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Convicted drug dealer pardoned by Putin after her clandestine chemist husband joined Wagner Group
The St. Petersburg physics teacher Diana Gribovskaya was convicted of illicit drug dealing in 2018, together with her husband, the veterinarian and clandestine chemist Dmitry Karavaichik. It has now emerged that Gribovskaya has been pardoned by President Vladimir Putin’s personal decree, adding yet another twist to the couple’s improbable story.
“The Russian Walter White,” as the media had dubbed Karavaichik in the wake of the drug case, had allegedly synthesized amphetamines in a home lab. He was caught with the help of his wife’s former lover.
In court, Karavaichik insisted that he’d peddled ordinary crushed pills as “drugs,” in order to raise money for animal prosthetics, and that the actual amphetamines discovered in his apartment during a search had been planted there by the police operatives, who had also threatened him and his elderly mother with electric torture.
The court sentenced Karavaichik to 17 years in prison. Gribovskaya got a 16-year sentence for drug dealing.
In January 2023, it emerged that Karavaichik had joined Wagner Group and was fighting in Ukraine. Journalists later identified several ex-convicts in a photo published by a Wagner Group-related internet source, together with an announcement of their pardons.
It remains unclear on what legal grounds the president might have pardoned Gribovksaya.
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