Russian Soldier Behind Ukraine Memoir Says Was Kidnapped,

  • Pavel Filatyev wrote a memoir about his time fighting in Ukraine. He fled Moscow for a secret location last week.
  • On Monday, he was detained by special-ops agents in the middle of the night, he said.
  • He said he was interrogated for up to eight hours before he was finally let go.

A Russian paratrooper said he was kidnapped by special-ops agents and interrogated for eight hours after publishing a detailed account of the Ukraine war, a human-rights group working with him said in a statement shared with Insider.

Pavel Filatyev, who served with the Russian military’s 56th Airborne Regiment, fled Moscow last week and is currently in an undisclosed location in Europe.

In a Tuesday livestream with Vladimir Osechkin, the head of the rights group, which Insider has translated, Filatyev said that he was sleeping in a hotel room when he was awoken at about 4 a.m. by eight men standing around his bed. 

“They didn’t really talk to me, they just gave orders: Get up,” Filatyev said. “Given that I was in a hotel, and my visitors somehow managed to get into my room, I figured that was not good news.”

The men then handcuffed him, put him in a white Land Cruiser outside the hotel, and drove for an hour to “what looked more like a military base than a police station,” he said.

“I kept thinking: This is it. I dodged the bullet in Ukraine, but here I meet my end,” he told Oschekin.

Filatyev said he was tied to a chair and waited for up to six hours before an interpreter arrived. Then, he was interrogated for eight hours, he said.

The men had taken his phone and read through all of his social-media accounts and emails, Filatyev said. They accused him of being a “intelligence officer” — they do not say for whom — and selling “secret data to the Americans about the war in Ukraine,” he added. 

“They made it clear that they are not interested in my attitude to war or my political views,” Filatyev added.

“I got the impression that they were a department for fighting extremism, not police. They had a lot of theories about me being an extremist and a terrorist. That was the reason I was not allowed a lawyer or my phone,” he said.

The interpreter also grew “absolutely exhausted” after the interrogation, he said.

Filatyev said he was finally released after about 16 hours in detention.

It is unclear who the men were. Filatyev said they “were not in uniform, showed no ID, and presented me with no explanation or accusation,” and that he believes they were definitely not Russian police. 


Filatyev spent months fighting on the frontlines in southern Ukraine before he was wounded and evacuated to Moscow in July.

While in recovery, Filatyev recounted his experiences in a 141-page memoir titled “ZOV” — a reference to Russia’s pro-war symbol.

The memoir, which he published on the Russian social-media platform VKontakte earlier this month, is the most detailed account of a Russian soldier fighting in Ukraine so far.

It mostly describes chaos within the Russian army in Ukraine, which included scared commanders, unmotivated soldiers, and disdain for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

He was able to escape Moscow last week with the help of 

While Filatyev made no mention of who the agents worked for. Osechkin, the group’s founder, accused Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) and Federal Security Service (FSB) of kidnapping Filatyev.

“Why do you slander and blatantly lie?” he said in a Monday statement. “Why do you smear and slander a modest and brave paratrooper, who served Russia and Russians for a long time, and try to make him look like a terrorist and extremist, setting him up for detention on false grounds and groundless suspicions?” 

The Russian Foreign Intelligence Service and Federal Security Service did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.