One of Russia's most-publicized arrests in recent years is making headlines again, as the Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper reported Sunday that Denis Nikandrov — the detained deputy head of Moscow's Investigative Committee — is going through a “miraculous transformation” in his cell.
A rising star in Russian law enforcement, Nikandrov was jailed on bribery charges on July 19. He is suspected of receiving a bribe of up to $1 million for helping notorious thief-in-law Zakhary Kalashov, known as Shakro Molodoi, to get out of prison. The case is considered by many to be a remarkable episode in the internal war raging inside Russia’s security forces.
The Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper reported that the investigator’s life changed after meeting his new cellmate, who was purposely put into the same cell.
Nikandrov, who reportedly fell into a deep depression during his first days in the infamous Lefortovo prison, is currently in a state of euphoria and claims that he has found the meaning of life.
The man responsible for these changes is 30-year old Yevgeny, the cellmate who claims to be an experienced yoga practitioner and says he is in prison on charges of smuggling cannabis to Russia from India.
Nikandrov is practicing various breathing techniques and yoga positions, his prison cell is full of yoga literature and he has switched to a healthy diet, the newspaper said.
“I have learned how to live. I have started to understand my true nature,” Nikandrov said. He also wrote about the changes in a letter to the head of Russia's Investigative Committee, according to the newspaper.
The yoga practitioner was put in Nikandrov's prison cell by the prison administration on purpose, as a result of an agreement with the Federal Security Service (FSB), the newspaper reported, citing an unidentified source in law enforcement.
“Nikandrov was in such bad condition that he could have committed suicide. And that would cause a scandal,” the source said.
As The Moscow Times previously reported, Nikandrov was unleashed on one high-profile case after another over his short career and was rapidly promoted. He was involved in highly politicized cases such as gathering evidence against jailed tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
Nikandrov’s arrest is part of an ongoing “cleansing of the ranks," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said after his arrest.