Free at Last: Stanislav Aseyev
Stanislav Aseyev has personally taken down a banner calling for his release from imprisonment. The Ukrainian journalist was taken captive by Russian controlled forces in Donetsk in June 2017. He was later accused of being a spy for the Ukrainian government and sentenced to prison for 15 years. He was freed in a prisoner exchange on December 29, 2019
This banner on the balcony of The Ukrainian Week office in central Kyiv is no longer needed. It was hung here in support of the magazine’s Donetsk reporter.
In June 2017, Stanislav Aseyev was kidnapped by the Russian controlled forces in occupied Donetsk, then accused of espionage and sentenced to 15 years in prison. Aseyev was released as part of a prisoner exchange between Ukraine and Russia just before New Year’s eve.
Now the reporter is in Kyiv to take down the banner personally.
Holding the banner, now signed, Aseyev comes out to the media along with the magazine’s Editor in Chief. The reporter admits, he is still struggling to believe he is free at last.
“I’m still coming to grips with this. As I said, it will take some getting used to, and that includes adapting to the rhythm of the city, as I’m not used to it. I never had a chance to get used to it. I guess, now I should,” Aseyev said.
The released political prisoner is undergoing medical check-ups. Like the majority of prisoners released from captivity, Aseyev has developed dental problems. That aside, he seems to have no major health issues.
According to Aseyev, the hardest part was not seeing his friends and family for so long. He is now keen to meet with everyone.
“The first few days I kept thinking about my family. More than about myself, I was concerned about my mother and what she was going through. In a way it was harder for her psychologically than it was for me. But then, throughout all that time your mental state keeps transforming. After 1 month it’s different, and after 5 it’s different again, and still different after a year. A person can adapt even to things that are completely unthinkable,” Aseyev said.
The FREE ASEYEV banner was put on the balcony following the phony verdict of the Russian controlled court in Donetsk.
“I was very bold in my expectations and claims, when I said that, just like Roman Sushchenko, Stanislav will come and take down this banner himself. Even though I wasn’t really sure this was going to happen, but it was something I needed to believe. We’ll keep it in our offices. This is our keepsake now,” Dmytro Krapyvenko, Editor in Chief at The Ukrainian Week magazine, said.
After the symbolic removal of the banner, Aseyev held a book signing session for ‘In Isolation.’ This compilation of articles about Donbas was released while he was in captivity.