In Defence. A journalistic investigation of the criminal case No 376062 “on Grabovoy’s fraud”. (Interview with E.B. Yegereva) / 2007-03-25 23:07


Text: Larisa Bochanova

Question: Yelena B. Yegerova, as a wife of Grigoriy Petrovich Grabovoy, could you say to what extent the image the mass media create of him corresponds to reality? From your point of view?

Yelena Yegereva: To be honest, for the whole period I met more or less decent and professional mass media representatives only on REN-TV channel. That was probably the only case when there was at least a hint of truth and of the situation that has now developed around my husband. They fulfilled the main condition that I set – not to distort the meaning of what was said, not to pull out separate phrases from the interview, not to use and distort them in the context of what was said. Although it would seem that this should be self-evident. Nevertheless. We had agreed in advance in writing on the interview questions and I was directly involved in editing the programme. You know, it was September 30th and it coincided with my birthday. In all these months of my husband’s imprisonment, I felt a holiday for the first time. And REN-TV journalist Leonid Kanfer gave me such a gift – he said I could be on the air when the programme went to the Far East. An “interesting” scene happened during the broadcast. The item with my participation was on Marianna Maximovskaya’s programme, and there was a scene with the mothers of the children killed in Beslan. When this material was already on the air Marianna was very loudly complaining that why all the drool, who needs Beslan and this truth? And that journalist Leonid clutched his head and said, “That’s it”. I mean the end of his career. That’s the kind of censorship on TV today – no one wants the truth. The material was broadcasted in Moscow and other Russian cities in an altered form, but in any case, the sense of my interview was transmitted in a normal way. Although the questions the journalist asked me were quite interesting. For example, he asked my opinion about the authorities. “Are the authorities afraid of Grigori Grabovoi?”

Question: And what did you answer?

Yelena Yegereva: I said: “Ask the authorities” :-). In general, during this time many mass media representatives tried to interview me. There was one, as it turned out later, from the programme ‘Maximum’ (NTV) who filmed me with a hidden camera. When he was talking to me, I felt it, and I said: “You know, if a story appears on the air and everything I say is voiced – it will be very unpleasant”. And indeed, as she said, that’s how it happened. They also showed a cleaning woman indignant with Grabovoy’s deeds: “Well, is the work with Grabovoy over? I would have given him a life sentence.” I was just sitting near the court. I was sitting there, near the courtroom. I was so angered, I said: “How can you say that, you do not know the essence of the case”. She said: “That’s what the media says”. I then showed her my passport with the registration of our marriage, our photographs and said: “The media says that he has a wife with bells on her head, and the wife is me, do you know?” It was only then that the woman thought that it turns out the media may not be telling the truth. And immediately changed her mind, she said what a parasite the media were. But of course NTV left all this out of the picture. In his programme Pimanov showed only what he needed to show. Other points of view do not exist for him. That is why everything connected with my husband and his activities is covered very untruthfully in the media. To draw any conclusions about Grigoriy Grabovoy one should at least read his works, books and check authenticity of his documents. Everything is at the level of “someone said something” and this “someone” has other interests. The most surprising thing is that this “someone” is not responsible for all these lies until now. That’s my attitude towards media. And the way they behave in court, it’s just appalling. They shoot you with a camera at point-blank range, flick you literally in front of your nose, and it is clear that they want to show you off in an unpleasant way. Like any woman, you always want to look normal, but it’s always presented in a distorted way. One of the newspapers published a portrait of me after I had gone through Photoshop and I could not recognize myself.

Question: Still, you have to be strong enough to endure all the turmoil and not to break down. What gives you strength in this situation?

Yelena Yegereva: My stability is probably due to my love for my husband. Love saves me. And also when I see how my husband is loved and respected by other people. Those people who ordered the mass media to create a negative image of Grigoriy Grabovoy as a swindler and charlatan made a mistake thinking that everyone would turn away from him. Alas! Paradoxically, there are more and more people who would support his ideas and the mass media, without their own awareness, work simply for his name. Very often, in transport or in pre-trial detention, when you suddenly get into a conversation with ordinary people, just like with this cleaning lady, everyone understands everything at once. They say that there is really something wrong here, that the same thing is being trashed, and in such quantities! It just gives the feeling that information is being tried to be “hammered” into people’s minds. Today many people realize that everything was paid for, that it was a planned action to destroy him, that he is simply unwanted by someone. So when people see what is really happening they immediately change their attitude or at least they start to think what’s behind it. I’ve had a lot of meetings with people, including judges, prosecutors, etc. Before one court hearing, where the question of changing the preventive measure was being considered, I went to the judge, V.V. Suchkov, just to have a human conversation. I told him everything and he said: “I understand everything, but he shouldn’t have declared his presidency”. I said to him: “So what? If I declare my presidency, will you put me in jail too?” He says “No, not you”.

Question: Yelena, maybe you should really declare your Presidency?

Yelena Yegereva: I will think about it.)

Question: You know, I understand how all statements are perceived by media. The “truth” of most journalists is that, by and large, they do not believe in this man, they allow their participation in these PR events. And what is not perceived, in the first place is his statement about the Second Coming. If we talk about your understanding of this status of him, what is it for you?

Yelena Yegereva: You know, there is a good song “You are my God”. He is God for me. That’s all. And let others answer this question. Because such things have happened in our lives … And not everybody is given to love. It’s a gift. I think it’s a gift from God. I have known my husband for a long time, he is a deeply religious man and the fact that he says so, it means that he has reasons for it. After all, he did not just declare himself a messiah, as the media is trying to tell us, but he really saves people and does his best. And he has always done so. There are deeds. After all, a man is judged by his deeds! Please, how many accidents does he warn about today? I personally took a forecast to the Prime Minister B.E. Fradkov’s office about a possible plane crash near Donetsk on July 24, 2006, there is a registered letter. Yes, they were interested then, but the plane crash that he warned about took place on August 12, it means that they did not take any measures and did not pay attention to this forecast. I think everyone there knows about his abilities, but they only want to use them for themselves. They would hardly fly themselves on that day, and they would not let their relatives in. And other people, please, let them die. And no one in the government seems to care. They should be asked a question. Why did they did not even use this forecast?

Question: Why do you think so? Why don’t people understand that sooner or later they will be held responsible?

Yelena Yegereva: I do not know … It seems to me that no one believes in anything. People have become like robots. You know, I still have one picture in my eyes… When my husband was detained, they came to search us. Four men came. I don’t know whether to tell you or not, but they reeked of inebriation. It was 4.30 in the morning. We first invited them in for tea or coffee. They looked into one room – two older children were asleep; they looked into another room – my parents were there, they had come with me from Tashkent; and the third room was ours, where our youngest daughter, Katusha, was also with us. They were surprised themselves, and said that there was nothing to find here. This was in the presence of witnesses. And we were all so scared, our dogs even got quiet, we have two of them. Katyusha woke up and was standing at the door of the room… And one of the officers said to my husband in front of everyone: “Take off your belt, or you might want to hang yourself.” Can you imagine, in front of the child? She was quiet when I entered the room, no tears were shed. But she had such a nervous breakdown… And then the harassment of TV people started, I think it was worse than the Western paparazzi. Journalist Anna Medoyan (Person and Law, ORT) and her team somehow found out the address, went to the door, rang the bell… Dad was just taking the rubbish out and they were filming everything with a hidden camera, as it turned out later. They said: “You don’t want to give an interview, we’re from the programme ‘The Man and the Law’ “.  My mother said that I could not tell the truth about the Law and the people. They did not give an interview, but of course they used the footage for their own purposes. And somehow they find out when I go to see my husband, they literally catch me out. I think that the media is coordinating their “work” with the prosecutor’s office, I mean, they have their own people everywhere. The first investigator Breev was dismissed from the case because he had committed so many violations and he did not even hide his interest in the outcome of the case.

Question: What is going on? As a journalist investigating the case I often ask the same question to the participants of the events. Some say it is a political struggle, others see opposition from terrorist organizations and so on. For you, what is the meaning of what is happening?

Yelena Yegereva: You know, if this situation had not happened in my life I would always have continued to think that I live in a normal state, that there are laws here, that there is somewhere to look for protection and truth. But alas. Wherever I went, whoever I met… I went to the General Prosecutor’s Office to see the supervising prosecutor of the investigation department. They called to the secretariat, they said – Grabovoi’s wife was here. And they added – had they seen her before? Apparently they said that no. They were not lazy to come down to examine me and to say: “We will not receive Grabovoy’s wife”. Do you understand? And when I came to Danilov, the head of the department for supervision of investigative actions, there was no response at all. I said: “Hello, I am the wife of Grigori Grabovoi”. And they answered me: “What wife? They say he has many wives”. Such conversations are held by the officials on duty who must supervise the observance of lawfulness of their colleagues, to say nothing of the fact that the law of the same Prosecutor Office includes a clause that one must not rely on the information disseminated by the mass media. Not to mention the ethical side of things. Or this woman who claims from TV screens that she is the astral wife of Grigori Grabovoi, what does she do that for? Does she not create a negative image of my husband in the eyes of the whole country? I am not saying what it means for me and my family. She claims that she loves him. But when a man loves, he does good, right? And that’s what you have to go through, too… And the number of complaints I’ve written… Nowhere, nothing is being dealt with. Absolutely. In Khamovnicheskiy court my complaint about not being allowed to see my husband for a power of attorney was considered for six months, until it was no longer relevant. Without its satisfaction I still managed to get meetings. But how much effort it took to break through that wall! Of course, there were some positives too – now I was studying the CPC. Now I know it no worse than some prosecutors, I am sure of it 🙂

Question: Yelena, what does Grigory Petrovich tell you about what is going on? And what are his forecasts about future events?

Yelena Yegereva: I think he wants to show what is going on in our country. One journalist once wrote that if, God forbid, there is a trial of Grabovoy, it will be an indicator of the whole judicial reform. And not only that. It shows that in our state nobody is safe from anything. They can take anybody, hang everything on him, what was and was not, and destroy him – morally and physically. Even to stitch it all together with white threads. When I was at the reception of Kutovoy, prosecutor of Central Administrative District of Moscow, I talked to him about the “Beslan variant” of incriminating evidence, about how the defence side proved that my husband was not there and promised nothing. And he said, “We know, we made this up about Beslan”. And this comes from the prosecutor! But the prosecutor’s office launched the case on the basis of journalistic articles about Beslan, which were built on slander. And when you talk to them, you feel as if you are being interrogated, they behave in a most savage way. Kutovoy also shouted at me: “Look into my eyes!”. I can imagine what they do in prisons and how they treat people. So, there is still a lot to tell… In his forecast Grigory says that everything will be fine anyway. Just at the moment: “The worse, the better” :-). That is, there is a positive in every seemingly negative event. I know he will be released soon, no matter how they spin it. There will still be honest and professional people in the law enforcement system. They exist and I have met with them. And most importantly, we have nothing to fear, we have done nothing wrong. And no one will ever see my tears, no matter how much they want it.

Recording of the interview 02.03.2007 Moscow