoners, according to Igor Kozlovsky, a professor of religious studies who was freed in the prisoner exchange.
The factory is “something like a prison” or a “concentration camp” controlled by the separatist “Ministry of State Security,” Kozlovsky told Hromadske. And it is just one of many. According to the professor, many basements in occupied Donetsk have been converted into prisons. Some are not even publicly known.
“We probably don’t know where everyone is being held, but we are following the fate of Aseev,” Kozlovsky said. “He’s one of my [former] students.”
Photo credit: Yegor Firsov
For several years, Aseev wrote articles about life inside the “DPR” for pro-Kyiv publications. He published all his texts under the pseudonym “Stanislav Vasin” and took extensive security measures to remain undetected.
“Everyone who knew him told him: ‘Stas, this won’t end well,’” Yegor Firsov, a former Ukrainian parliamentarian and one of Aseev’s friends, told Hromadske last year. “He understood that. But he considered it his mission, his duty to stay in that territory and describe the events that were happening there.”
READ MORE: A Journalist Disappears in Occupied Donetsk
On June 3, 2017, the Aseev disappeared with hardly a trace. Nearly six weeks later, the DPR confirmed his detention to his mother. The separatists charged Aseev with espionage. He was not included in the December 27 prisoner exchange and, thus, remains in “DPR” custody.
Izolyatsia was a Donetsk-based art center housed in a Soviet-era factory. In June 2014, the separatists occupied the premises, and the Izolyatsia organization fled to Kyiv.
/By Matthew Kupfer