War stories - Former Special Forces officers protects his home tooth and claw
Veteran of the Special Rapid Response Unit (SOBR) Anton Maltsev assembled an arsenal of weapons and turned his apartment into an impregnable bunker, going as far as to protect it with mines. By doing so, he hoped to defend his home from collectors and bailiffs. The Life media source found out, who drove Maltsev to frenzy, when even forensic psychiatric examination proved him mentally unstable.
What happens when a Special Forces officer acquires paranoia
This April, Russia learned the story of a former member of SOBR and Main Intelligence Directorate (the GRU), who mined his own apartment to protect it from collectors. He currently stands accused of arms trafficking, but that is not the full extent of his case. The Serbsky Center for Psychiatry examined Maltsev and found him deranged. The forensic psychiatric examination established that the mental illness had been provoked by the actions of collectors, who had been terrorizing Maltsev for four years, demanding to repay a mortgage debt of 118 800 dollars (some 8 million rubles).
- Maltsev suffers from chronic mental illness in the form of paranoia, - specialists stated in the examination report. – In the light of traumatic situation (physical impossibility to meet the loan obligations), since around 2009, the subject of examination developed overvalued ideas ("idee fixe") that he was being persecuted by members of debt recovery firms, with their subsequent transformation into monothematic delusion.
Experts noted that with the development of the disease, Maltsev first distanced himself from his family, then almost stopped communicating with them, and applied skills he learned in the service years for protection against the imaginary threat: he watched collectors and acquired weapons, intending to defend against them. This pattern of constant harassment became stuck so firmly in his life that he never allowed for a different interpretation of what was happening, believing that collectors and the bank were the cause of all ills.
Specialists conclude that his behavior is rich in "absurd and categorical judgments," and that Maltsev himself is unable to realize the actual nature of his actions, and therefore cannot be held responsible for them. Therefore, psychiatrists state, he requires compulsory treatment. However, the final decision on sanity "is not within the competence of forensic expert," being the prerogative of the court.
Mortgage places happy family in mortal danger
Anton Maltsev is 38 years old, a native of Sterlitamak. At the time of arrest he worked as a guard in a private security firm. He participated in dozens of special operations. He was a military conscript in Abkhazia in 1998, and in 2000, he signed a contract and was sent to Kosovo as part of the Samara GRU. After the war in Kosovo, he joined the Kemerovo SOBR, where he worked until 2004. Around the same time, he met a girl and decided to leave the security forces, got married and moved to Moscow.
The young couple did not have enough money for an apartment in the capital, so they decided to buy a one-room flat in the old nine-story building in the suburban town of Pushkino. But for that they also needed to borrow funds. In 2008, the couple took a mortgage loan in Rosbank. Then the crisis broke out, and by 2009, they had no money to pay. Delays went one after the other: in some months they managed to pay part of the sum, in others - nothing. Gradually, the financial turmoil was eating the family, and in a couple of years they divorced. By the time, collectors had already visited the special forces officer several times, and his paranoid ideas started to grow larger and larger. When the wife left him, Maltsev began to turn his apartment into a fortress.
The Rosbank press service confirmed to Life that their office issued a loan for Maltsev. A Rosbank representative Polina Chuvilina told Life that Anton Maltsev had taken a mortgage loan in Rosbank in 2008, but fell in arrears in the first month, and stopped paying since April 2009.
- In 2009, the bank did not have its own collection service, so the debt was transferred to a debt recovery firm, - Chuvilina said. - In 2015, Maltsev ceased to be Rosbank’s customer, as his credit commitment had been sold under a standard assignment agreement.
However, in 2013, Rosbank tried to get its money back through legal action.
- The claim of Rosbank to Maltsev was filed in 2013, and in 2014 a judge ruled to evict my client and sell the apartment to repay the debt, - Maltsev’s lawyer Denis Schipakin told Life. – By that point, the debt on the mortgage already amounted to 118 800 dollars. On paper the apartment no longer belonged to him, but he stayed there to live, while bailiffs tried to sell the real estate. They failed to succeed, and in August 2015, the court ruled out to evict Maltsev physically and to transfer the apartment to the bank.
For reference, the forced eviction of the debtor from the housing can be conducted only if he twice refused to leave the apartment voluntarily and within the deadline set by the bailiff.
A year later, the established term passed, and so, in April 2016, the bailiffs came to evict him, along with the Emergency Ministry officers and the bank's employees. But when they attempted to pry the door open, the tag line with pepper gas was activated, which was set by the former special forces officer. After that, the operation was led by the FSB officers and sappers. As previously reported, there were two more tag lines installed in the house - this time with real grenades.
- When bailiffs tried to enter the apartment, they could not break the door, had to smash the nearby wall with sledgehammers, - Schipakin added. - He made the door himself near the entrance hall, the neighbors saw him. In the end, it turned out to be a bunker, ten centimeters thick.
In total, there were two armored doors, according to the lawyer - the front one and the one leading to the toilet.
Weapons arsenal and an exoskeleton for the war with collectors
The apartment was rigged with weapons, as if its owner was going to war: guns, armor kits and explosives. Maltsev was detained the same evening. He became a defendant in the case under Art. 222 of the Russian Criminal Code (Arms Trafficking).
- He immediately agreed to cooperate with the investigation, confessed everything, - his lawyer said.
It turned out that Maltsev not only created a bunker, but also acquired weapons - turned signal guns into combat ones, put silencers on them, and manufactured artisanal cartridges.
Altogether, the commando had seven kilograms of explosives, more than a dozen pistols, rifles, and even a few projectiles for an under-barrel grenade launcher. Judging from the video, he even found a decommissioned Kalashnikov somewhere. He also had legally purchased guns - a pistol and two Saiga rifles. The apartment was littered with transparent jars containing metal balls, bullets and bolts. Body armor, helmets, a home-made rifle, a crossbow, and parts of weapons were lying on the floor.
- He immediately told the investigators that he needed all of this to defend from the collectors, - Schipakin said. – In his opinion, he found these service weapons during repairs in the apartment, when he broke open the floor. He claimed that his grandfather, a masterful inventor, lived there and, apparently, collected all of it. A ridiculous theory, to be certain.
Schipakin told Life that his client also had a real exoskeleton - a device of futuristic design, which he assembled himself. Added to the fortified body armor, it turned into a full plate suit. Maltsev wore this armor during some episodes of his war with collectors. Schipakin mentioned that the confiscated exoskeleton became a curious exhibit in the material evidence room of the local MIA department.
- The neighbors witnessed him chasing two collectors in the yard, in this exoskeleton and with a Saiga in his hands, - the lawyer said.
The investigation is still not completely sure, where Maltsev obtained most of the weapons, and the investigation goes on. The lawyer does not rule out that his client has another cache in some other place. In addition, if the investigation finds that a decommissioned Kalashnikov was taken from some military unit, its premises will be checked as well.
Now, given the circumstances of the case, it was transferred from the department of inquiry to the investigation department of the local MIA. Maltsev awaits the trial in the Butyrka prison.
How many more ‘Heemeyers’ can we expect in Russia?
The story of the Russian officer overlaps with that of the American welder Marvin John Heemeyer. Both served in the military and had special training. At the time, both faced financial problems: Maltsev was losing the only housing, while Marvin Heemeyer - his muffler shop (the ground, where the shop stood, was claimed by a cement batch plant). Both initially chose legal methods for solving the conflict and referred to the courts. However, after losing those battles, they violated the law. Marvin Heemeyer bought a huge bulldozer, armored him with layers of steel and used it to demolish the homes of those, who he had found guilty of his problems - the director of the cement plant, the judge, the lawyer, and the Mayor. Whereas Maltsev was waiting for collectors to come for him, barricaded the apartment and set mine traps.
Maltsev did not turn lunatic in a blink of an eye - the journey from the ill-fated mortgage to madness and crimes was long. His lawyer said that the debt collectors had been terrorizing Maltsev for four years. All these years, they regularly phoned, wrote and met with him, thus exerting pressure on him, which ultimately shattered his mental health.
In Russia, the increased efforts of collectors in recent years serve only to provoke negative social response. For example, on August 2, the mentally unstable Muscovite cut off collector’s head and legs when the latter came for the money.
Experts say that even after the adoption of anticollection law similar episodes will be repeated.
- Surely, such stories will repeat themselves, because conflicts and debts have always led to such tragedies, - the director of the Center Razvitiya Kollektorstva (Center for Debt Collection Development) Dmitry Zhdanukhin said. – The fact that false collectors can be involved, meaning, those who act as one but are not included in the database, is a whole other issue.
Zhdanukhin also pointed to certain controversial aspects of the law itself.
- The law has a set of set undeveloped aspects. For instance, in an attempt to protect citizens from intrusive calls, the lawmakers introduced a term telephone negotiations, and their number is limited, - Zhdanukhin said. - But it is unclear what they stand for. If, for example, unscrupulous collectors will keep ringing and remain silent, will it be considered as negotiations or not?
- Aggressive behavior of collectors not only causes nervous and mental diseases in people, as it happened with former policeman Anton Maltsev, but also provokes more serious consequences, - a psychologist and criminologist Mikhail Vinogradov stated.
He noted that the story, when the collectors near Novosibirsk raped a woman in front of her husband and son because of a loan worth 5.000 rubles, was a shining example. There were victims of extortion in Stavropol. There a whole children's hospital could not work because a nurse owed 70.000 rubles - the collectors were calling all the phones and the citizens were unable to reach the doctors.
- Before issuing a license for working as a collector, the state must check his health, especially mental, - Mikhail Vinogradov said. - After all, those who buy the debts from the banks are willing to do anything to get their money. They write threats on the doors of the apartments, cut the electrical wires, and make phone calls, thus driving the debtors into a corner. Such methods put people in the hospital, and sometimes even into the grave.
A new bill was signed on August 1, 2016, which obliges the collectors to comply with strict rules. A collector is forbidden to knock out the money by means of physical force or threats, to damage property. In addition, they can now call the debtors not more than twice a week and meet with them in person only once a week. Moreover, legislators ordered the collectors to take the competency exam. Only those who have an impeccable business reputation will be able to become collectors.
According to Margarita Vennberg, Ivan Rubin borrowed 40 thousand euros from businessman Vladimir Tyurenkov about a year ago. When Rubin delayed payments, Tyurenkov raised interest, and the amount of the debt increased to 70 thousand euros.