Tuesday, February 03, 2015

A Russian Housewife Caught in Putin's War

By Leonid Bershidsky, Bloomberg
Feb 2, 2015 2:15 PM EST

Is Russia fighting a war against Ukraine? To hear President Vladimir Putin and his ministers, it's not — it merely sympathizes with the separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine. Yet the case of a Russian housewife with a two-month-old baby, accused of treason and jailed for making a call to the Ukrainian embassy, proves that Russia sees the neighboring country as an enemy and that it has troops there.

Svetlana Davydova, a 36-year-old housewife from Vyazma in western Russia, made the fateful call in April 2014. She told an embassy employee that a garrison near her home, which normally housed a crack GRU military intelligence unit, had suddenly emptied out. Davydova also said she had had overheard a phone conversation on a bus in which a man — she thought he might have been a soldier from the unit — said he and his fellow servicemen were being transferred to Moscow in small groups, wearing civilian clothes, in preparation for a certain posting. Davydova added that she thought the unit might be headed for Donetsk in eastern Ukraine.

For months afterwards, nothing happened. Then, according to Davydova's husband, a local precinct cop knocked on their door at 8:15 a.m. on January 21. He said neighbors had complained of noise from the apartment, though the couple's seven children were still asleep. When the couple opened the door, a group of operatives from the FSB, Russia's domestic intelligence service, burst in, seized all of their computers, arrested Davydova and handed her husband a piece of paper stating she was suspected of treason and that he would be informed of her whereabouts later.

(More here.)

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