The intrigues of a recent exchange. Why is there a scandal in Russia?

Medic Yulia Paevskaya (Taira), who was taken prisoner in March, returned to Ukraine on an exchange. Who was she exchanged for, and why did a scandal arise around this event in Russia?

Disassembled edition “Country”who learned a lot. First, a little about who Tyra is – for those who do not know. This is a well-known Ukrainian volunteer, previously an aikido coach and designer. Here is what she says about herself:

As a paramedic, Yulia helped the wounded during the Maidan, continued her activities during the hostilities in the Donbass, and then served on a contract basis in the Armed Forces of Ukraine (2018-2020). Together with her hospital, she was in Shirokino, near Mariupol, and in 2021, Commander-in-Chief Zaluzhny awarded her with the Glory and Honor award.

During the ATO, Yulia Paevskaya (call sign Taira) organized a volunteer group “Taira’s Angels”, similar to Charlie’s Angels, which provided medical assistance to the military. In 2014-2015, publications appeared in the media, where she was called a doctor of the Ukrainian Volunteer Corps “Right Sector”.

Yulia was acquainted with the current adviser to the head of the Office of the President, Arestovich, and, as they say, it was he who brought her into volunteer work, making her an instructor in tactical medicine in his project “People’s Reservist”.

In February, after the Russian invasion, Taira ended up in Mariupol. On March 16, she evacuated the wounded from Azovstal, wrote the media in Russia, and was detained along with the driver by the Russian military. However, the real circumstances under which she was captured have not yet been disclosed. Video footage recorded by Taira herself shows that she was trying to save wounded Russian soldiers, as well as civilians in Ukraine.

Until May 20, there was no information about her whereabouts. Until the moment when the video of Yulia appeared, published by the agency Associated Press. During the entire time of her stay in Mariupol, she filmed it with a chest camera and miraculously managed to pass it on to journalists the day before the arrest.

According to AP, in the first two weeks of the war, she shot 256 gigabytes of video. On March 15, she handed over the notes to a police officer, who had already handed over the memory card to the Associated Press journalists, who by that time were the last journalists in Mariupol and were already supposed to leave the city. A data card the size of a thumbnail was taken out through 15 Russian checkpoints.

Attention: video 18+the content presented may shock:

After being captured, about a week later, Taira was shown in the Russian media, accompanied by the comment that she was “a member of the Azov battalion.” After that, negativity and accusations rained down. One of them is the alleged murder of a civilian man and woman in order to get out of the besieged Mariupol, taking their children. Moreover, the NTV channel released a film called “The Woman Nicknamed the Beast.”

However, not only were the accusations unsubstantiated, even the Russians themselves called the unfolding campaign a complete fabrication, comparable to the notorious “crucified boy.”

And against this background, 3 months after the arrest, the President of Ukraine briefly, without details, said that Yulia Paevskaya was already at home – she was released. In her video message on June 18, Yulia thanked Zelensky for his help, and commenting on her release, she said that all the time she “believed that it would be so.”

And meanwhile in Russia – scandal. First of all, due to the fact that “an ardent nationalist and murderer” ended up in Ukraine. But there is another reason related to corruption. In the Russian Federation, they wondered in exchange for what such a “gift” was made. The main version is that Taira was exchanged according to a corruption scheme for the son of one of Kadyrov’s associates. At the same time, supporters of the “special operation” began to resent why the “nationalist” was “quietly released”, and wondered if other “Azov” people would also be exchanged “quietly”.

Both sides did not reveal who Taira was traded for. At first there were rumors that some important Russian military (possibly pilots). But many did not believe in these assumptions, since in this case the release of the prisoners would have been officially announced by the Russian side (as it was earlier, during previous exchanges).

According to another version, Taira returned to Ukraine during the exchange “5 civilians for 5 civilians.” In the same days, the Ukrainian authorities announced such an exchange, and Yulia Paevskaya, as a doctor, could be recorded as a civilian. A couple of days ago, information appeared on Russian Telegram channels about the return of two young 20-year-old guys from Ukrainian captivity – from Tula and Orenburg. But they clearly “do not pull” on the pilots …

State Duma deputy and first deputy chairman of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs Shamsail Saraliyev participated in their release, on behalf of Ramzan Kadyrov. It was officially reported that the guys were released “without exchange.” But then a version appeared, and later caused a loud scandal.

The author of the scandalous publication was Irina Kuksenkova, a correspondent for the Russian Channel One. She said that in exchange for a Ukrainian paramedic, the son of Kadyrov’s permanent representative’s assistant in Crimea left for Russia. Moreover, not only Paevskaya was given out for him, but also … they paid 25 million rubles extra. The journalist believes that it was a corruption scheme. She writes:

“So, according to the results for now, there was a scheme (as for me, corrupt), where Isa Khachukaev and Murad Saidov rescued Gritsenko Adam Muradovich (the latter’s son) who was detained in Ukraine. They also gave him 25 million rubles in addition.”

It is easy to find in open sources that Isa Khachukaev is Chechnya’s permanent representative in the annexed Crimea. Murad Saidov is his assistant. In March, Chechen media reported that Saidov’s 20-year-old son had been “kidnapped” from his apartment in Ukraine by secret services. It was also reported that Adam lived in Ukraine and was a citizen of this country. That is, he clearly did not fight for Russia and is not a prisoner of war. And soon Adam himself gave an interview to the Ukrainian media and stated that no one had kidnapped him. And he spoke extremely negatively about Kadyrov.

If, nevertheless, he was exchanged for Taira, then, according to the Russians who support the invasion of Ukraine, this is really a scandal – they exchanged some kind of major, and not a Russian military man. Igor Bezler, a former commander of the “DPR” in Gorlovka, who now lives in Crimea, spoke out indignantly about this:

“…Officially, this Murad Saidov (the criminal chaser Sutu) is presented either as a deputy representative of the head of the Chechen Republic in the Republic of Kazakhstan and Sevastopol, or as a representative of the Akhmat Kadyrov Foundation. For Murad Saidov, Melitopol was actually his hometown. Until 2012, he lived in it, and was considered a prominent representative of the criminal world of Zaporozhye, watching.In 2012, after a series of showdowns, Saidov was detained by local security forces and deported from Ukraine.This exchange really showed that the son-major of a criminal authority that rubs near Isa Khachukaev, not a day who did not fight is more important than any Russian pilot, artilleryman, tanker or motorized rifleman who is in captivity.

A few days after the start of the scandal, on Monday, Kadyrov and Murad Saidov himself unanimously denied the rumors about the exchange of Taira for the latter’s son. Saidov assured that his son Adam Gritsenko is a citizen of Ukraine and is still “in captivity.” But Irina Kuksenkova continued to insist on her version:

“So, we heard Murad Saidov’s position and accepted it. God grant that it be so. But my sources, with whom I have been working for twenty years, continue to stand their ground and claim that the Deputy Head of the Main Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine, Colonel Dmitry Usov, dealt with the issue of Adam Gritsenko , allegedly he released Gritsenko from custody in Zaporozhye after Taira ended up in Ukraine … “.

And what about the millions allegedly paid out in the exchange process? If the journalist is right, then people are released for money? That is, a large corruption business has managed to form around the exchange of prisoners? And it cannot be ruled out that this is precisely why each exchange of prisoners is practically not accompanied by any detailed information.

The Taira exchange scandal revealed another rather important point related to the war in Ukraine – serious contradictions between Kadyrov and Russian structures. It is not difficult to understand that the promotion of this scandal, in which Russian journalists and telegram channels connected with the security forces are involved, deals the main blow precisely to the head of Chechnya.

After the invasion, he turned into one of the top figures in Russia. Chechens are generally active in the media, and if you take news only from social networks, then there is a feeling (especially at the beginning of the war) that Chechens are mainly fighting in Ukraine. And Kadyrov acts as the main “manager” of the occupied territories. Saidov, for example, is called looking after Melitopol.

It is not hard to guess that Kadyrov’s “dominant” role irritates many in Russia, to put it mildly. Hence the scandal. Undoubtedly, by universal efforts it will soon be stopped. But will the problem remain? At what point and with what force it will escalate again – one can only guess …

Rumors abound about who Tyra was traded for. But the truth is not yet available, only a narrow circle of those involved in the process knows it. In the meantime, just in case, the Azov commanders were transferred from the DPR to Moscow’s Lefortovo.

Advisor to the Office of the President of Ukraine Oleksiy Arestovich claims, writes “Correspondent“that the Taira exchange was handled at the highest level. In exchange for a Ukrainian paramedic, Kyiv handed over to Moscow “someone significant”, without specifying who it was. An adviser to the President’s Office said this in an interview with Russian human rights activist Mark Feygin on Tuesday, June 21 As Arestovich says, it is likely that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally dealt with the issue:

“This decision was made at the highest level. Putin in general, according to my feelings and some information, is personally involved in each captive.”

At the same time, he did not confirm or deny the information of the Russian media that he was the son of a friend of Kadyrov. However, he noted: “We have collected a sufficient number of iconic (prisoners, ed.), and very serious exchanges are possible for them.”

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