MOSCOW, February 8 (Itar-Tass) – The Moscow City Court on Friday recognised retired Colonel Vladimir Kvachkov of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Russian General Staff (GRU) guilty of attempted organisation of an armed rebellion to overthrow the Russian government, Judge Pavel Melekhin stated during sentencing. Kvachkov was also found guilty of recruiting individuals for the participation in the rebellion.
The retired colonel and the second defendant in the case, Alexander Kiselyov, were charged with an attempt to organise an armed rebellion to overthrow Russia’s Constitutional Order.
During the sides’ pleading in court, the prosecutor demanded that Kvachkov be sentenced to 14 years in a maximum security penitentiary, and Alexander Kiselyov, the second defendant, to 12 years, and have their freedom restricted for two years after serving their sentences. The prosecutor also demanded that the defendants be stripped of their military rank. He insisted that their guilt had been fully proven.
The investigator said Kvachkov, in order to implement his design, enlisted several persons, including Kiselyov, and issued instructions to them. “For example, he ordered to find people in Moscow for preparing an armed munity. His agent Manrik selected such people, and sent them for military training to the Myakinino firing range,” Prosecutor Alexander Remizov noted, underlining that Kvachkov had engaged in similar activities in St. Petersburg and Samara.
According to the prosecutor, Kiselyov had recruited a group of ten persons in St. Petersburg in 2010 and purchased weapons. On July 10, 2010, he instructed them and named the date of the mutiny. During that period - from April through July - he was preparing the munity and selected the town of Kovrov, Vladimir Region, as the venue for illegal actions.
Kvachkov and Kiselyov planned to seize the buildings of the Interior Ministry, the Federal Security Service (FSB) and the Emergency Situations Department in Kovrov, as well as weapons and ammunition. However, the retired Colonel was unable to carry his plans through due to extraneous circumstances.
At the Tuesday hearing, Kvachkov’s lawyer asked the court to acquit him, despite his claiming his right to uprising. “Do not be bewildered by our talking about our client's innocence whereas he insists on his right to uprising. Simply it is his opinion, which has no corpus delicti,” lawyer Alexei Pershin said, underlining that “Kvachkov’s opinion about the inevitability of uprising does not indicate that he admits his guilt or his wish to prepare a munity.”
The lawyer noted that during the investigation, the prosecutor was unable to prove that “two pensioners - one of which lived in Moscow and the other in St. Petersburg and who did not know each other - were trying to overthrow the government.”
“Kvachkov, as head of people’s militia, contributed to the patriotic upbringing of young people. He has been a supporter of a powerful and strong-willed state. The prosecutor also failed to presence specifics: who recruited whom, how many recruits there were and where they had gone.”
“As for the jail term demanded by the prosecutors, they punish murders with softer sentences. The court can only strip Colonel of his army rank, but Kvachkov is also a Cossack Colonel and this rank cannot be taken away,” the lawyer noted.
The guilt of the defendants is therefore not proven. “I’m asking the court to acquit them due to a lack of corpus delicti,” Pershin said.
“Despite the fact that Kvachkov and Kiselyov pleaded not guilty, the judicial investigation found full evidence of their guilt,” Prosecutor Alexander Remizov concluded.
The retired colonel and another defendant Alexander Kiselyov were charged under the RF Criminal Code articles “an attempt to organise an armed rebellion” and “recruitment or involvement of individuals in terrorist activities.” The latter is also charged with illegal possession of arms and explosives.
During the trial Kvachkov rejected the charges of plotting an armed rebellion, recognising the formation of “guerrilla groups.” “The ‘People’s Militia’ was preparing guerrilla exercises for rebuffing a foreign intervention, and not for an armed rebellion,” said the defendant. According to him, the case was fabricated because of his intensive public activity.
The retired colonel was arrested based on the testimony of the regional leader of his organisation People’s Militia. Kvachkov himself explained that in the summer of 2010 the head of the organisation’s Togliatti branch was arrested: 10 days after his arrest, he made a confession, which formed the basis of charges against the retired colonel.
Earlier, several more people were convicted in Yekaterinburg in the case of the uprising preparation.
Kvachkov was the key suspect in the case over the assassination attempt on the life of chief of RAO UES electric utility Anatoly Chubais on March 17, 2005. A jury found all the defendants in the assassination attempt case not guilty, in a marathon eight-hour session overnight to August 21, 2010. Kvachkov later won a 450,000-rouble damages suit against the state for illegal prosecution.