Anna, why have you decided to agree to publish your story?
I was very worried that Arman would continue to write women from the
Correctional Facility and the story would repeat itself. I’m ready to tell my story and help in any way possible to make it public. I was really hoping that it all was over and he would not hurt anybody anymore. I told him that if I would find out that he continues to lie to other women I wouldn’t leave it alone. It’s important to make all other women that continue to send him litters aware about the situation.
Have you ever published your story before?
Yes. His other ex-girlfriend, who preferred to stay anonymous, Arina, and I have published our stories in VK group for vegans. But in these stories we haven’t disclosed all the terrible details. I know one more his partner that has been through some awful things but not sure if she is ready to share her story.
You’ve been dating Arman for 3 years. Have you known all the facts about him?
No. I’ve only found out all the truth after his imprisonment. I met an acquaintance and he eventually told me all the facts. And when I asked him why he hasn’t told me everything about Arman before, he said that he thought that I knew and I was fine with it. But how was I supposed to know if nobody would be telling me the truth and Arman would obviously not tell the truth himself. He also asked our common friends not to tell me anything, because in case I would have found out he might have died because of the pain of loosing me.
Why do you think other victims remain silent?
I know his other victims, and the people I know do not want to participate in the publicity. The problem is that to tell about these facts is extremely painful. He also passed the HIV infection to a lot of his victims and people do not want to disclose this information publicly. I got lucky in a way that I wasn’t infected and for me to tell my story is not that painful.
Please tell us what was happening when you were together?
At the beginning of the relationship he starts to play the victim, telling sad stories that he is very depressed and that only you can save him and bring light to his life. He manipulates your emotions and psychological state and is making you to have different kinds of sex even the ones that you’ve never had before and that are causing you pain. If you say no, he starts to cry and becomes hysterical saying how much his other girlfriends enjoyed it. If you want to break up with him, he again starts to cry and say that he won’t be able to live without you. All his affairs are caused by the fact that he feels sad and tries to overcome depression.
As a domestic partner he is the same – makes you to support him financially because he cannot find a job and considers the financial support as a rule not an exception. If you ask him how did he support himself before, he responds that there were always women who supported him, cooked and cleaned for him. Again if you try to break up with him, he would lock himself up in a bathroom and say he will commit a suicide. When we agreed to an open relationship, he locked myself up in a room and didn’t let me leave the apartment. He was screaming and yelling that it’s only him who is allowed to sleep around, not me.
With his every girlfriend (victim) he tries to find a different way to get closer and pretends to be a very different person each time. But the common behavior is the same – being condescending and using other people.
Please tell us, did he tell about the fact that he is HIV positive before having sex or no?
There was a woman in Moscow whom he told he was HIV positive only after having sex with her. He told me about it himself. He didn’t even call her to find out if she got infected or not. I’ve made him do so. After he called her, he said he did not get an infection, but he might have lied as well.
Please describe what was happening in your case?
About a second before he put his penis inside me he told me that he was HIV positive. I obviously couldn’t think straight for quite some time and it’s considering that he pushed on having an unprotected sex. Then he started telling me that he couldn’t pass the virus and that the level of infection in his blood is very low, and he also said that he didn’t pass the infection to anybody else. He comes up with all these excuses together with him constantly being sad and depressed.
All three years of dating he was lying to me that he didn’t pass the infection to anybody else. After I found out that Arman infected at least 5 women, and one girl was 14 years old at the moment of getting an HIV infection from him. I don’t know this girl personally, other people told me about her, so not sure if she would like to share her
Did Arman treat you with respect? Or did he always put your down?
Arman liked to put me down and be condescending towards me. He would tell me that I’m stupid and etc. I have a personal trauma that he knew about. I tried to overcome the trauma by staying with him. He obviously felt it and used it to his advantage.
Why did you continue to stay in a relationship with him?
In Russia, a lot of women are raised to be kind and compassionate, to give
everything to others, don’t put yourself first. He intuitively felt it right away and always tried for you to feel bad about him. He also put a lot of responsibility on you, saying that nobody understands him it’s only you who is so special and can help him. And even if you didn’t like him at first, you start to feel a sense of responsibility to look after him. In a reality he is very pitiful. He is not masculine or smart. He can only sweet talk and he has no dignity. I tried to break up with him and first time left him after 3 weeks of our relationship. The only thing I did wrong was doing it in my own home. He cried for almost 3 hours and was telling me how much he loved me. At the end I felt like I’m a bad person and didn’t even give him a chance. After that I tried to leave him every two months.
What else can you tell us about him?
On a hard drive that was taken from his house and that doesn’t work according to his own words, he has a collection of porn with women that he had sex with. I’m sure that these women didn’t know about the fact that they were being video recorded. Arman didn’t show me the videos but I know that he made one of his girlfriends watch the videos. He also was asking me to cut myself with a knife during sex saying that his ex-wife really enjoyed it.
I assume that you said “no”, correct? Did he ever physically abuse you?
Yes. He was following me multiple times on the street and was coming to my apartment and didn’t want to leave. I didn’t know what to do and was telling him that I would call the police. Then he would start saying that I’m not an anarchist at all if I want to call the police. I didn’t know what to do in a situation like that. Who should I call, obviously not his friends from the “Movement”.
How did you overcome all this?
At first, the fact that I met one of his ex-girlfriends was really helpful. She had the same story as me. We were dating him at the same time for almost 3 years. I felt better knowing that I’m not alone. She felt the same way. We stay in touch now and support each other.
Do you think this all is in a past for you?
I had a panic attack today when you reached out to me about Arman. It still feels like yesterday.
Have you heard about his other victim, Jenya from Novosibirsk?
Yes. I’ve heard Jenya’s from Novosibirsk story. I’ve also heard that there is a video about what Arman had done to her. The story about the video was circling around the “Network” a year ago. When I found out, I’ve asked him about it. He said that Jenya was a liar and there was nothing on this video. She just was cheating on him, and on the video he and another guy were just talking to Jenya.
When I asked him to show me the video, he started to talk about something
completely out of the topic. He was saying that nobody had the video, even though before he was convincing me that somebody had the video and he could use it to confirm Jenya was lying.
Did you speak about his problems with his mother?
Yes, I was telling his mom that instead of covering his actions she should have taken him to see a psychotherapist. But she doesn’t want to listen, she knows about him, but cannot comprehend the scale of how painful his actions are towards women. She knew everything about her son, but didn’t tell me a word. She was afraid that I would leave him, especially when he would be in jail. She wanted me to get married to him and move to Penza.
When I told my story in a VK group, somebody had forwarded her my post. She wrote to me that because I knew about his infection and didn’t say anything, it means that I was covering him up as well. But I didn’t know at the beginning in comparison to her.
In your opinion, do you think a person that can do such things is mentally healthy?
I think that Arman is a psychopath. You cannot be mentally stable and healthy and do such things to others.
Did he cooperate with local officials?
At the beginning he agreed to cooperate, but he didn’t sign any documents, which was not a smart move. He was promised a shorter time in prison. He was also asking me to come and disclose some information against other guys so that he would get a shorter sentence. But then when I left, he realized that he wouldn’t get any deal without official cooperation and he started to deny his conviction. Plus he wants to be perceived as a hero.
I was threatened that Arman would be “taken care of” if I wouldn’t disclose the information and that I would be “taken care of” as well. I just got lucky that I was able to leave Penza. I’m considering the fact that the other guys were tortured and don’t think we should blame Arman for giving up the information. Everybody was asked for questioning.
Do you think that he should be supported as other anarchists in the “Network case”?
The problem is that I think it’s morally unacceptable to support him the same way as others knowing what kind of person he is. It does not relate to the meaning of “anarchism” at all. To close eyes on the things that he continues to do now, being a political prisoner, is also unacceptable.
Translated by Ekaterina