The imprisoned Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov has been on a hunger strike since May 14, calling on Russia to free its Ukrainian political prisoners. Russian officials have insisted repeatedly that Sentsov is weathering his hunger strike in reasonably good health, but the filmmaker told his cousin in a recent letter that his condition is “catastrophically bad.” Meduza special correspondent Sasha Sulim sat down with Sentsov’s lawyer, Dmitry Dinze, and asked for more details about his client’s apparently deteriorating health.
The photograph. Dinze says Sentsov’s condition is much worse than a photograph published on August 9 would lead you to believe. In the photo, shared on Facebook by Ukrainian Human Rights Commissioner Lyudmyla Denisova, Sentsov is standing and looking fairly ordinary. Dinze says his prison uniform obscures his emaciated body.
Sentsov's health. According to Dinze, Sentsov has been diagnosed with anemia and numbness in his extremities. On two occasions, his pulse apparently fell sharply to 40 beats per minute, leading doctors to recommend hospitalization. Sentsov has decided to stay put, however, saying that conditions in the prison hospital are even worse than in his cell. Doctors would also try to end his hunger strike. He is currently drinking a mysterious “medical mix” voluntarily, to stay conscious and avoid waking up in a hospital bed attached to a feeding tube.
Moscow's figurehead. Dinze described Russian Human Rights Commissioner Tatyana Moskalkova as a “retransmitter of the Kremlin’s will,” saying that her job requires her to act as an intermediary between “the authorities and a person’s fate,” noting that Moskalkova has never addressed Sentsov’s demands and only makes public statements about his “stable health.”
Read the whole interview (in Russian) here.