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Five Russian law enforcement agencies confront large family whose father stored weapons, abused children, and claimed to be a GRU agent

Source: Meduza

On December 16, a small arsenal of weapons was confiscated from the home of a large family in the northwestern Russian village of Khimozi. 47News reported that the weapons in the home were two Kalashnikov machine guns, one handheld Kalashnikov machine gun, two Kedr automatic weapons, and Makarov and TT pistols stored alongside bullets and bulletproof vests printed with the letters “FSB,” the acronym for Russia’s Federal Security Service. Anonymous sources told the business newspaper RBC that a grenade launcher was also found in the home. According to both 47News and 78.ru, police officers, employees of Russia’s Investigative Committee, Russian National Guard troops, Emergencies Ministry officials, and FSB officers were all active on the scene.

According to the Telegram-based channel Mash na Moike and 47News, bloodstained mattresses were also found in the home along with a large number of icons, a shooting range, and a gym. The cottage was found to be unkempt and cluttered. Its exercise area was stocked with equipment, and its shooting range included targets riddled with bullet holes. Sources told the St. Petersburg-based outlet Bumaga that the children living in the cottage were likely undergoing some kind of informal combat training. Mash na Moike wrote that a large wooden cross was standing near the house.

Investigative operations in the village of Khimozi
Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation

The father of the family has been arrested. He introduced himself to law enforcement agents as a GRU colonel, 47News reported. The man’s name is Andrey Bovt. He changed his surname in 1997; it was previously Lobadyuk. Komsomolskaya Pravda wrote that Bovt had previously run a family woodcarving business, and 47News added that he had led two companies with names inspired by Slavic Orthodox history. Bovt’s brother and mother run a carpentry school, and his mother is the registered owner of a private religious organization. Bovt was in cohabitation with his cousin Svetlana Lobadyuk.

Andrey Bovt is suspected of illegal arms and explosives trading as well as sexual violence against his 13-year-old daughter. According to investigators, the father raped his daughter over the course of seven years. It was a report of those crimes that triggered the search of Bovt’s cottage on December 16. According to 47News, an unknown woman reported the sexual violence against the 13-year-old to the police. Both the girl and her mother have been questioned. According to RBC, the woman living with Bovt said her daughter had told her about her father’s sexual acts, but the mother did not contact police out of fear for the lives and well-being of her children. She also confirmed that the weapons found in the house belonged to Bovt, who only said he “works for the KGB,” the Soviet security agency dissolved in 1991, and therefore could not testify due to confidentiality concerns.

Six children were being raised in the family. None of them were able to provide their last name, according to Mash na Moike. All of the children were evacuated from the cottage. According to 47News, three of them turned out to be of age: 18-year-old Ioann, 20-year-old Pavel, and 24-year-old Pyotr. The family’s neighbors told Masha na Moike and Komsomolskaya Pravda that the younger children were not attending school. However, one unnamed neighbor told the outlet Ruptly that they were studying through an online program based in the district capital of Gatchina. Another Khimozi resident told Channel Five that the children were closed off and were not in regular communication with anyone outside the house. He added that one of Bovt’s sons told him he was able to go on walks only when his father was away on business.

Text by Olga Korelina

Translation by Hilah Kohen