Political Prisoner Mykola Karpiuk Gives Interview Behind Russian Bars
13 June, 2019
Ukrainian political prisoner Mykola Karpiuk in the Vladimir Central prison in Russia on June 10, 2019. Oleksiy Baranovskyi
A fabricated case led to an admission of guilt and a guilty verdict for two Ukranian citizens. Accused of killing Russian nationals in Chechnya in the 1990’s, Mykola Karpiuk and Stanislav Klykh have been serving sentences of 22.5 years and 20 years in Russian prisons since 2016. However, both have stated that their testimony was given under duress, i.e torture and threats against their families.

In the biggest prison in Russia, the ill-famed maximum-security Vladimir Central, Karpiuk answered Hromadske’s questions through a lawyer. The responses are published below.

“The new generation comes into power”

Until the end of the year, I have subscriptions to newspapers and magazines. Thanks to them I am able to find out information about events happening in Ukraine.

The results of the presidential election are in many ways logical. People are dissatisfied with the old politicians, a new generation that wants to see new faces has emerged.

From the team of [Volodymyr] Zelenskyy, I personally only know Oleksandr Danylyuk (former finance minister in the government of Volodymyr Groysman and current Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council, appointed on May 28 - ed. ). Well, let's see. Sasha can!

And yet, it seems to me, it is very important to conduct a dialogue within Ukrainian society. Relatively speaking, between Zelenskyy and Poroshenko, it is dangerous to overly polarize society, because without national unity it will be difficult to carry out effective reforms in the country.

I hope that in such difficult times for our country, the new formation of the parliament and the Presidential Administration will be able to find compromises for the future of Ukraine.

"The brutality of the separation from my family is unbearable"

I am calm about my destiny. I believe that they (the Russian Government) will either exchange me, or somehow they will release me, and if not, God will call me to him. My health is still doing well, but the brutality of the separation from my family is unbearable. Especially because, I can not participate in bringing up my son, Taras.

I understand that this year Ukraine has elections and Ukrainian politicians are not particularly concerned with us, but one should not forget about the fate of Ukrainians imprisoned in Russian prisons.

“I am grateful for the words of support”

Letters come to me from 16 countries, I counted them. From Ukraine, from Russia, Australia, America, Europe, and the Baltic countries. I am very grateful to everyone for the words of support, it helps a lot. Sorry, if I am not able to respond to everyone, I quickly run out of stamps. In order for me to respond via the electronic system (or Rosuznik system) – please order response forms.

I also want to express my admiration for those people who are picketing for the release of Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia, calling for the exchange of prisoners, thank you. You need to have great courage to lead such protests especially, in Moscow. And, of course, thanks to the Russian lawyers who protect our seamen and other political prisoners.

“In Russia they are only now learning to fight for their future”

In Russia, the cultural elite is being wiped out from the process of building a modern society. But a new generation is growing, which no longer wants to live like before, like in the Soviet Union. They are still just learning to fight for their future, but their time will come soon. This is a historical pattern of the development of events.

Ukrainians only just managed to free themselves from these shackles of the past. The Russian authorities have decided to treat man as a resource, but this is wrong. State for man, not man for the state.

Our criminal case was fabricated through torture, threats to family, in order to achieve "stars" and awards. But I have never been to Chechnya, never have committed these crimes, that I am accused of. And for them, any means are okay. Man is nothing to them.

“Ukrainian democracy passed the most important exam”

I am grateful to Petro Poroshenko for his work. I, like you, know about all of its pros and cons. But the fact that he calmly gave up power, strictly observing the procedures and deadlines, says that Ukrainian democracy has passed the most important exam – we have a turnover of power.

I was pleasantly surprised by the activities of the Ukrainian consular service for the protection of the rights of citizens of Ukraine. Not just us, (including Stanislav Klykh), but also other captives. And I hope that the Administration of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the new leadership in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, will continue to work on finding opportunities for our – all of us – return home as soon as possible.

/The interview specifically for Hromadske was recorded by Oleksiy Baranovskyi, the lawyer to Mykola Karpiuk