Mykola Karpyuk


Political and public figure, deputy chairman of the Ukrainian party UNA–UNSO and leader of its Rivne regional branch


Dokka Itslaev, Ilya Novikov, Marina Dubrovina


  • Parts One and Two of Article 209 of the Russian Criminal Code currently in force (leadership of gang and participation in it),
  • Clauses ‘в,’ ‘з,’ and ‘н’ of Article 102 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Soviet Federal Socialist Republic, which expired in 1996 (murder of two or more persons in connection with the discharge of their official duties),
  • Part Two of Article 15 and clauses ‘в,’ ‘з,’ and ‘н’ of Article 102 of the same Code (attempted murder of two or more persons in connection with the discharge of their official duties)


March 17, 2014


22.5 years in tight security colony

Mailing address:

Karpyuk Nikolai Andronovich (born 1964), penal facility T-2, 67 Bolshaya Nizhegorodskaya Str., Vladimir, 600020, Russia

days in custody

Mykola Karpyuk (born on May 24, 1964) has been one of the leaders of the UNA–UNSO, a right-wing Ukrainian political party, which more recently became a co-founder of the Right Sector movement and the party of the same name.

In March 2014, the Right Sector’s leadership reportedly delegated Mykola to a meeting with the representatives of the Russian government. The meeting was supposedly organized by his fellow party member Vyacheslav Fursa. When crossing the state border, their car was stopped by the Federal Security Service officers under the pretext of an alleged administrative offense. Fursa and his driver were released before long, but Karpyuk was charged with the participation in the Chechen War. His location was kept secret for fourteen months, which caused anxiety over his life and safety.

While the Russian judges were considering the prolongation of his preventive punishment, Mykola’s interests were represented by court-appointed lawyers. According to his complaint, they did not provide him with proper defense but simply signed prefabricated documents. The numerous attempts of the lawyers retained by the family, as well as of the Ukrainian consular staff, to meet Mykola proved unsuccessful. Karpyuk’s first meeting with the independent lawyer Dokka Itslaev took place as late as the day before the first court session. Six previous lawyers had endeavored to see Mykola in vain.

On May 26, 2016, the Supreme Court of the Chechen Republic recognized Mykola Karpyuk ‘guilty’ of the leadership of a gang and participation in it, murders and attempted murders during the hostilities in North Caucasus in 1994. Karpyuk was sentenced to 22.5-year imprisonment in a tight-security penal colony. On October 26, 2016, the Russian Supreme Court declined the appeal of the defense and upheld the sentence on Karpyuk and Stanislav Klykh. In December 2016, Karpyuk was sent under guard to serve his sentence in the unfamous Vladimir prison (known as Vladimirskii tsentral).

Exculpatory evidence

1) false ‘testimony’ of the witness Oleksandr Malofeyev:

  • Malofeyev was the only witness in this case, and his words were not supported by the documentary evidence;
  • the conclusion about Malofeyev’s supposed membership of the UNA–UNSO is based, inter alia, on the tattoos with the party symbols on his body. However, such tattoos are not known to have been practiced by other party members. Moreover, Malofeyev’s involvement in the activities of the UNA–UNSO was not confirmed during the questioning of its members in Ukraine;
  • the witness was vulnerable to the pressure of the Russian investigative authorities given his diseases (HIV, tuberculosis, hepatitis B and C, and drug addiction) and respective dependence on medicine;
  • the comprehensive ‘Chechen War case’ was initiated back in 1997. However, the ‘evidence’ against Karpyuk appeared for the first time only years later, namely in Malofeyev’s words after the detention of Mykola in 2014;
  • Malofeyev’s reference to the Ukrainian politicians Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Dmytro Yarosh and Oleh Tyahnybok as alleged ‘participants’ of the Chechen War confirms the political bias of the case and casts doubts on the validity of the charge;

2) other circumstances:

  • the pieces of ‘evidence’ in the prosecution materials are not concordant with each other. For example, they say that 500 of 140 (sic!) Ukrainians who arrived in Chechnya took part in action. The ‘evidence’ also contradicts the data available in the documentary sources about the Chechen War;
  • the type of the weapons reportedly ‘used’ by Karpyuk for homicide does not match the type of the victims’ wounds. The established location of the most deaths does not correspond to the place where, according to the case file, the crime was ‘committed’;
  • the type of the weapons reportedly ‘used’ by Karpyuk for homicide does not match the type of the victims’ wounds. The established location of the most deaths does not correspond to the place where, according to the case file, the crime was ‘committed’;
  • the charge of banditism is not supported by the documentary base;
  • strikingly, the circulation and use of weapons and ammunition, as well as Karpyuk’s reported ‘use’ of tortures (all described in the case file), were not incriminated to him;
  • in the time of the imputed ‘criminal activity in Chechnya,’ Karpyuk was known to be an active public figure in Ukraine, as evidenced by the numerous publications in the Ukrainian media;
  • at the end of 1994, Mykola was recovering from the injuries he had got earlier and also nursing his infirm mother (who died in the beginning of 1995);
  • the limitation period for the crimes incriminated to Karpyuk expired in 2010;

3) illegal methods of investigation:

  • the accused were deprived of the right to an independent lawyer, consular defense and contact with the family for more than a year;
  • during the investigation, Karpyuk was subjected to severe tortures.


According to Karpyuk’s complaint to the European Court of Human Rights, he was subjected to the following kinds of torture: battery, asphyxiation, sleep deprivation, and the transmission of electric current through his genitals and other parts of his body.

What sounds particularly horrifying is his testimony about the needles shoved under his fingernails. This method calls up the associations with the torture characteristic of the Soviet NKVD, if not of the medieval Inquisition.

In addition, Karpyuk reportedly attempted to commit suicide with the help of a nail he found in his prison cell. The accident was said to have been prevented by the prison guards who had watched over him via a surveillance camera.