July 27, 2015 | JOSHUA YAFFA | The New Yorker
The line for lawyers and family members to get into Lefortovo prison starts to form around five in the morning. The building, on a quiet street just east of Moscow’s Third Ring Road, now officially belongs to the Ministry of Justice, but it’s still informally known as the prison of the F.S.B., a successor agency to the K.G.B. Early on June 16, 2014, one of the prisoners awaiting visitors was Boris Kolesnikov, a general who had been the deputy head of the Interior Ministry’s anticorruption department. Along with nearly a dozen other officers from his unit, he had been charged with entrapment and abuse of authority, running an “organized criminal organization” that illegally ensnared state bureaucrats in artificially provoked corruption schemes.
Kolesnikov’s lawyer, Sergei Chizhikov, arrived around dawn and stood in line for several hours. At 9 A.M., guards began letting in a few people at a time. By eleven, Chizhikov was still waiting. Eventually, a guard told him that his client had been taken to another site, the headquarters of the Investigative Committee—the Russian equivalent of the F.B.I.—for questioning. “Look for him there,” the guard said.
When Chizhikov finally made it to an interrogation room on the Investigative Committee’s sixth floor, he found Kolesnikov seated at a table with an investigator and two guards. Kolesnikov, who was thirty-six, was clean-shaven and dressed in a blue tracksuit. He had the muscular frame of a cop, but a smooth, youthful face and puffy cheeks.