The founder of Gulagu.net, Russian human rights activist Vladimir Osechkin says hitman attacked him in the French city of Biarritz. He told about it on Yulia Latynina's (famous Russian journalist) live stream. According to Osechkin, the murder was foiled by accident - he noticed a red dot on the wall. Bellingcat investigator Christo Grozev warned him about the impending assassination attempt, Osechkin said.
“There was a message from Christo and his source that helped me and those involved in my security to prevent my assassination. A man with close ties to the FSB and organized crime had left Russia bound for Biarritz. I was persuaded to literally evacuate for two days and leave, even though I didn't want to, I wanted to catch them here. But we went to the mountains for the weekend, I insisted that we come back after the weekend, that was a week ago. The family was at the theater in the evening, and I was working in the dark, no one thought I was home alone. I was working in the dark with my papers on a Mac with the lights dimmed, it was comfortable for me to work in this manner. When my children and wife arrived, we prepared dinner and I remember - I was taking the plates to the children and from the corner of my eye I saw a red dot moving in my direction over the terrace railing”.
According to Osechkin, the lights went out and everyone hit the floor in a hurry; he and his family had been preparing for an assassination attempt.
“We had special training, we were warned and coached - that we shouldn't hesitate and wait until we’re riddled with bullets. Immediately we put out the lights, and the kids hit the floor; the kids and my wife spent about an hour in one of the protected rooms. We immediately lowered the blinds, the relevant services arrived. An investigation began. Neighbors have already testified, they heard pops and shots. I wasn't hit, shots were fired, aimed at me. <Apparently the hitman's mistakes or my lightning-speed reaction helped me survive - I accidentally saw the “dot” with my side vision.”
Vladimir Osechkin and his project Gulagu.net are engaged in human rights advocacy as well as publicizing the developments in the Russian penitentiary system. In October 2021, Osechkin reported he had more than 40GB of videos, documents and photos in his possession. These files reveal cases of mass torture in the prisons belonging to the Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN). The publication of those videos caused a strong public reaction and led to a number of dismissals in the FSIN system. Sergei Savelyev, who gave Osechkin the archive, was also forced to leave Russia for France.