French businessman talks about his terrifying run in with the SBU and the Right Sector in Ukraine

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April 9, 2015

This story was sent to us by Thierry Laurent-Pellet, originally appearing  on Russia Insider on March 21, 2015 

In an exclusive interview, French entrepreneur and long-time resident of Ukraine, Thierry Laurent-Pellet, describes his run-in with the SBU and Right Sector — and explains why he has little faith in Poroshenko’s post-Maidan regime

A truly shocking, firsthand account of the corruption and terror that has seized Ukraine

Thierry Laurent-Pellet knows Ukraine like “the bottom of his pocket.” The French entrepreneur spent nine years in the country, experiencing firsthand the rampant corruption and political opportunism that still prevails in Kiev to this day. Thanks to the “revolution of dignity,” Thierry has also experienced an SBU interrogation — and a Right Sector beating that has left him with serious health problems. But first, some background. 

In an interview with Russia Insider, Thierry described life under the leadership of Merkel’s favorite crook, Yulia Tymoshenko (“I visited an orphanage in Odessa where children slept in cardboard boxes”) as well as the lead-up to Maidan and the downfall of Viktor Yanukovych. In Thierry’s own words: 

When Thierry returned to Dnipropetrovsk in February, five armed men detained him on suspicion of “terrorism”. Listen to him retell his bizarre interrogation at the hands of the SBU, and how he was later tailed by machete-wielding Right Sector goons as he traveled back to Kiev. Unfortunately Thierry did not escape unscathed. 

As a result of the attack, Thierry now suffers from a serious spine injury. Forced to flee the country he loves, he doesn’t expect the situation in Ukraine will improve — especially now that the IMF is calling for sweeping austerity in a country where many live on less than 200 Euros a month. Here is his suggestion to the managing director of the IMF, Christine Lagarde:

Could economic instability and political unrest lead to yet another Maidan? Thierry thinks it’s possible — and expects that any future uprising in Ukraine would be “extremely violent.” 

Laurent-Pellet is planning to return to Ukraine in hopes of securing the release of Spartakus Golovachev, an athlete and political prisoner currently on hunger strike. Below is an appeal Thierry sent to the Ukrainian government on his behalf:

Mr Yaroslav YUDIN

Deputy Delegation Secretary, Chief Consultant – Secretariat of the Committee on Foreign Affairs

Verkhovna Rada

Gospodin Yudin,

I am French entrepreneur, I lived in Ukraine nine years and participate 2 times to IDCEE conference as speaker. I advised several French deputies at French Parliament including deputy Thierry Mariani (in charge of french citizen living abroad), former minister of transportation and colleague of Christine Lagarde chairman of IFM (Former minister of economy in President Sarkozy). I use to be an athlete as I was ten years member of the national speed skiing team and use to be ranked in the twenty faster skiers in the world reaching the speed of 234 km/h (I was interviewed on TV for an advertisement of Bukovel resort). I competed taking enormous risks but never been taking more risks than coming back to Kiev two weeks ago, getting arrested by SBU, put into custody for 6 hours, harassed on  bus by Praviy Sektor members, getting assaulted in a Maidan restaurant and got seriously injured on spine (and this necessitate very serious injection treatment that left me in pain with no release). I am astonished to see the way Ukraine is turning today. You decided to turn it in the direction of European Union but did you really understand the values it represents?

When I came in Ukraine in Feb 2005 I immediately loved your country and decided to leave USA and France to establish my business, today dead because of Maidan event which destabilized completely my operations, leaving a decade of efforts on the ground. The events occurring along the year 2014-15, not only shocked me but turned out to infuriate me over the dozen of people that got killed because it could have been a sister, a daughter, a mother or a friend… I follow up very tightly what is happening in a country I was considering as mine. I am wondering why nobody is getting prosecuted over all those murders. But I am worrying a lot about the constitutional and legal right of citizens of Ukraine whoever they are, whatever they think, because in a democratic system people HAVE the right to think what they WANT. Your president Poroshenko was in Paris for the memorial of our journalists killed for their freedom of speech, did he realize what it meant at that moment, when in his own country citizens are persecuted for what they are or think?

I have been hearing about the desperate situation of Spartakus Golovachev, who use to represent your nation as diver. He opposed strongly the movement that led to the death of innocent Ukrainian citizens in Korsun, Odessa… Today he is jailed in the Kharkiv prison in the unit IR-100 dying of starvation, his human and constitutional right are not being respected. I feel terrible for this man and his family, I don’t really know but feel close to. I am asking you kindly to consider welcoming me in your office to discuss this unacceptable situation and to find out a way out of this terror instigated in Ukraine that will scare any entrepreneurs or investors as I am and use to be.

Looking forward to hear from you. 

Best regards, T.Laurent-Pellet

Thierry is still waiting for a reply. 

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