In September, Vlad Bakhov, a schoolboy from Smolensk, who disappeared in the forest in the spring of 2019, was supposed to be 18 years old. For almost a year, the teenager was looking for rescuers, the military, police and sorceresses. The case of his disappearance is called "Smolensk Twin Peaks", writes with the BBC.
It was dark and cold in the January forest. The ground was illuminated by a flashlight beam from a mobile phone. The stepfather of a schoolboy who was lost last spring, Ivan Fadeev, was kneeling in a puddle of snow and ice and howling. In front of him lay a white cloth, on which investigators had collected human bones a few hours ago.
“Ivan howled like a wolf. I've never heard that. He did not yell, did not shout, did not cry. Howl, ”recalls journalist Natalya Leshchinskaya, who that evening stood next to him in the Smolensk thicket, dug by irrigation canals.
The reporter turned on the camera on her mobile and started filming. There were still bones under the bush, which the investigators did not notice.
Six months later, in July 2020, the family of the disappeared Vlad Bakhov and my lawyer are going to the same place. After 40 minutes of walking along swamps, streams, mud, through thorny branches and thickets of nettles higher than a person, we find ourselves on an island between the streams. The mother sits down on the wet ground, the stepfather shows the lawyer where the bones lay in winter: he says that the hole dug by the investigators has not been tightened.
For the second year, parents are trying to find out what happened to their son, a 16-year-old schoolboy, who disappeared in this forest on April 6, 2019.
“Always fit in for the younger ones”
A 35-year-old resident of Smolensk, Ivan Fadeev, a lawyer, began raising Vlad when he was five years old. Fadeev did not communicate with Vlad's own father, Andrei Bakhov: his wife Anastasia went to him with her child and moved to Smolensk. But Vlad called both men dads: he went to his father in Demidov for the weekend, did his homework with Ivan.
Vlad became independent early on. His younger brother, the son of Anastasia and Ivan, was born in intensive care. The baby was given 12 diagnoses in the first week of life, and the doctors have already given up and said: "Give birth again." The bearded long-haired Fadeev lost his hair from his nerves. The boy was baptized “with tubes and catheters”. Mother Anastasia went with him to a Moscow hospital: eight operations were to be performed.
Fadeev and Vlad were left alone - then they especially got along. And even after the divorce from Anastasia in 2014, the stepfather with the teenager remained on friendly terms.
“The son is one of those who will listen, but will still do it his own way to be sure,” says the mother. She describes his character as "quick-tempered, but very easy-going," and Fadeev - as "not problematic, but lazy." Once I stole money from my parents. It turned out that he bought toy pistols with them and distributed them to the younger ones.
“In general, I always fit in for the younger ones and against injustice. Even if the offender was twice as big, Vlad still climbed up to him with the words “let's hit me first then,” recalls his stepfather.
“He constantly helped everyone - his own, strangers, and children. Always interceded, - says the mother. "That's why he wanted to be a military man, to protect people."
His younger brother Sergei followed him with a tail (the minor's name has been changed - Note. BBC). “Vlad took him everywhere, played with him and studied. Small does not need us. He needs Vlad. He is constantly looking for him everywhere, in a dream he sees ”, - sighs Fadeev.
Parents did not immediately tell the youngest that his brother was missing. For a year they said that Vlad served on a submarine and there was no communication there. Only in May 2020, when a first grader in tears asked to tell the truth, they explained: they say, he disappeared, but, honestly, we are looking for him very much. The boy began to wear a T-shirt "I / We are Vlad Bakhov": "To quickly find his brother."
Vlad's adolescence began when girls began to look at him, recalls his stepfather. He was supposed to enter the Alexander Nevsky Academy, but remained in school for the second year.
“Because of the women! - Fadeev waves his hand. - He had 7-8 girls at the same time, he is a smart handsome gouge, the women left him for the second year.
The teenager began to ask for money, Fadeev arranged for him to wash with a friend. He explained: "Before becoming a lawyer, I myself worked as a loader, a janitor, you go to work too." Vlad came three times out of ten monthly shifts.
“I scolded him, and then, as usual, I was very worried,” recalls Fadeev. A former punk, he himself worked from the age of 15: he owned a real estate agency, opened a billiard room with allowed fights, ran a club with art house cinema screenings. To his energetic stepfather, Vlad seemed inert.
“The next day I came to him, I say: I love you, I want you to become independent, you’re a tough kid, you can get a good job, you’ll go to Moscow, you won’t be in this Smolensk, like me, all your life. He seemed to listen. "
In the winter of 2019, two months before the disappearance of his son, Anastasia called Fadeev: Vlad had left home. “I hit him,” she explained.
It turned out that Vlad lied to his mother while skipping school. I spent the night with the girls - sometimes at one, then at the other. "Hit hard?" - asked Fadeev. “I gave a slap in the face,” Anastasia answered.
Fadeev recalls how he immediately called Vlad. “I know that it’s my own fault, I’m like that, I promise everyone, I can’t do anything,” the teenager repented, refusing to return home. He settled in an apartment rented for two by his friend Maxim Zhumaev with a friend.
“Neither my father nor I were happy with these new friends. With the new company, Vlad sometimes began to skip lessons, study poorly, which is why we were in conflict, ”says Vlad's mother.
The stepfather did not put pressure on the teenager, but said: we do not throw hand-to-hand fighting and the pool. “I figured that if the day after school was full, he would have no time to throw up with his friends. And in the morning I called him, woke him up to school - I was afraid for him, because I myself grew up on the street, I myself left home at the age of 13 in a closet to punks. My father drank, my mother worked three jobs, no one controlled me. I shaved my mohawk and fucked everyone. I am aware of the problems of this age. Where did I miss it? "
On the second day, Vlad asked for a razor and foam. Fadeev bought it - with the words "as an exception, go home." On the third day Vlad asked for sugar and butter. “I poured him a handful of sugar, cut off a piece of butter. He's so ****, well? And I told him - go home. Or come to live with me. " On the fourth day Vlad asked for money. Fadeev told him: "You are not working, go home." On the fifth day in the pool, Vlad said that he would return home.
According to his mother, Vlad returned home and realized that he needed to take up his studies: exams were approaching at the end of the ninth grade. “He had a very trusting relationship with me and my grandmother. He constantly told us how and what, where, with whom and when. As a mother, I knew everything about his experiences, youthful love and difficulties. We were really friends. "
During our interview, Fadeev takes out his phone and leafs through long correspondence with his stepson in the VKontakte application. Monotonously reads long persuasions. “I talked to my mother, if you come today, you won't get it in the head. Will you come? " - "Yes".
Here they go to the pool, here he chooses new sweatpants at a discount, here he asks for a new algebra tutor. The stepfather, mother and own father paid for the classes in turn. Where and with whom Vlad was traveling, usually all three knew.
“You see, he's constantly in touch. Vaughn, on the third of March, he hit someone in Demidov because of the girl, ”- then Fadeev silently leafs through the correspondence. Tutor, mathematics, cigarettes, pool, school. Five minutes. Seven minutes. Sighs.
"Vlad wanted to leave"
On Friday, April 5, 2019, Fadeev fell ill, and Vlad went to the pool without him - with a friend. Then he went to Demidov, to his grandmother and father. The next day, April 6, on Saturday, I told my grandmother that he would go to the meadow at the edge of the forest for his birthday, and he would return by 22.00.
He left his iPhone at home charging, taking with him an old push-button device without a SIM card. I planned to use it via wi-fi from other phones, the mother explains. In a taxi with Zhumayev, who called him to a party with someone else's company, they drove to the hut.
Covered in slate, in a clearing by the forest, with a long table and benches inside, this hut is a popular hangout for local teenagers. Vlad arrived when his daughter, V.R., was already there. head of the Department of Internal Affairs of the Demidovsky District, the son of a major local businessman, the son of a former investigator, the son of a businessman and head of administration of one of the settlements of the Demidovsky District, the son of a police officer from the local Department of Internal Affairs, the nephew of a Smolensk deputy and several other people.
As the schoolchildren said later, Bakhov also went to the unfamiliar company because he liked one of the guests - the daughter of V.R. chief of the Internal Affairs Directorate, a blonde who met with the birthday boy.
The stepfather is flipping through the remaining birthday photos on his phone. Those gathered in the clearing had wine, vodka, beer and vermouth. As the teenagers themselves later told their parents, Vlad quickly ran to get drunk. Then they began to "make fun": they fought, climbed onto the roof of the hut.
Bakhov's parents suspect that someone brought drugs - grass or salt, after which Vlad reached an insane state in half an hour. This can be seen in the only video from the party preserved on the network. On it, Vlad in dirty pants with traces of blood on his right hand is trying to climb onto the roof of the hut for the phone, which was taken from him, and for a patch from the sleeve of his jacket, which one of the teenagers ripped off. Here is this video, the last one for Vlad:
The son of the head of the administration of one of the settlements, Stas Yaskin, throws him off twice - he abruptly lets go of the hand that was supposedly extended to Vlad. At the end of the video, a hand appears in the frame: the man takes off his jacket and goes to Vlad with the words “**** (end) for you”.
“And Vlad already wanted to leave. Pick up the phone and leave, ”the stepfather says while watching the video.
"Are they taking pictures of a corpse?"
As the BBC found out after three days of interviews with residents of Demidov and Smolensk, the teenagers were not limited to one video.
Locals say that since that birthday, photos have been posted on social networks, more than five videos have been uploaded and even briefly aired live. (All names, surnames and records of conversations with witnesses are at the disposal of the editors).
The videos and photos uploaded on YouTube, as well as on VKontakte, according to the respondents, quickly spread to the groups “Overheard in Demidov” and “New in Demidov”, but later they were deleted.
A seller from Smolensk remembers watching a video on VKontakte on April 6 in which Vlad was very drunk.
“Some guy was holding a camera, filming himself, and Vlad was sitting behind on a log, covering his head with his hands. The one with the camera tapped him on the shoulder, asking, they say, how are you. Vlad's face was wet, his T-shirt was wet, his hair too. And his eyes - as if he were vomiting, tears. And reddened. Then a blonde girl appeared on the video, she screamed obscenities, the general meaning - what, wow, damn you, how drunk you are, ”the woman recalls.
Even before dark, according to those who saw the records, bullying began. On April 6, in the evening, the 10-year-old daughter of one of Demidov's residents saw a live stream on Instagram from a nearby forest. The girl came running with the words: "Oh, mother, there are boys and girls peeing on the boy." Then I told my grandmother about it. She was surprised: “Dash, how did they write it? How about the girls? " And she told me: oh, granny, well, they sat down and wrote. "
At first, the girl's mother refused to speak to the lawyer and the correspondent, but the child's grandmother insisted: “Daughter, you can't behave like that anymore. My hut is on the edge, I don't know anything - no need to treat someone else's grief like that. We still have everything ahead, so talk. "
After that, the woman confirmed that she had watched the video, which featured “teenagers she knew”. “It was light. The blonde I know was in the video. There was her face, how they laughed at him, and how Vlad stood on all fours on the ground in the forest. He was silent, and she laughed. "
When she decided to reconsider, the live broadcast had already ended, it was deleted. From which account the broadcast was broadcast, she does not remember.
“We pissed you. You're pissed off! " - heard on another video laughter of adolescents, another resident of Demidov. She went to the parent group "VKontakte" to clarify whether other families had received child benefits, and in her tape came across these footage taken at dusk. Whose recording was it, it was a live broadcast or a published short video, she forgot.
“But I even remember where someone stood there. The thin guy was on his knees, face down, covering him with his hands, while others ordered him, they say, raise your head. "
According to her recollections, the guy was “either exhausted or drunk”. "One of the guys in the video kicked him in the head and the teen fell to the ground." At this time, the child woke up, and the witness went to feed him, and when after that she tried to find the video, he was no longer there.
The wife of one of the policemen Demidov stumbled upon another VKontakte video several times.
“In the twilight, a child, a thin teenager, sits on his haunches by a tree, covering himself with his hands,” the woman describes the shooting. “And next to me is a blonde girl who says to him:“ Do you want me to date you? Look at yourself: who you are and who I am. " And they spit at him, they push him, ”the woman recalls.
The video, according to a resident of Demidov, was seen by her other acquaintances, but "they are afraid": "influential connections, job loss, hype."
At about midnight on April 6, another woman, the owner of a small store in Smolensk, was already getting ready to sleep and was leafing through the feed on the Odnoklassniki social network. There she is subscribed to groups about her hometown, where she has a house and ten cats - “New in Demidov” and “Overheard in Demidov”.
“First came out a photograph of a thin boy in something light flying to the ground with his hands forward, knees bent, and someone's foot in a sneaker as if pushing him from behind, and several teenagers around,” she recalls.
The next photo was already dusk.
“He is already lying on the ground, face down, pulling his arm and leg to him. Three broad-shouldered, healthy guys are standing around, a hut is visible from behind. I didn't zoom in because I was scared of the picture. In general, I got the impression that he is not alive. Are they taking pictures of a corpse? I even said so out loud. I got scared and closed my computer. ”
On the morning of April 7, as usual, she called a neighbor who looks after her cats. “What are the horrors going on in Demidov? I saw such a terrible photo that I turned off the computer! And she answers me: our boy is gone ”.
According to the missing announcements, the woman recognized Vlad as a teenager from photographs. She tried to find the pictures again, but they were no longer in Odnoklassniki.
All the witnesses who talk about the birthday photo in Odnoklassniki, the VKontakte video and the live broadcast on Instagram do not know each other and have not met. Vlad's parents, the lawyer of the Bakhov family and the BBC found them while they were questioning the residents of Demidov about their April birthday.
Investigators interrogated only two residents of Demidov, but, according to these women, during the conversation they were convinced that they were lying: they say, you are telling some tales. No one else who saw the video excerpts was summoned to the investigative committee.
According to a BBC source in the Investigative Committee, they sent VKontakte, Odnoklassniki and YouTube requests to restore deleted videos, but they still have not received answers.
In the testimony in the criminal case and to the journalists' questions, half of the teenagers who were at the birthday party generally answered that there was no connection in the forest. With the BBC, all the birthday participants refused to communicate. In the surviving photos from the party, many are sitting with phones in their hands. When the BBC correspondent walked through the woods with the Bakhov family, everyone's mobile phones worked.
"Sheds, abandoned houses, summer cottages - we went into every house"
On April 6 at 23.30 Vlad's father, Andrei Bakhov, was knocked on the window: “Vlad has disappeared.”
The teenagers confusedly said that the student disappeared around 19.00. Someone thought that he went to the toilet, someone - that Vlad himself went to the city. The birthday boy's girl managed to call her father - and Major Derbanov became the first adult who found himself at the party's place.
The glade was removed at that time: it is unknown when the policeman arrived or together with him. Usually, according to the locals, these huts have a mountain of rubbish after the weekend, but this time, after the fun of 13 teenagers, there was not a cigarette butt or a bottle left. At the same time they took Vlad's backpack, jacket and cap. They gave them to the investigator only three days later - the jacket was also washed.
On Sunday at 8 am Fadeev was sitting at home in Smolensk and choked on porridge: his throat hurt badly. The ex-wife called: "Vlad disappeared in the forest." "In terms of ****? In the woods ******? What a **** he was there, ****! " - his stepfather recalls that he immediately started yelling, “freaked out that he was not aware of where Vlad went.”
“Andrey is there,” warned Nastya. Vlad's father and stepfather were not friends: jealousy. “Don't give a fuck, let's go,” Ivan ran to collect his things. I called to work to ask for time off, they did not immediately understand: they say, this is not even your child.
Fadeev with Vlad's mother reached the meadow near Demidov by noon. Andrey was sitting on a log. Until 4 am, and then from 7 to 11 am, he called his son through the forest.
“We run out of the car, everyone is standing. Cops, people, foresters, - recalls Fadeev. - I told them at once: and what are you worth? I rushed about, I had to ask the local people who should go where to tell ... I am generally an active person, I am a target person. I have Vlad - an unattained goal, I cannot close it for myself. I love him, and there is also a trauma in my head - I can’t close the target ”.
Fadeev took a walkie-talkie from the dog handler and shoved Vlad's slippers for the pool to the dog. The bloodhound followed the trail, followed by Fadeev, Sr. Bakhov, a dog handler and the father of the blonde, whom Vlad liked, policeman Viktor Derbanov.
The dog turned into an alley, ran along the sandy road to the forest gatehouse, through the dirt road again turned onto the asphalt road, went into the forest to the dump, past the hut into the thicket. I ran into a large stream and lost track.
The men began to cut down the tree with their hands to get to the other side. “So our relationship with Andrey improved,” sighs Fadeev.
Despite the protests of the tired dog handler, they drove the dog in the second round. Did not help.
In the evening, the local search and rescue squad "Salvar" arrived in the forest. Bakhov's back broke, a hernia crawled out, Fadeev rubbed his legs into blood. They went to the forest with each of the Salvars' group for several more weeks, day and night.
Fadeev bought himself wading boots up to his thighs, his friends bought chemical protection, and they climbed into deep irrigation canals - they crossed the entire forest near Demidov. They wade, dived into swamps and ponds, and in search of a body threw homemade cats there (they were cooked at a local car service by the masters who volunteered to help).
On the subject: Dance Me to Death: Rachel Barber Murder Investigation
Fadeev spent one day in a pond not far from the place where the remains were found, exploring the entire bottom with hooks. “The pond narrowed into beaver passages, I remember walking and I was very afraid of these huts,” Ivan recalls.
Search during the day, work on response, search at night, again work on response. SOBR and the military came to the rescue. 60-80 people stood in a chain, the forest was divided into cells of 500 square meters - and the search engines examined them all on the fifth day.
“The forest is closed for us, we examined everything,” the head of “Salvara” said then. A week later, the investigators summoned Moscow search engines from “Liza Alert” to help. They launched the copter - they shot the forest from above. The staff gave all the personnel to the Investigative Committee, the coordinator of the society Viktor Dulin explained to the BBC.
“We went around all the houses in the villages, at night, when“ Salvar ”left, we went there to look,” recalls Fadeev. - Sheds, abandoned houses, summer cottages - we went into every house. Ditches, abandoned courtyards - they walked around with flashlights and checked ”.
The locals knew what had happened; the men were allowed into the hayloft, cellars and attics. “We thought anything. Let's say he crawled to the village and is lying in the yard of some grandfather, where there is no TV or mobile connection ”.
The family checked all residential, destroyed and abandoned houses within a radius of 25 kilometers from the hut, where Vlad was last seen.
“We literally dug the earth with our hands. In one day we covered from 10 to 20 km. And so every day. We didn’t sleep, didn’t eat, but searched ... At first I really thought that Vlad was simply lost, and then a feeling arose that is difficult to convey in words. Feeling of fear, - recalls the mother of Bakhov. “The first days I was afraid that while I was looking, I would see my son's body somewhere in the bushes or under a tree.”
And then Anastasia felt that he was not there.
According to Bakhov's mother, acquaintances began to approach the parents with the words about the video, where Vlad was beaten and urinated on him.
“We began to understand that teenagers are hiding from us what happened at the hut. I wanted to drive away the thought that something bad had happened, but again, we began to understand that Vlad did not go anywhere. He just couldn't. He always returned home and knew that his grandmother was waiting for him, whom he never let down, ”says Vlad's mother.
During this time, none of the twelve teenagers helped in the search. Once he went out alone, recalls Fadeev, "behaved very suspiciously, went through one comb and soon left for the army under a contract."
"Inside Hell, You Can Do Anything"
On April 8, the Investigative Committee opened a criminal case under Article 105 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation - “murder”. Investigators have departmental instructions and an order from the head of the committee: if a minor is missing, immediately initiate a case under this article - in order to have more opportunities for search.
When Andrei, Nastya and Ivan, after a nightly search, went to interview witnesses and scribbled requests for their interrogation, they decided that “the investigators were not doing anything”.
“They scared me as if from the plague, they sent me to ***, and I again to them. I myself looked for security cameras, I myself brought lists of eyewitnesses. They did not take us seriously, the investigator joked during a search at Andrey's house: “Oh, maybe you dug him here?” Everyone was having fun, everyone thought we were jesters. Why did you treat it like that? Some of the people knew the truth and were silent, and some thought that just a drunken man went into the forest - and who is he? He is nobody, ****, just a child who went into the forest, ”the father recalls.
She did not know then that she would walk around the forest for days and engage in this business for more than a year, and eventually she would have a nervous breakdown.
Leshchinskaya undertook to write about the search. Her notes and interviews were spread across local bloggers, social networks and forums. Other media began to write about Vlad Bakhov. And the correspondent's mailbox was full of people who wanted to help in the investigation.
Since May 2019, bloggers and psychics have attacked Vlad's family. The Bakhovs' contacts were published on esoteric forums. All summer, clairvoyants from China, Japan, Germany, Poland, the USA, Belarus, Canada wrote to their parents almost every other day.
The versions were the same: “He was strangled by a girl when he, being a virgin, tried to persuade her to a physical connection. And when she realized that Vlad was dead, she dismembered him. And he was buried in a swamp. My map fell on these coordinates. Dig in that corner. "
The parents, desperate by that time, obeyed: they took shovels and went to the forest to dig. “We really started to believe it. You can do anything inside hell, ”explains Fadeev.
A Muslim magician came to Demidov from Moscow, who later turned out to be a guest worker. I searched for a long time, and then began to curse the Bach family with black magic - because they refused to give their hair and blood for rituals.
Another witch from Smolensk hugged Fadeev and said: "I know everything." According to her, Vlad was in the portal: “He went inside, it was necessary to take a step back, but he turned around and got stuck, now it will be released in 30 years, but you can pull it out. We need a man and bread. ”
Father Andrey went to the forest.
“They hugged an oak tree with this woman, tried to pull it out by the hand for bread. In the end, the witch said to wait. " The Bakhovs paid for all the wizards for travel, housing, and food.
They were looking for Vlad in the forest with a tambourine and two shamans. They spent the night in the forest on the runes. They drove around the Smolensk region with a pendulum in their hands. They searched for the animals in which he moved. "Once a moose came out - and a psychic at once: here it is, look!" - recalls his stepfather.
At 300 km from Smolensk, Fadeev believed another witch and began to dig a hole: the woman said that Vlad's jacket was lying there under the ground.
“We did everything. I knew it was *******, - agrees stepfather. - But I said to myself: convince that it is necessary. I wanted to know that I had done everything I had a chance for. ”
“Our child was killed. Well, get into the position! "
Vlad's relatives themselves called famous psychics. But someone asked 30 thousand rubles only for the first conversation, someone's reception cost 200 thousand. In September 2019, one of the local bloggers told Fadeev that the TNT channel was coming to her village to film the "Battle of Psychics".
Fadeev recalls that a woman whose all relatives were hung up because of alcoholism, “wrote a letter to the editor that her family was cursed, and the TV people went to see them.”
I decided: we are going all there, we will try to pull out a professional psychic.
When we arrived, we realized that the editors were not allowed to approach the heroes. All psychics were kept in a separate village house and taken out one by one to the filming location - to conjure.
Fadeev, after several unsuccessful attempts to approach the psychics, got up to smoke with the driver. He turned out to be local. Ivan began to talk about his trouble, the driver said that he knew the whole story. "Brother, can your car break down?" - then Vlad's stepfather asked. “Yes,” the driver replied.
After 15 minutes, a psychic got into Fadeev's car, which he drove instead of the allegedly broken one. It took about five minutes to get to the filming location. Ivan turned on the first gear. Nastya was sitting in the back with her son's photos spread out.
Ivan began with a quick twister: "Good afternoon, this happened to us, a child is missing, just look at the photo for five minutes, I beg you." The psychic agreed. She began to hypnotize the photo, she took out the runes to conjure.
“And we are going, the club is already nearby,” recalls Fadeev. - The editor rushes to the car, I block the doors. I ask you to give me five minutes of time through the window. The employee is shocked: “Who are you? What are you doing? You're disrupting filming. ” And I shout to her: “Bitch, our child was killed. Well, get into the position! "
Fadeev drove psychics all night until five in the morning. Each of them with Nastya told their story. They ran after the Chinese woman around the set. They had to persuade him with an interpreter, the staff of the program almost beat Fadeev off, the Chinese woman said: "Suicide, girl, in the river."
The host of the program "Battle of Psychics" Sergei Safronov advised to contact the show of Andrei Malakhov. The letter was written there by the same blogger who called the “Battle of Psychics” to her village. In December, the Bakhovs were invited to shoot the "Live" program on the Russia-1 channel.
As a result, four programs of Andrey Malakhov were released about the Vlad case, the fifth was taken off the air. “The investigation and the authorities were strongly criticized there for negligence,” recalls journalist Leshchinskaya, who took part in the filming.
After the programs, all the families of the teenagers walking around the hut filed a claim for the protection of honor and dignity against the Bakhov family, but the court rejected it.
Three more investigative reports were aired on Channel One in the program "Actually". Several teenagers from the company near the hut arrived there for the shooting.
- Was there a fight at this party? - asked the host.
- There was no fight. We fought. We just fought, ”one of the teenagers answered.
A flash mob "Moscow, take the Bakhov case!" All over Russia, people began to go out to pickets with such posters. Dozens of groups have appeared on social networks trying to investigate the disappearance of a teenager. Parents were accused of “PR on blood”, they wrote that they were paid to participate in the filming. The Bachs deny everything. “The publicity was important to us. We did not stop, wrote, called, walked, ”says Fadeev.
The family had a new expensive lawyer - Malakhov paid for him. For information about Vlada, a reward of one and a half million rubles was announced - and Malakhov promised to invest.
As a result, the materials of the criminal case from Demidov were taken to the Investigative Committee of Smolensk. Then the child rights ombudsman Anna Kuznetsova turned to the head of the Investigative Committee of Russia. The case went to Moscow investigators, and on January 24, 2020, the head of the Investigative Committee, Alexander Bastrykin, took control of it.
“Unfortunately, the body was not found in the pictures”
On January 29, 2020, Vlad's parents arrived in Moscow at the reception of the head of the Investigative Committee of Russia - Bastrykin himself invited them to talk.
At the same time, searches resumed in the Demidov forest: the Salvar detachment again gathered volunteers to comb the forest. Why exactly these days, “Salvara” refused to explain.
An hour and a half later, about one and a half kilometers from the hut, several volunteers stumbled upon bones covered with greenish moss. White sneakers in size 43 were soaking in the stream nearby. Their photo was sent to his stepfather Ivan - he identified Vlad's shoes.
Investigators arrived at the scene. Bakhov's mother found out about the found remains of her son while standing on the threshold of Bastrykin's office.
At this time, Fadeev was carrying a swamp vehicle from Leshchinskaya to the stream. In early January twilight, his stepfather fell into the snow and howled. The investigators left, taking only large bones and a skull, without cordoning off the place where the corpse was found. And in the frozen grass were still small bones and pieces of nails. Under the tree lay a T-shirt with crimson spots on the chest. All this was found and taken to the investigative committee by the teenager's parents.
According to the results of a DNA examination carried out by Smolensk investigators, the remains of Vlad Bakhov were found in the forest.
Almost immediately after the discovery, a photo from a quadrocopter appeared on the network, which was launched over the forest by search-and-rescue workers from Lisa Alert in April. It shows that in the middle of the spring forest, a naked, thin man with his pants down is lying on his side.
It turned out that for all 10 months the investigation had a photograph of Vlad Bakhov, taken in April - it lay among 1676 photographs submitted to the case by the search engines.
“This photo was like at the junction of two. This copter took a shot at the end, in the last flights, which we did more to clarify the terrain. And from a different height, higher than when we are looking for a person, - explained the BBC coordinator “Lisa Alert” Doolin. "We looked ourselves and, unfortunately, did not find the body in the pictures."
When the coordinates of the point where the bones were lying became known, the search engines picked up a spring survey. And from the data attached to the images, we found the very image.
“We had to take it apart literally pixel by pixel,” says Victor. “It's not even bad luck. Early spring, the forest at this time is black-white-brown. Everything merges. It was almost impossible to find the guy dressed in black trousers in this picture. ”
On the day of the discovery of the remains, Bastrykin appointed an official check in relation to the Smolensk investigators. The BBC UK refused to disclose the results of the check.
"Our son's manslaughter was committed"
From the abundance of coincidences, Bakhov's parents and stepfather were buzzing in their heads. They are still looking for answers to their questions.
“How so - they searched for almost a year, and found in winter an hour - on the day of the Bastrykin's appointment? Search engines passed this place twice in April and May, people working in hot spots, and not only did not see anything, but did not smell any? They say that all the photos from the copter were given to the investigation back in April, so no one looked at them? Why are there no remnants of internal organs, not a single shell, not even hair? What if the bones were stored somewhere, and now they have been planted? - the stepfather of the child is lost in conjecture.
On the found skull, only two hairs really remained, which are now, together with all the remains, undergoing a second DNA examination in Moscow. Investigators have not yet reported its results.
The teenagers celebrating their birthday at the hut have already finished school and have become adults. Many entered universities. All this time, the Bakhov family was conducting their own investigation.
At two busy intersections of Smolensk, there are still two billboards with a photograph of Vlad and a request for help in understanding the reasons for his disappearance. An advertising agency has made a discount on the placement.
The list of local residents and possible witnesses interviewed by Bakhov's relatives includes more than 50 names.
Bakhov lay down on the alleged place of his son's death, and the Fadeevs launched a copter similar to that of “Liza Alert” and filmed Andrey from the same height as the search engines. They came to the conclusion that the photograph of the remains should have looked completely different.
On April 21, 2020, in the afternoon, they tried to walk in sneakers through the forest to the place where they found Vlad.
“The shoes came off, it was very difficult to walk, the laces were untied, and we still saw where we were going. When we tried to walk at night, we were able to move away from the hut no more than 70 meters. It was not possible to walk at such a time, even in a sober state - the branches pricked our eyes, our legs constantly clung to something, we fell, ”Fadeev says.
The mother of the deceased boyfriend is convinced that the son did not die from an accident, but at the hands of his “friends”:
“Our son's manslaughter was committed. And now, after the work of the lawyers, I can no longer say that all the actions of the teenagers in the meadow were unintentional. It was not just a fight, as it happens when teenagers can fight. These were violent and very humiliating actions, ”the woman says.
In the spring of 2020, the human rights organization Memorial took over the Bakhov case. The NPO pays for a new lawyer - an experienced lawyer, formerly an investigator for particularly important cases in the North Caucasus region, Nadezhda Borodkina.
“She told how the disappearance and murder of a schoolboy has not been investigated for a year. We saw in this the absence of an effective investigation (violation of Article 2 of the Convention on Human Rights, procedural part). We often have similar cases in the North Caucasus, but this case shows that an ineffective investigation occurs in any region and not only on torture and enforced disappearances committed by the security forces. And on completely “peaceful” matters, where there is no smell of terrorism or even extremism, ”says the lawyer of the human rights organization Marina Agaltsova.
In winter, Memorial plans to file a claim with the European Court of Human Rights. “A complaint to the ECHR is not a search for those responsible for what happened, it is not a statement that Bakhov was“ killed by those people ”. The ECHR has no powers to find out who is to blame for Vlad's death, explains Agaltsova. - But the ECHR has the authority to check - have the Russian authorities made every effort to investigate the death? Therefore, we will complain about a violation of the procedural part of Art. 2 of the European Convention (Right to Life) ”.
"Darkness comes, fear comes with it"
The Bakhov family, in the opinion of Liza Alert coordinator Viktor Dulin, simply cannot come to terms with the banality of what is happening. According to him, the children of high-ranking parents were simply persecuted on television, local bloggers made excellent PR in this matter, but in fact the story is banal.
“The company drank a lot, the boy moved away at some point and got lost. He could pass there, despite all the versions of bloggers, - says Doolin. - We once found grandmother in the forest behind Vladimir, who was behind several two-meter canals, full of water. My group of ten professional people walked there for three hours in the afternoon. An 80-year-old grandmother was in the middle of this development. She was found from the air with a hang glider. How did she get there? The story is the same for everyone. "
Along with the darkness, fear sets in on the lost, Doolin explains. Adrenaline begins to be produced in such quantities that a person, especially a young one, goes through such windbreaks and wade through such thickets that it is impossible to imagine in ordinary life.
According to one of the versions, Vlad could have run away into the forest from the teenagers who bullied him. That night near Demidov it was minus two degrees Celsius. A schoolboy in one T-shirt could get lost, became sober, circled through the forest, exhausted, fell, fell asleep and never woke up.
By morning, he could already be unconscious, the search engines say, and therefore did not respond to screams. Before winter, small forest animals - foxes, beavers or badgers - could have pulled off sneakers and eat up internal organs, the search engines suggest.
It is difficult to prove intentional murder or at least bodily harm in this case, says a BBC source in the Investigative Committee.
“Despite the accusations of relatives, the investigators in Smolensk did everything to a high standard from the start. In fact, everything was organized for searches, and everyone did it. They worked carefully with teenagers and relatives. They interrogated and rechecked several times, '' says a BBC interlocutor familiar with the case. - It happens when relatives cannot believe in the death of a person. And then two years later they leave and think: why did we drive so to the investigation ... "
“Nobody wants the truth in this case,” said Lisa Alert, the search engine coordinator Doolin. - I don't want to believe in her. Because her parents will have to live with her. ”
“I never got over the death of my child, and I never will. But whatever my health, I will go to the end, so that all the guilty are punished, ”says Vlad's mother.
“I don’t know how I get it out,” Vlad's stepfather answers the question about the nerves. - By the anniversary of the loss, my whole body was already numb, neurologists were treated for tens of thousands of rubles. The doctor said to be distracted somehow. Kind of distracted. But nothing really distracts. "
In December, before the New Year 2020, according to family friends, Fadeev broke loose: he locked himself in the garage and thought to commit suicide.
When asked about those days, Fadeev lowers his eyes:
- I don’t want you to write about it. I'm a strong person who has no breakdowns and who can do anything.
- There is no such thing.
- It happens. It's me.