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Escape of Yurij Ilchenko

August 17, 2016 12:02 0 24404
How blogger from Sevastopol, who is tried for «extremism» in Crimea, managed to escape out of supervision, cross administrative border and meet with his parents.

– Did you wath the movie "The Shawshank Redemption"? So, there is such a story, – founder of Crimea-SOS Alim Aliyev begins his narration.

One summer morning an employee of the Lviv office of Crimea-SOS Sofia came to work and saw thin man near the door. Of course, almost every day internally displaced people  Crimea-SOS almost daily seek to help immigrants, but the history of this man would be enough for a novel, the reality of events which you believe is not right.

This man was Yurij Ilchenko, Sevastopol blogger. And he could not sit here theoretically, at the door, as was under house arrest in Crimea.

Meeting with parents


You can know the story of Yurij Ilchenko from the media, because he belongs to the list of "Crimean terrorists" and was arrested on July 2, 2015 by Russian security forces in Crimea. Special forces noticed Ilchenko after he published on his website an article in which he expressed his opinion on the annexation of Crimea by Russia.

We met with him in Novooleksiyivka, a town on the border of the Kherson region and Crimea, a few hours after the most important thing for him successfully completed – his parents were able to cross administrative border with Crimea.

– We run away from the country of fear. We still can not believe that you can not be afraid that someone will burst into your home at night, –father of Yurji Gennadij Malov (Ilchenko – last name of the mother, which Yurij has – Ed.) tells fearfully about life in occupied Crimea. This regime is unchanged: in 1937 the father of my wife was shot and she was born an orphan, and now here is her son would be put to prison.



Of course, teacher of foreign languages from Sevastopol Yurij Ilchenko did not commit any terrorist. Essentially the reason for the arrest was publishing articles on his blog calling to fight with Russian occupation of Crimea, performances with similar appeals on television (BTB) and unwillingness to take Russian citizenship.



Yuri Ilchenko was imprisoned for eleven months. During this time he lost 30 kg of weight.

At first he was tried ta make head of "Right Sector".

 – FSB demanded to sign a confession that I am coordinator in Sevastopol, or in all Crimea of "Right Sector" though I'm not officially a member of the organization, as well as of other political parties, – Yurij Ilchenko begins to tell his story.


He was in a ward together with the detainees on criminal articles: murder, rape and so on. They beat Yurij, urging to take Russian citizenship, humiliated for having spoken Ukrainian, forbade to read books and threatened to rape (fortunately, these threats have remained threats only).

The cells were overcrowded, beds lacked, often people had to sleep on the floor. In addition, the light in the ward was always on, constantly working TV. Sometimes people were deprived of sleeping completely, for example, for refusing to wear St. George ribbon on May 9.

Health care also was not properly provided. During transportation they could get people into a car together with those who had tuberculosis, and person having AIDS was taken into temporary isolator.

The worst conditions were in the punishment cell where Yurij, according to his words, got through coercion to take blame for another's violation. Punishment cell was a basement premises where rats and bugs were running around, where people had scabies. They did not get proper medical treatment.


On June 2, 2016, wonder has happened: at the request of defense Yurij was change measure of restraint to house arrest.



During house arrest Yurij was forbidden to go outside of apartment, to use telephone, Internet, to communicate with anyone except his parents. The police hitched special bracelet to the leg of the defendant, with a help of which could monitor the location of the defendant.

Given the threat to more than 10 years of being with bars, Yuri Ilchenko decided he lose anything and dared to escape.

On the night of June 12, Yurij left the apartment in his father's jacket and with his mother's stick, and knife in a secluded corner he cut the bracelet off with a kitchen, which he took with him.

He got by hitchhiking to the administrative border.

The border was secure with a kind of impenetrable wall, at first glance, thicket. Ilchenko said that he was confident from TV programs that there are mines and tripwires on both sides of the border. But the risk and possible death seemed a better choice for him than imprisonment in a Russian prison.

<...> He remembers that there was barbed wire everywhere, and he nearly got to deliberately dug pit once.

The fact that he successfully crossed the border is the most surprising in this story.

Despite he was crossing the border at night in complete darkness, in the morning the fugitive was already on the unoccupied territory of Ukraine.


Next day Yurij went by train to the city, where he always wanted to live.

Now Ilchenko establishing his life in Ukraine, where he is also transporting his parents. Rents a room, begins to engage with students in English.

— Actually I could flee abroad: I opened the five-year US visa, I have been to 18 countries. I still can go to Europe or to the United States, but I never wanted to leave my native country, especially in a difficult situation, — he says.

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