Russian Government Concerned About Citizen In Liberia Plight

By: J. Moses Gray

The Inquirer
Monrovia, Liberia

Distributed by

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

May 24, 2003

The apparent failure of the appropriate agency of the Liberian government to address circumstances surrounding the ‘lost’ famous sailing vessel "M.V. Zolotitsa", and the condition in which the Russian captain of the vessel, Mr. Gennady Pavlovich Medvedve has found himself in Liberia, have caught the attention of the Russian Government.

"We have been keeping vigilant watch on the recent development of the events which Mr. Medvedve found himself in", the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Accra noted in an e-mail communication to civil law court Judge Yusuf Kaba.

The communication written by the head of the consular section of the Embassy of the Russian Federation, Y. Mariyashin, among other things, said, "the embassy is very much preoccupied with the complicated situation around captain Medvedve and his vessel and suppression of the human rights of the Russian citizen".

The Russian Embassy expressed its hope that the civil law court under presiding judge Yusuf Kaba will consider the case of the Russian national objectively. "Since the tense political situation in Liberia makes our personal presence at the coming hearings impossible, we fully rely on your Honor’s competence, objectiveness and support", the communication concluded.

Meanwhile, the captain of the vessel, Mr. Medvedve is claiming the amounts of US$150,000 and US$50,000 from the Liberian Government and the UNHCR Monrovia office respectively, as benefits.

Mr. Medvedve told The INQUIRER that his demand for UNHCR to pay him US$50,000 comes in the wake of the UN refugee agency’s decision to illegally enter into an agreement with some unidentified persons in 1996 to transport refugees around the sub-region.

He said before the UNHCR could charter the vessel, there was an announcement on the international media from Geneva that certain persons have stolen the "Zolotitsa" vessel thus neede to be impounded.

The Russian ship captain said upon the arrival of the stolen vessel at the Freeport of Monrovia, it was impounded by the then Liberia National Police director, Col. Joseph B. Tate. He added that it was during that incident that the UNHCR entered into an illegal agreement to use the vessel.

On his claim for US$150,000 from the Liberian government, Mr. Medvedve said because the vessel was then in the government’s custody at the Freeport of Monrovia when it was stolen. He said after the vessel was stolen from the Freeport of Monrovia, it was taken to the port of Harper, Maryland County, where the vessel reportedly sunk.

The Russian national who is suffering to make ends meet and presently living on hand-outs, said all attempts to retrieve his stolen vessel from the port of Harper were thwarted by Mr. H. Dan Morais, the county superintendent of Maryland County who claimed to have bought the vessel. The Russian national said in a bid to retrieve his stolen vessel from Superintendent H. Dan Morias, he took advantage of the Liberian legal system by going through the courts at the Temple of Justice but without result. "I am shocked with the attitude of the courts towards this case", Mr. Medvedve lamented.

It has been a little over five years since the determined Russian national and owner of the famous sailing vessel, Mr. Medvedve arrived in the country in search of his stolen vessel, but that dream is yet to be realized. He arrived in Monrovia on November 11, 1999, via Conakry in search of the vessel, but says he will not leave Liberia without getting justice.

On several occasions, this frustrated and downhearted Russian national has gone to the press, using both print and electronic media to highlight his plight and the case about his vessel but all have proven futile.

© 2003: This article is copyrighted by The Inquirer newspaper (Monrovia, Liberia) and distributed by The Perspective (Atlanta, Georgia). All rights reserved.