Detained, interrogated, and driven home Marina Chaika shares her official statement to investigators detailing her recent abduction
Marina Chaika, the ex-wife of Russian businessman Artyom Chaika (the son of Russia’s former attorney general) has confirmed to Meduza that she was in fact abducted, detained, and interrogated earlier this week. In addition, Chaika has shared a copy of the official statement she submitted to state investigators with Meduza’s correspondent. Here’s what Marina Chaika said in her formal account of the kidnapping.
On Thursday, January 14, federal investigators registered an official statement from Marina Chaika concerning her recent kidnapping in a city just outside of Moscow. Chaika submitted the document to Colonel of justice Andrey Strizhov, the head of the investigative department at the Moscow branch of the Russian Investigative Committee. In addition, she shared a copy of the five-page statement with Meduza’s correspondent and confirmed that she was abducted and detained for several hours in an unknown building. Chaika declined to make any further comments.
Marina Chaika was abducted on Monday, January 12, she said in a video published by her lawyer Ekaterina Gordon on Telegram the next day.
In her statement to the Investigative Committee, Chaika explains that on that day, she had gone to Odintsovo (a satellite city outside of Moscow) for an examination at the request of her lawyer Natalya Smirnova. She was supposed to undergo an examination at an unnamed expert institution, in order to obtain an opinion in connection with the ongoing court proceedings involving her ex-husband.
Chaika said that at 5:00 p.m. on January 12, she arrived at 55 Mozhayskoye Shosse in Odintsovo, the building where her lawyer’s assistant, Alisa, was supposed to be waiting for her. While Chaika was standing near her car, a black minibus pulled up next to her, and a man wearing black clothes and a mask over his face got out of the vehicle. He said that he works for the FSB, after which, as Chaika describes, he “forcibly pushed me into the car and put a hat over my face,” blocking her vision. Inside the minibus was the paralegal, Alisa, who, according to Chaika, was also forcibly pushed into the car and had her eyes covered with a hat. There were at least six people in the car in total, Chaika writes in her statement.
The car ride lasted about 30 minutes. When they stopped, Marina Chaika was taken to an unknown building. She doesn’t know where the paralegal was after this point. Chaika was taken to a basement, where she was handcuffed to some kind of pillar (possibly a pipe) and interrogated. The kidnappers asked Marina about her ex-husband, Artyom Chaika. They were particularly interested in which of his friends she knows, where his factories and other properties are located, and whether Marina and Artyom Chaika’s divorce was fictitious.
At a certain point, the kidnappers demanded that Marina Chaika open her mouth; they then poured an unknown liquid inside “and put a tablet in the form of a small piece of paper under my tongue.”
After that my consciousness began to change, namely hallucinations appeared, everything in sight began to blur. I felt I was losing consciousness.
Then, Marina Chaika was taken from the basement to the building’s first floor and they removed her hat. She saw two unknown men, who continued to interrogate her “and forced me to swallow a liquid that was poured in my mouth.” In addition, she was forced to take tablets “in the form of a small piece of paper” repeatedly. Chaika told them that she knew nothing and asked to be released. Her kidnappers promised to free her, if she answered their questions first.
Chaika says that her eldest daughter, worried by the fact that her mother wasn’t home, phoned her non-stop during the interrogation. One of the kidnappers demanded that Chaika calm her daughter down — “he threatened that if I didn’t calm her down, the men would bring her to me” and would leave them both inside the unknown building.
In the end, Chaika writes in her statement, she “answered the men’s questions,” after which they told her not to communicate with anyone for three days, not to tell anyone about what happened, and to drink water and take Enterosgel (a medication of debatable effectiveness that allegedly “has distinct sorption and detoxification properties”). Then they put a hat over Marina Chaika’s head once again, put her in a car, and drove her to her home.
According to Chaika, she was detained for about 10 hours (Ekaterina Gordon said it was 12 hours). After her release, Chaika called Gordon, appealed to state investigators, and underwent a medical examination.
The Russian Investigative Committee has yet to comment on the incident.
With additional reporting by Svetlana Reiter and Darya Sarkisyan
Translation by Eilish Hart