Viktor Filinkov’s Speech in Court on 4 June 2019 While Recording a Voice Sample (The Court Could Not Interrupt the Defendant for Ten Minutes)
Viktor Filinkov: When I was tortured . . . Well, it was unexpected, of course. It was nothing like in the movies. There was no time to think or laugh like some superheroes do or anything like that: you’re just screaming in pain. You’re in a terrible state, in fact. I’ve never experienced anything like it.
Yes, I’d been shocked when touching an electrical socket or a telephone wire, and when licking a battery. But it’s a completely different sensation when you’ve been shocked with a stun gun. They were beating me at the same time, but I didn’t feel it at all, except for the blows to my head. When they hit me in the head, my vision went a little white. My eyes were mostly closed, because I had a cap pulled over my face, but I saw white when they hit me in the head.
When they twisted my arms or something like that, I didn’t feel anything at all. On the other hand, if you’re riding in the back seat of a car with your hands cuffed behind your back like this—like when they later took me to see a psychologist—your shoulders and joints start hurting really bad after the first hour or so. By the second hour, it’s completely unbearable. You’re wriggling and fidgeting the whole time because the pain is so unbearable.
I was tortured for around four hours, and although my hands were behind my back the entire time, I felt no pain at all in my shoulders. In fact, I felt no pain at all because my whole body hurt. When your whole body hurts, you can’t single out a specific part that hurts more. The burns from the electrical shocks didn’t hurt—they hurt only the next day or so—meaning the pain spreads out over your whole body. It feels like everything hurts, although they’re hitting and shocking you in very specific places.
I don’t even know where the shocks hurt the most. They shocked me in different places, mainly my feet, the shocks to my feet were the longest. And to the chest as well. I could twist my wrists, and work my neck a bit, but I think it didn’t matter where they shocked me: the shocks were quite painful. When they press the stun gun to your foot, it’s like you lose yourself completely. It’s as if you disappear—only the pain remains.
Recording Technician Volkov: Maybe you could talk about something more pleasant.
Filinkov (smiling): There was nothing pleasant about it.
Volkov: Not this instance, necessarily. Maybe some memorable instances from childhood.
Filinkov: Hmm… Memorable instances from childhood. It depends what you mean by childhood.
Volkov: Okay, then, what do you miss right now?
Filinkov: My wife—I miss my wife a lot. I love her very much. When they were torturing me, a field agent asked me why I was with my wife. I screamed that I loved her. They were shocking me, but I still screamed that I loved her. They would yell at me, “Why are you with her? Confess!” I would yell that I loved her, and they would give me a shock for saying so. This went on for a while. It was probably one of the most humiliating parts of the whole thing.
No, there was another one. They would ask me who my wife associated with—shocking me as they asked, of course—and I tried to remember who she associated with. I would reply that she had many acquaintances, but didn’t know who she associated with. I didn’t know that many people, especially my wife’s acquaintances. And they would say to me, “She’s getting fucked. Didn’t you know that?” The whole thing was just awful. And there were lots of questions like that… Apparently, it was a way of catching me out.
It was also a way of turning me against everyone. You realize that the people who are torturing you are the guilty one, but they try to put the blame on someone else. So, they would tell me about my “pal” Boyarshinov: I didn’t know who Boyarshinov was then. They would say, “That guy Yuri,” and try to explain he’d been going to plant a bomb to kill people. Under those circumstances I really believed “Yuri” (Yuli) Boyarshinov had gone to plant a bomb. They were really persuasive.
They also told me other people had wanted to kill people. Like Arman Sagynbayev: they said he wanted to make an explosive called ammonal. They knew I didn’t know that he had the ingredients, but I had to teach them a lesson. Then I cheated a little: when they asked me what they had found in Sagynbayev’s closet, I said they had found only aluminum powder. They didn’t specify that I was also supposed to say there had been saltpeter there as well. They kept saying, “A barrel! A barrel of powder!” The fact that it was a barrel was important, apparently. I never saw it.
They also said, of course, that everyone was ready to dish on me, and told me what would happen if I didn’t sign the interrogation report.
In fact, their threats were completely meaningless. I was completely broken after ten minutes of torture, but the threats continued for another twenty or twenty-five hours or however long I was there. It was a very long time. All the threats—that they would kill me there or put me in a cell with tuberculosis-infected prisoners or the SWAT team would take me to Penza—were pointless.
The SWAT team business was a trick. They told me a SWAT team would take me to Penza, where I would be in a line-up. All [of the other defendants] would identity me, point their fingers at me, and then I would go back [to Petersburg]. Besides the driver, there would be two SWAT officers in the vehicle. They would take turns sleeping, but I wouldn’t be able to sleep, and there wouldn’t be any water. The FSB agents would wonder aloud how long a person could last without water. The whole thing was completely pointless. I would have signed the interrogation report in any case.
It wasn’t like they said, “Here, sign it,” and I said, “No, I won’t sign it. Go to hell!” and they were like, “Oh yeah? We’ll show you.” It was just a prelude to everything they did. Just a prelude. Violence is seemingly the basis of their work. I later learned those guys in masks were from [the FSB’s] “Hail” SWAT team. When they escort someone in handcuffs, they drag him in different directions. I would say, “Hang on! You’re dragging me in different directions. I don’t understand where to go.” They would laugh and say it served me right. Meaning the violence was for its own sake. And none of them were bothered then about what had happened.
When I tried talking about the fact that torture was inhumane, they would interrupt me and say, “Did anyone really torture you? You bumped yourself in the car.” Different field agents who were there said this in front of investigators. The one who I remembered the most was an investigator named Alexei from the second floor of the FSB regional headquarters building [in Petersburg]. He wore a jacket and suspenders.
The jacket was bright green. He would give me toilet paper when I went to the toilet. I would go to the toilet not to go to the toilet, of course. I was thinking how to put an end to my suffering and contemplated slitting my wrists. But the office was right there, and an agent would always follow me out and stand by the door, which couldn’t be closed. I went there several times, hoping they’d let their guard down, but no: there was always an agent outside the door, and I wouldn’t have been able to shatter the mirror or the toilet tank.
If I’d known that I had a sharpened coin in my pocket, but I’d forgotten about it. It made it through several pat downs. The SWAT team patted me down twice and didn’t find it. Then an investigator searched me and didn’t find it. Then I was searched at the temporary detention center on Zakharyevskaya Street [in Petersburg], and they didn’t find the coin. It was found only at Remand Prison No. 3. They decided to put it in the till, but it was a Ukrainian hryvnia coin, so they decided not to mess with it. They asked me what to do with it, and I told them to throw it away.
“Fine, fine, just don’t tell anybody,” they said. And they threw it away.
Volkov: That’s long enough, thank you.
Judge Muranov: Is that it?
Judge: So, Viktor Sergeyevich, I didn’t interrupt you when you were recording your monologue, but now I’m giving you an official warning. If you use obscene language again in the courtroom, you’ll be removed until the closing arguments. Have I made myself clear?
Filinkov: Yes, you have. May I ask a question?
Judge: Ask away.
Filinkov: How I am supposed to quote obscene language?
Judge: I don’t know, but I would ask you not to use obscene expressions. I gave you an official warning, which has been entered into the record.
Judge: Sit down.
Judge: Maxim Alexandrovich, are you done?
Volkov: I would like to take literally a minute to check the quality of the recording . . . The recording is fine.
Thanks to Jenya Kulakova for the original Russian text and the video. Translated by the Russian Reader
If you have not been following the Penza-Petersburg “terrorism” case aka the Network Case, and other recent cases involving frame-ups, torture, and violent intimidation by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) and other arms of the Russian police state, read and share the articles I have posted on these subjects.
- “Viktor Filinkov: ‘It’s As If You Disappear—Only the Pain Remains,'” 21 January 2019
- “David Graeber on the Network Case,” 20 January 2020
- “‘My Statement Has Been Recorded Accurately (February 1–3, 2020),” 28 December 2019
- “18 Years in Prison for Being Tortured by the FSB,” 26 December 2019
- “The Second Anniversary,” 20 October 2019
- “‘Hi, I’m Married,’” 14 August 2019
- “Ivan Davydov: The New Greatness Trial,” 12 July 2019
- “Guided Tour of a Torture Chamber,” 11 July 2019
- “They Are Who They Are,” 10 June 2019
- “Vocalese (The Network Trials),” 6 June 2019
- “Yana Teplitskaya: Can Torture Be Endured?” 3 June 2019
- “The Network Trials: Pinning the ‘Code’ on the Defendants,” 22 May 2019
- “My Generation,” 6 May 2019
- “Lie Still, Bitch!” 26 April 2019
- “Crossing Jordan: Day Three of the Network Trial,” 17 April 2019
- “Network Trial Begins in Petersburg,” 9 April 2019
- “FSB May Haved Used Neo-Nazi Provocateur to Frame Network Suspects,” 1 February 2019
- “Jenya Kulakova: A New Year of Sorts,” 18 January 2019
- “No Amnesty for ‘Terrorists,’” 15 January 2019
- “Relentless Repression in Russia: Why Londoners Are Demonstrating on January 19,” 14 January 2019
- “Solo,” 12 January 2019
- “Convoyed,” 31 October 2018
- “How the FSB Tortures Detainees: Stories of the Victims,” 28 October 2018
- “No Justice, No Peace: Petersburg’s Kangaroo Courts Revisited,” 21 October 2018
- “Shakursky and Pchelintsev Indicted for Organizing ‘Terrorist Community,’” 11 September 2018
- “Arman Sagynbayev: I Was Tortured by the FSB,” 8 September 2018
- “Yana Teplitskaya: Wonderland,” 6 September 2018
- “Network: Parents versus the FSB,” 2 August 2018
- “Is Maxim Shulgin an ‘Extremist’?” 26 July 2018
- “Moscow City Court Affirms Anna Pavlikova’s Remand in Custody,” 26 July 2018
- “Is Lydia Bainova an ‘Extremist’?” 24 July 2018
- “Anna Pavlikova: Enemy of the Putinist State?” 22 July 2018
- “A Funny Thing Happened in Pryamukhino,” 20 July 2018
- “Two More Suspects Detained in Network Case,” 6 July 2018
- “Petersburg Court Bailiffs Attack Reporter at Network Case Hearing,” 20 June 2018
- “Anna Tereshkina: At the Court Hearing,” 20 June 2018
- “Nikolai Boyarshinov: I Hope One Day We Can Say the FSB Has Been Banned,” 12 June 2018
- “Lemmy Kilmister vs. Vladimir Putin,” 19 May 2018
- “Brazil,” 18 May 2018
- “This Is What Antifascism Looks Like,” 13 May 2018
- “May Day in Petersburg: ‘Your Torture Won’t Kill Our Ideas,’” 2 May 2018
- “Riot Cops Raid Punk Rock in Barnaul: ‘Freaks, Not Patriots,” 29 April 2018
- “Hug Your Son and We’ll Open Fire,” 27 April 2018
- “Denis Lebedev’s Suicide Note,” 26 April 2018
- “‘Are You a Bitch Yet?’ FSB Makes New Threats to Framed and Tortured Antifascist Viktor Filinkov,” 26 April 2018
- “Suicide Invoice,” 25 April 2018
- “Zoya Svetova: Interview with Petersburg Public Monitoring Commission Members Yana Teplitskaya and Yekaterina Kosarevskaya,” 23 April 2018
- “TV Party Tonight!” 21 April 2018
- “Valery Pshenichny: Tortured, Then Murdered,” 19 April 2018
- “They Are Not Terrorists! The Terrorists at the FSB Torture People,” 16 April 2018
- “FSB and NTV Pressure Mother of Man Accused in ‘Terrorist’ Frame-Up,” 12 April 2018
- “A New Face in Hell: Yuli Boyarshinov,” 12 April 2018
- “Wife of Tortured Antifascist Seeks Asylum in Finland,” 11 April 2018
- “The FSB’s Tall Tales,” 10 April 2018
- “Families of Penza-Petersburg Terrorists Form Committee,” 9 April 2018
- “Extremism Inside Out,” 30 March 2018
- “Search and Intimidate,” 29 March 2018
- “Solidarity? (The Case of the Penza and Petersburg Antifascists),” 24 March 2018
- “Anna Tereshkina: At Viktor Filinkov’s Remand Extension Hearing,” 23 March 2018
- “Ping, Ping, Ping: The Remand Extension Hearing of the Penza ‘Terrorists,’” 20 March 2018
- “Tortured Petersburg Antifascist Viktor Filinkov Transferred to Remand Prison in Leningrad Region,” 17 March 2018
- “Svyatoslav Rechkalov: ‘They Proceeded to Pull Down My Trousers, Threatening to Shock Me in the Groin,’” 15 March 2018
- “They Jump on Anything That Moves, Part 3: The Case of the New Greatness Movement,” 15 March 2018
- “The Horrorshow Continues: Svyatoslav Rechkalov Tortured in Moscow,” 15 March 2018
- “The Rowdies Have to Be Apprehended Legally, So We Can Have a Celebration in the City on March 18, not Bedlam,” 15 March 2018
- “Ilya Kapustin: ‘When the Stamp Thudded in My Passport, It Was Like a Huge Weight Had Been Lifted from My Shoulders,’” 13 March 2018
- “Your Husband Safely Made the Flight to Minsk after We Abducted Him in Petersburg,” 2 March 2018
- “‘FSB Officers Always Get Their Way!’” 28 February 2018
- ‘The Case of the Anarchists: Disappearances, Torture, Frame-Up (11 AM, February 15, 2018, Moscow),” 14 February 2018
- “The Strange Investigation of a Strange Subway Attack,” 12 February 2018
- “Arrested Penza Antifascists Talk about Torture in Remand Prison,” 10 February 2018
- “Solidarity with Persecuted Russian Antifascists and Anarchists in NYC and Minneapolis,” 7 February 2018
- “Ilya Kapustin: ‘They Said They Could Break My Legs and Dump Me in the Woods,’” 31 January 2018
- “The Penza ‘Terrorism’ Case,” 30 January 2018
- “Breaking Bad with the FSB,” 29 January 2018
- “How ‘Stability’ Has Really Been Achieved in Russia,” 29 January 2018