At the scene of the assassination attempt on Gulagu.net founder Vladimir Osechkin, French security forces found “small rubber bullets.” Investigators believe that a year ago, when the human rights activist saw a laser directed towards his house, someone played a joke on him. The Project found this out after talking with Osechkin in Biarritz.
In September 2022, the founder of Gulagu.net spoke about an attempt on his life in Biarritz, France, while he was at home with his family. According to the human rights activist, Bellingcat journalist Hristo Grozev warned him about the impending assassination attempt. Even earlier, Osechkin claimed that the performer was being sought among those who had left Chechnya.
Project journalists noticed that during the year, no new details related to the assassination attempt or the investigation of the case became known. They asked Osechkin to answer questions, then he invited them to Biarritz, where his home is located. Upon entering, the correspondents were searched by four men in civilian clothes. As the human rights activist clarified, these are employees of a special unit of the French police – the Protective Service.
Immediately after news of the assassination attempt, French security forces reported that they did not have “objective evidence” of an attempt to kill the human rights activist. Now Osechkin, to prove his words, showed journalists a document, which, according to him, reflects the position of the investigation, as well as an audio recording of a conversation with a security guard – the police officer was not present in the room at the alleged moment of the shooting.
For visiting correspondents, the human rights activist translated a document drawn up by French law enforcement officers, but did not mention some of the details, and changed the meaning of some. For example, the part that Osechkin presented as information that neighbors also saw the laser speaks of investigators’ assumption that someone was playing a joke on the founder of Gulagu.net. The security guard on the audio recording spoke about “small rubber bullets” found in the room – the human rights activist decided to omit this.
The Project also contacted Hristo Grozev, who, Osechkin claimed, warned him about the impending murder. The journalist explained that he warned the human rights activist about the intention of thief in law Badri “Kutaisky” Koguashvili to come to Biarritz. Previously, he called him an FSB agent and a threat. At the same time, Grozev had no information about Koguashvili’s interest in Osechkin.
As follows from the publication, the founder of Gulagu.net considered many to be involved in the activities of the FSB. He complained about one of these acquaintances, Pavel Shchetinin, to the FSB itself. UntilIn 2016, he worked at the Main Center for Engineering, Technical Support and Communications of the Federal Penitentiary Service. After attempts to force him to participate in a corruption scheme, Shchetinin became Osechkin’s informant. When the man began to be called in for interrogation, the human rights activist offered him help in obtaining political asylum in France.
Shchetinin had to pay 40 thousand euros for the services of lawyers selected by Osechkin. However, the ex-FSIN employee was able to immediately deposit only part of the amount. Later, the man realized that the cost of services could be exaggerated by almost 10 times. In addition, his lawyers never contacted him. Then Shchetinin wrote to Osechkin, who, in turn, disclosed to the FSB information about the whereabouts of the ex-FSIN employee.
The head of Gulagu.net instructed the organization’s coordinator Boris Ushakov to send a letter to the department’s reception office stating that Shchetinin is in France and from there continues to “coordinate the FSIN corruption scheme.” Soon the man was detained by Interpol at the request of Russia. As a result, the French security forces released him. Osechkin denies his appeal to the FSB. “This person was and is in contact with the Russian FSB,” he answered a question about Shchetinin.