Dear Friends, Dear Colleagues, and all of you who have taken an interest in my plight and have supported me when I most needed it,
It is hard for me to describe the immense gratitude I feel. The eight-day hunger strike that I began in protest against my incarceration in the main prison in Nicosia, Cyprus, during which I was placed in isolation, is now over. As the days went by, I had absolutely no idea whether this protest would produce any result. I had no contact with the outside world. As soon as I was arrested, I was fully aware that, if I were sent back to Russia, there would be no chance that the courts would consider the trumped-up charges against me in an objective manner. If extradited, I would inevitably spend the next 15 years of my life in a Russian prison. Getting a fair trial is virtually impossible when the person pulling the strings of judicial persecution is none other than Konstantin Busygin, the head of the Federal Border Services and former CEO of the Kalashnikov factory.
On the eighth day of my hunger strike, I learned that a campaign for my release was under way. Honestly, this was a surprise for me, especially the participation in this campaign of such serious and renowned human rights NGOs as Reporters Without Borders, Russie-Libertés, KISA and the Union of Cypriot Journalists (Christos Christofides, in particular, has taken a great deal of interest in my case and has done everything possible to help me and to inform everyone). Such a campaign could obviously not have been possible without the participation of committed ordinary citizens in different countries.
I would personally like to thank each of you. There are many of you and yet I would like to shake each of you by the hand in recognition of the interest you showed in my fate, although I am a provincial journalist who mainly writes in and about a Russian region, the Republic of Udmurtia. I regard your support as a real miracle, one that has saved my life and my freedom. Every one of you has played a role, an enormous role.
I am happy and grateful that you have saved my life and have offered me the possibility of going back to work, even if it is far from my beloved homeland, which I really miss. I would like to think that one day, when the situation changes and Russia becomes a democratic country, I will be able to return home.
Once again, I thank each of you! And a special thanks to the Lithuanian authorities, who have agreed to examine my political asylum application.