11 April 2022
This evening the lawyer Vadim Prokhorov and I both approached the Khamovniki police station on foot at the same time but from opposite directions. As they say, we chose a good time and place for our meeting! The police station door was shut tight, so we rang the bell. A young woman appeared who for some reason had been sent to open the door (it was 8pm!) in police uniform and with a Kalashnikov assault rifle on her shoulder and handcuffs on her belt.
Vadim showed his lawyer’s ID and demanded to see his client, Volodya Kara-Murza, who had been detained earlier in the day. The policewoman replied there was no such person there and she hadn’t heard anything about him. We insisted and she went away to confer with her superiors. She soon returned to say she’d been told off for letting us in because the station was now operating under the ‘Plan Fortress.’ She asked urged us, begged us, to leave immediately. We had to give in to the woman with the assault rifle and we went outside. The police station had gone into ‘lock down’ immediately they found out a lawyer and a journalist had arrived.
Apparently, none of the officers knew about the ‘Plan Fortress’ before our arrival. While Vadim was informing the international community about the situation with Kara-Murza, I observed an amusing scene. Two police officers came to the station’s locked door and wanted to go in to work. But there was no way in! They were told over the door’s speaker phone that ‘Plan Fortress’ was now in operation and they would have to go in through the back door.
“The fucking back door!” the police captain was indignant. “Open the door.”
From the speaker phone there came the mumbling voice of the policewoman, telling her colleagues to go to the back door.
“Do you know where the back door is?” the captain asked his fellow officer. “No idea,” replied the other. “I’ll go and look.”
One went off to look for the back entrance to the police station while the other stood waiting at the door, whining from time to time like a dog that wants to be let in. The officer watched us with a look of extreme disapproval (those who know the Russian police will know what that is like), suspecting we were the cause of his present difficulties. He was partly right, of course, but we did not admit our guilt.
Soon both officers walked around the corner to the back door that one of them had found. Vadim and I followed, but we could find no trace of them. Nor of any back door either. We searched the whole courtyard – but to no avail. It was as if they had vanished into thin air. I suspect they have a direct agreement with Satan and when necessary the enemy of humankind opens an underground passage to Khamovniki police station. Consequently, I have my doubts as to whether the strength of the police lies in the public’s trust, as a poster at the entrance to the police station declares. In fact, the police would seem to draw their strength from entirely different sources.
As for Vladimir Kara-Murza, he had to wait out his time in Satan’s den at least until the next morning. Tomorrow he will be taken to the Khamovniki district court where he could be jailed to up to 15 days for reasons unknown. As you can see from this, fighting against evil doesn’t result in good. But what can you do? There’s really nothing else to be done.
Translated by Simon Cosgrove