Sophisticated methods of torture by new generation of policemen

Sophisticated methods of torture by new generation of policemen
Policemen actively cover each other up, and the victims are often unable to report on torture. And sometimes they do not want to: it is too humiliating to human dignity to talk about past abuse. Photo: The CrimeRussia

It's no secret that all sorts of torture are widespread in the Russian police. The operatives argue it is hard to work without them, and most of the offenders without such 'interrogation methods' would have walked on the loose, however, the victims of police brutality are often law-abiding citizens. How the guardians of order torture these days, you can read in the review prepared by the CrimeRussia.

Imagine a small stuffy room. On a chair, with hands handcuffed behind his back, a man is sitting. There is a gas mask on his face. Two more people quietly stand by, talk about casually about everyday affairs, as if there is no one in the office besides them. One of them suddenly mechanically, without a swing, punches the sitting person in the stomach. He doubles over, trying to grab the air. But the second one standing immediately stops the access to air by squeezing the hose of the gas mask. The victim in the handcuffs rattles; through the misted lenses it is seen how his eyes engorge. When the unfortunate person feels like this is the end, the hose is suddenly released. This continues for several hours...



Do you think this is a scene from the new part of the 'Saw' or that those two are the Gestapo from the movie about Soviet partisans? No, everything happens in the usual Russian police department. And these two men are the detective officers and the tied person has been detained on suspicion of theft. It is not necessary to have a special fantasy to imagine the scene of police torture, when you read about the next 'cop arbitrariness'. This happens all the time and can happen, unfortunately, with everyone, even the most law-abiding citizen of our country.

The examples are around us: it is not necessary to delve into the vastness of the Internet looking for the facts; even Yandex will helpfully provide one with tons of links, as soon as you start to type in "tortures in…". This is our reality. The CrimeRussia, not so long ago, wrote about the recent high-profile case.

In Buryatia, after the 'meeting' with the Ulan-Ude police a teenager died, the 17-year-old Nikita Kobelev. It turned out that the guy who was detained on suspicion of stealing a bicycle, was tortured by a so-called 'elephant', namely, he was put a gas mask on and for a few minutes deprived of oxygen. The guy choked on his own vomit. The police tried to hush up the matter and put it like this: they say, the kid got sick in the car, as he was allegedly on drugs. Now, several policemen, among whom there are high-ranking officers, are under investigation.

Никита Кобелев

Nikita Kobelev

Video: The guys were taken out of the store with their arms locked and were seated in different cars. The reason to organize the mask-show (police raid where the officers have the masks on) in the case of theft is still not clear.

Unfortunately, such cases are not uncommon in Russia. The operatives know many sophisticated methods of torture. Many operatives shrug: is there any other way? According to the police, bullying is the best way to get the admission of guilt and increase the crime detection rate. The Soviet police also tortured, but it rarely became known to the public. However, former Head of the Tatarstan MIA Asgat Safarov (who was fired after the memorable scandal in the police department Dalny) said: "We are facing with a new generation of policemen. They are just different." Human rights activists have also long been sounding the alarm: the complaints on the 'cop' mess increases from year to year.


The Soviet police also tortured, but it rarely became known to the public. Photo:  

What tortures the policemen use against the detainees? It is worth noting that there is torture with the use of 'special means', and there are ones without.

The most basic torture is battery. They try to hit so that no visible traces are left. Otherwise, then the victim will document the beating and go to court. Therefore, they try not to hit the face, preferring hitting on the kidneys or heels (very painful, because the nerve endings of many internal organs are in heels). Beatings can be committed both with arms and legs, and rubber truncheon (do not leave traces). A wet towel or a thick cloth is often used: no bruises are left after such hits.

They hit with a thick book on a head. Because of that, the victim then experiences long buzzing in his head; the torture is called the 'bell'.

Beatings often end with the death of detainees. For example, in St. Petersburg in 2012, Police Lieutenant Denis Ivanov beat with a handle of a mop, 15-year-old Nikita Leonidov, who was arrested for a petty theft, to death.

Денис Иванов

September 10, 2013, the Nevsky District Court of St. Petersburg has sentenced former district policeman Denis Ivanov to 6.5 years in a penal colony

In Novosibirsk, the court hears the case of 37-year-old security officer Sergey Kolomoits. In August 2015, the policeman, being drunk in his office, beat to death the 46-year-old detainee Valery Ushakov. The man died in the hospital from a brain injury.    


Sergey Kolomoits has been under investigation for a year

There is also such a torture as 'parachute': a detainee is raised by his arms and legs and thrown flat on the floor. It is easy to imagine what the victim feels when hits the floor. If committed properly 'parachute' does not leave marks on the body as well.

One can be tortured with an ordinary pencil or pen. Just insert it between the fingers of the detainee and strongly squeeze: the pain a person experiences is hellish.

The 'elephant' was mentioned above. It is the most common torture in Russia. The victim is put a gas mask on his head and is deprived of the access to oxygen for a few minutes. After that, they let him breath and repeat the procedure. And so on, until the exhausted person is ready to confess. This torture is extremely dangerous for people with weak hearts.

Another version of the 'elephant' is the 'store' or 'supermarket'. On the head, instead of a gas mask, a plastic bag is worn.

The 'diver' is all the same in principle, only in this case, the victim’s is lowered in a bucket of water for couple of minutes.

Even if the fact of the torture becomes public, the policemen often avoid real punishment. In 2010, the law enforcement officers from Tolyatti Rinat Yakhin and Gayk Oganesyan got three years of probation. For several hours, they were torturing the 20-year-old man Igor Potapov, who was suspected of stealing a car wheel, with the 'elephant'. The victim forgave his tormentors. And the court has taken this into account.

There are several varieties of a torture with handcuffs. It is 'marivanna' or 'popugay' (parrot). The head is slipped between the knees and feet and hands cuffed: the body turns into a kind of a wheel. Afterwards, the person is hung on a stick lying on two tables or chairs, twisted on it as on a spit and beaten. It was this torture to which the detainee Airat Davliev was subjected by the operatives of the Promyshlenny police department in Kazan in December 2011, who were securing confessions on attacks on taxi drivers and murder. According to the testimony of the victim's mother, her son was handcuffed and hung on a scrap placed between a table and a chair. The torture worked, Davliev signed all the papers.

A 'swallow' or a 'palestinian hanging' is a hanging by the arms, handcuffed behind one’s back. 'Stretching', a rack or 'rastishka' are the other titles of the same torture. 'Slavka' is the one when a person is seated on the chair with his hands tied behind his back. After that, the rope passes under the seat between the legs of the tortured and pulled upward, thereby literally pulling his hands out of the joints.

In winter 2016, the court ordered the MIA and the Ministry of Finance to pay 1.2 million rubles to the widow of Alexander Samoilov. The 33-year-old man committed a misdemeanor and was killed in April 2009 in Perm after being taken to the police department. There, he was tied as a 'swallow', and as a result, he died of mechanical asphyxia. Six police officers were on trial: some got off with probation, and the most severe punishment was 4 years prison for two of them.

A 'TV': a person is in a crouch position and holds the stool or chair with their backs to him. In this position, he is forced to stay for a few hours. Initially, this torture was often used in the army. In 2006, the case of the Private Andrey Sychev received a wide resonance. On the New Year's Eve, a drunk veteran was torturing him this way. Sychev, who spent several hours in this position, got thrombophlebitis, gangrene and sepsis. The Private had to have his legs amputated. Sergeant Alexander Sivyakov, who tortured his inferior, was sentenced to 4 years in prison.


Sergeant Sivyakov in court

The 'TV' can sometimes be a completely different torture. A person is seated on the floor with his hands handcuffed, his legs are tied with a rope which is passed through his neck. Then, the same rope is used to pull his head to the legs; in this position the person is fixed for a while.

Ufa resident Denis Govorun managed to prove that in January 2013 he was subjected to this torture. Three police officers received three years of imprisonment, and Denis was awarded 300 thousand rubles compensation.

Денис Говорун

Denis Govorun

Such torture as 'Call to Putin' or 'Internet' is also quite widely used. To the various parts of the body (often - to the genitals or ear lobes) electrodes are placed and via dynamo of the old phones currency is passed. The current source can be different: simple batteries can be used as well.

The investigation of the case of the traffic policeman from Nizhny Novgorod, Alexey Mikheev, lasted for 7 years. In 2006, the European Court of Human Rights ruled out Russia to pay Mikheev 250 thousand euros for the inhuman torture from his own colleagues. In late 1998, the 22-year-old Mikheev became a suspect in the murder of his acquaintance. The detectives of the Leninski District Police Department, Igor Somov and Nikolai Kosterin tortured the traffic policeman for nearly a week: he was beaten and subjected to electrocuting. Mikheev confessed to the rape and murder of the girl. The tormentors were not satisfied: he was forced to take on several unsolved murders. The guy jumped out of the window: broke his spine and was left disabled for life. The 'killed' girl came back home 9 days after the disappearance...


The case of Aleksey Mikheev was terminated 26 times. The Strasbourg Court found Russia guilty and ruled out to pay him 250 thousand euros. Photo: Novaya Gazeta

There are a lot of sexual tortures, but it is not necessary to describe them in detail. It is sufficient to recall the sensational Kazan Police Department Dalny. In 2012, after the rape with a bottle of champagne, the 52-year-old Sergey Nazarov died from the rupture of the rectum. The case was widely publicized; five employees were under investigation, the whole police department were dismissed.

There is no need to explain that sexual torture is the most humiliating, especially for representatives of the criminal world. As a rule, after that, they commit suicides.

ОВД Дальний

The Police Department Dalny

The policemen descend to psychological torture as well. For instance, the ignorance torture. The detainee is seated in the hallway at the office, from where they hear the cries and pleas for help. They are told that their cousins/relatives are tortured or raped there.

There are investigators who in the presence of the detainee 'play' with the service weapon (disassemble, put it back together, click it), telling them they are allowed to shoot to kill if he escapes. It is also a kind of psychological technique, aimed at intimidating the victim. There are cases when the policemen shoot in the face with an unloaded gun. One of such cases (again, in Buryatia) turned into tragedy. In 2011, the operative Bair Dorzhiev shot the detainee in the face apparently forgetting to remove the cartridge. The officer later tried to fake self-defense, saying that the detainee attacked his colleague with scissors. And the colleague – Head of CID Sergey Cherchik – confirmed what he said. Both guardians of order got under investigation.

There is also such torture as a 'watermelon diet'. The detainee is given a watermelon to eat, or is just offered a lot of water. After that, they do not let him to go to the toilet, causing him to suffer both physically and mentally.

A variety of methods of torture by the police is striking and frightening. This practice is used in almost all regions of Russia. However, criminal cases on these facts are initiated very seldom. The policemen actively cover each other, and the victims are often unable to report on torture. And sometimes they do not want to: it is too humiliating to human dignity to talk about past abuse.



All these methods of torture are used not only by the police officers but also members of other law enforcement agencies. In November of this year, a scandal raised about tortures in the penitentiary system of Russia, after the publication the Karelian colony prisoner Ildar Dadin’s revelations. However, the Federal Penitentiary Service "put an end" in the scandal and did not admit any of the atrocities that are happening behind the high fence with barbed wire.

According to a survey of the human rights Fund Obshestvenny Verdikt (Public Verdict), conducted at the end of the last year, 7% of the 1,600 polled said that there have been cases of torture in respect of themselves, their relatives or friends in the past three years. The Fund’s officials have repeatedly stressed that Russia has no official statistics on torture; there are only expert opinions and the results of surveys.

On average, about 900 cases involving the use of violence by the police against the detainees, are considered in Russia per year. A little more than a hundred defendants receive real terms, and the rest get off with probation.



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