“This is a public execution”: Russian activist Anastasia Shevchenko on a year of house arrest

How did you take the decision to put you under house arrest?

It was quite a happy moment. Because before that the court officers had said that, given the security measures they’d applied to me, I’d probably go to investigative detention. Before the hearing, I’d been put in a cell in the court building basement – there was a CCTV camera opposite me, as well as a guard so that I couldn’t escape. The court officers joked: “What have they charged you with? Cannibalism? Are you a serious criminal?”

What was the first week under arrest like?

On the whole, I had problems with the children (my daughter Vlada was 14, my son Misha – seven). They didn’t know how to get to school from the new apartment. Then I had another child in a home [Alina, 18, was in a care home for children with intellectual disabilities], who I had to visit that same week I was imprisoned. The second week I was under arrest, Alina was put in hospital – that meant that I absolutely had to be there. The care workers don’t look after her when she’s in hospital, and the child couldn’t eat solid food, her diapers had to be changed, she had to be kept in certain poses, not everyone can handle that.

I thought that they would let me go, they couldn’t be so cruel. I showed the judge, Andrey Ishchenko, very clearly that my child was 18 years old, but she’s very small, she doesn’t recognise anyone, she has problems with her lungs, she’s in pain, she’s in hospital alone. But he refused everything.

The next day I was charged, and I attended interrogation with my lawyer, and only after did I find out what Alina was in intensive care. The investigator, it seems, understood that it was serious and let me go, but they didn’t make the decision until eight in thevening. I took Alina some food, but I didn’t have time to feed her. Last month I saw what the doctor wrote: during my interrogation, Alina’s heart stopped twice.

After your daughter died, people’s opinions were divided – some said that the “Putin regime” killed Alina, others said that it just happened, the time had come. Do you think that someone is responsible for what happened? Are you angry?

I don’t think she died because we have this regime in Russia. Although, as a factor, of course, it’s possible – we had no medical help, equipment, you can’t even have her at home. But i’m really angry at Judge Ishchenko, because kids should not die alone. Even if her time had come. The fact that she died alone – this is all the fault of the judge who didn’t let me go.

At some point did you realise that house arrest is still arrest?

The first month after Alina died, I didn’t have any desire to go outside. I didn’t want to speak to anyone or prove anything. I only experienced all the pleasures of arrest in March-April, because you don’t want to sit at home in spring.

I was a very active person before arrest, so living locked up was difficult for me. And my new apartment was directly opposite the Investigative Committee building – you get up in the morning to drink coffee and you see your investigator going to work, you look out the window in the evening and see how he’s going home. This extra reminder was unpleasant.

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Nina Kobzeva | Radio Free (2021-09-18T20:11:47+00:00) » “This is a public execution”: Russian activist Anastasia Shevchenko on a year of house arrest. Retrieved from https://www.radiofree.org/2020/03/17/this-is-a-public-execution-russian-activist-anastasia-shevchenko-on-a-year-of-house-arrest/.
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" » “This is a public execution”: Russian activist Anastasia Shevchenko on a year of house arrest." Nina Kobzeva | Radio Free [Online]. Available: https://www.radiofree.org/2020/03/17/this-is-a-public-execution-russian-activist-anastasia-shevchenko-on-a-year-of-house-arrest/. [Accessed: 2021-09-18T20:11:47+00:00]
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» “This is a public execution”: Russian activist Anastasia Shevchenko on a year of house arrest | Nina Kobzeva | Radio Free | https://www.radiofree.org/2020/03/17/this-is-a-public-execution-russian-activist-anastasia-shevchenko-on-a-year-of-house-arrest/ | 2021-09-18T20:11:47+00:00
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