Mikhail Abyzov and Dmitry Zakharchenko, Ilya Sachkov and Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Valeria Novodvorskaya and Stalin's son. What unites these people? All of them have ever been or are now in the famous Lefortovo pre-trial detention center.

“A secret prison for spies”, “a prison from which you cannot get out”, “a prison in which instead of torture, FSB officers are fed with“ truth pills ”. Hundreds of legends are really known about the Lefortovo pre-trial detention center. Since 1917, the country's most closed isolation ward has been used for torture and interrogation of military spies, dissidents and other "traitors to the Motherland." But there are not so many documentary descriptions of the arrangement of the prison complex. That is why the VChK-OGPU telegram channel and decided to make a series of publications with the memories of a person who spent three years in the Lefortovo pre-trial detention center. And I left there quite recently. That is, this is a unique story of a person who knows a lot about the pre-trial detention center and its modern structure. For obvious reasons, we do not mention his name.

Foreword from the hero.

“Lefortovo SIZO” seems to all of us to be something otherworldly, incomprehensible, unknown, and few people dare to try to see with their own eyes everything that is happening there inside. Members of the POC, who are in a hurry with each new inmate to go and find out how he is doing and write a note about it, are the same characters as visitors to the museum, whose gaze is directed to the pictures on the walls and nothing more. Life itself inside the SIZO is different, it is interesting and informative. I will not believe that a person after, say, one year inside these walls will be able to remain what he was, no better or no worse, he becomes different: gait, look, food preferences change. Whoever has not passed through these walls, and the meaning of these lines will differ little from the lines of Solzhenitsyn or Khasbulatov, but it is still surprising how you can preserve the same atmosphere for 80 years.

Day 1




In the paddy wagon, when they were driving me alone, the escort asked me a question with pity, which cops, by the way, more than the security officers, "why are you in Lefortovo", to which I replied "For beautiful eyes", on the trip from Butyrka to the new shelter for the last 3 years, I hoped until the last that it was a joke and that they would return me back to Butyrka, where all my investigation would take place. But the area is the same, the floodgates have opened and we are inside. I often watched a movie about Spies on YouTube and there was a video when General Polyakov was detained and brought to the old RAF, this is an analogue of the GAZelle, he was led through this courtyard, only there were people in suits, and I was led by ordinary cops. And now my time has come to cross the threshold of the walls, where so many famous people were serving, and, to be honest, I was a little bursting with pride, but this is typical, you have to please yourself somehow, in front of the unknown that awaits ahead, for three whole years.

At the entrance there is a huge wooden door, in the style of the Stalinist Empire, I think at the auction this piece of architecture would have gone for a 6-digit figure for sure. Inside the building, you run into a T-shaped corridor, and on the right there is a point where attendants sit with a huge number of monitors, and right in front of the entrance there is a camera directed at you, you don't often see such huge cameras, probably, the building is old or it is an element of intimidation, which in this institution is very much. Its size is about 40 m in length and width somewhere in the usual building block. And the corridor is covered with carpets, in the same style as I said earlier, I have often seen such in post-Soviet institutions. Before the person on duty, they are asked to name the full name, article and all the information that they verify with pieces of paper. It does not take much time, then you are asked to go through the frame of a metal detector and lead into a room that resembles an emergency room, and in the whole room it is impossible to see one object saying that today is not 1989: laundry soap, a white enamelled iron sink, a couch with such an orange piece of leather that I remember tied to the wrists of children at birth. The only decoration of the new achievements of civilization is a snow-white toilet, which flushes with a button, but definitely from a Russian factory. No one said unnecessary words, in general these walls are very sparing of words, and in general, of any emotions, this is also rather a part of the strategy that permeates every corner of this building. In a room that looks like a Soviet emergency room or a medical office at a school, in the corner there is a cage measuring one meter by one meter, where they took me, and the employee who locked me in the cage asked with a smirk "where are you taking me?" Then the doctor came in, a woman who saw whom I was dumbfounded, and really I thought that all those people who work here are either fans of the scoop or they demand to look like this, her lips were painted with bright red lipstick, a cap on her head, and bangs curled with curlers, as my sister often did back in the early 90s. She questioned me for a long time about my health, checked my heartbeat, pulse, asked questions if there were scars on my body, tattoos, and how could I, without a matchmaker of saints, push my buttocks apart that they want to see in my hairy ass, I honestly cannot understand in any way. But the theater is just beginning and it becomes even more interesting for me to move on.

They confiscated all my things, practically all food, except for mayonnaise, soap and a toothbrush with paste, they gave me a robe or uniform, which was all torn and worn out, and they took me inside the building along a long corridor. The answer to any questions is silence, and after reading Solzhenitsyn, I am doubly more interested in learning and understanding the device inside. Then they take me into a small room, 1 by 1 in size, and close it inside, it resembles a pantry that are in the kitchens of modern houses, sheathed with old Soviet ceramic tiles, along the way there was one standard of tiles throughout the scoop, exactly the same was in the toilet my uncle, so clean and well-groomed, as if it had been pasted over quite recently, I was asked to undress and when I was naked in some slippers, the door opened and I was handed a piece of laundry soap and a thin waffle towel, which they wanted the 100-kilogram bison to dry off with. In the shower, all the same ceramic tiles, and a very interesting attribute, such as I saw in the camp in Anapa in 89, there is a pipe and from it there is a branch of three pipes so that three can take a shower, and at the end of the branch, which is rusty, is wound such a shower head, beige-brownish in color, she is 40 years old, no less, but how it survived, the people pushing for the scoop will say. After the shower, they gave me sheets, and led me up the stairs, to the left of which there is a huge stainless steel ramp for a wheelchair, which was recently constructed, guess who was in these walls at that moment. And here we are on the length of the pre-trial detention center, where the cells are located on the sides, and everything is so quiet that it is surprising if there is anyone in the cells at all, the officers speak to each other only in whispers. And crystal clear. I was taken to cell number 43, which is located right at the entrance to the continuation, painted in light green, one of the two existing beds already has a mattress. The toilet in the cell is just a masterpiece, it is a cone made of iron, or if someone remembers when they bought seeds, a paper bag that is rolled up from paper, here the toilet in Lefortovo is the same, only made of iron and there is a seat made of plywood so that you can sit, and during use you need to unscrew the tap, and water flows along the iron cone. The time was approaching 7 pm, at this time usually dinner, for which I demanded to feed me, although there was no appetite at all, they brought me buckwheat with chicken in an enameled iron bowl, and gave me an aluminum mug for tea. They explained how to call the longitudinal one, you just need to flip the switch and the light comes on outside, and they come up and ask "what's the matter." With a new page in my life, I walked around the cell and went to bed, trying to fall asleep, but to do it in such silence, it was not an easy task for me.

To be continued

Maria Groznya