Ordering us to grab our things, they took us through the snow along the road back. In that snowy valley, where we had shacked up for five nights, a bulldozer circled with Pirogov at the wheel! Travnik waved his hand at us and asked me something. However, I didn't have the possibility to answer him. They assembled us in the snow. And we stood under the guns, awaiting further orders.
They sat us in several UAZs - hands behind the head, head on the knees, a barrel at the forehead and we practically swam to Bannoe. The water had already reached the height of about a meter around the wheels on the road. We got stuck an innumerable amount of times. In Bannoe, the lordly officers drank with the local police in the barracks at the entrance of the village (the bottles of vodka on the table were visible through the window that was in the place they stuck us). I envied the officers. And I told my people, "The National Bolshevik Party was genuinely born today, boys. Remember this day - April 7, 2001."
"No talking!" The menacing, lanky one entered.
Towards night they took us to an isolation cell for temporary holding in Ust-Koks. I took two packs of cigarettes from my bag and they brought me to my cell. Two slanted-eyed half-Russian guys sat there: Lyokha and Sashka. I gave them a pack of cigarettes. On the top there were two leveled wooden cots standing on metal frames, an oak in the corner, a metal bench. In the opposite corner there was a barrel coved with a rag. Sashka was a horse thief. Lyokha drew, Sashka slept, and I dictated to Lyokha the text of the song "Cigarette Butt." (It's about a butt with red lipstick stains on it. If Aleshkovsky had been there, he would have been thrilled.) Then I lay facing the wall, covered myself with my long-suffering sheepskin coat and fell asleep. Lyokha drew, paced around and then fell asleep next to me.
In the morning, it became clear through the cleaning woman -- the veteran jailbird Bakhur fixed the connection -- that they interrogated, threatened, and beat our boys all night; they held pistols to their temples, put bullets in their pockets, intending to create evidence against me. To fabricate that we were planning an armed invasion of Kazakh territory. After some time, they called me out with my things. I said goodbye to my cellmates. They were supposed to be brought to a jail with an Arab name closer to Mongolia. I knew that they would take me West.
All eight of us were brought into the yard. They let six go, I gave them all my Russian money, the cash that remained. They took two, Sergei Aksyonov and me, across Altai in an UAZ with three constantly laughing sentries who were holding us at gunpoint. Military vehicles drove in front of us, and the officers were in one of them. Sergei and I were in handcuffs. We rolled so long and purposelessly through wild mountains that I started to suspect, "Could they be taking us to Kazakhstan? Or they'll stop the UAZ and shove it over the edge of a cliff?" I already didn't doubt the lunacy of the secret service.
No. They took us to the FSB's base in Gorno-Altaisk. They didn't turn us over to the IVS; they fed us cold pelmeni on paper plates because there wasn't enough time. They gave us cookies and tea. First, the witness Major Shafarov interrogated Sergei Aksyonov and me. At the end of the protocol I signed that the detainment effectively took place a day and a half before, at 7 o'clock the morning of April 7.
Towards night they took us in two cars. In one -- next to the chauffeur -- Lt. Colonel Kuznetsov sat (his voice and manner expressed themselves like Sergei Zharikov, never leader of the DK group). They placed me in the back seat, between Captain Kondratyev and a Barnaul cop. In the other car Edward Vadimovich sat in the front seat, not in good form due to his drinking; Sergei Aksyonov was in the back between Major Shafarov and someone else. We started moving. When it became apparent that the tape player in our car worked poorly, Kuznetsov swore, stopped the car and we switched cars. Edward Vadimovich got out en route to puke; more specifically, his friends carried him out. Kuznetsov wanted me to listen to their hit songs. "Gleb Zheglov and Volodya Sharapov" and "Cheka." The fat cop lights spun, the cars on the road clung to the curb.