Russia: Blogging for Justice in Hit-and-Run Accident Case

On May 13, 2009, a Subaru Forester car hit a pregnant woman who was crossing the street in Moscow. She died in hospital later. The perpetrator escaped the scene of the crime, but eye-witnesses remembered his license plate number. He turned out to be an off-duty police officer. On May 21, he was still not apprehended. On that day, the victim's husband, Alexey Shumm, started a blog (RUS) to draw public attention to this tragic case and to document his attempts to seek justice. Below are some excerpts.

The first post, written on May 21, 2009, has generated over a thousand comments so far:

[…] They did not save her. She died that very morning. She was my beloved wife, the only one – Lena. The mother of our daughter Nika.

She was killed by that driver, she and our second unborn baby girl…
That's it.

Now I'm looking for an answer [to the question of] who did it. I wasn't with her then, so I'm paraphrasing others.

[…] It turned out that the driver wasn't the car's owner. It appears that they've found and even interrogated him. He is a police officer from [Moscow's] Southern District. […]

Today, on May 21, I've learned that they are again re-sending the materials [of the case] […] to [his “native” police station], because he was off-duty.

It's been nine days already. The case hasn't been opened. He is free. All the information arrives in small drops, only after my inquiries.

I'm afraid that this […] will go on and on. I don't want this to remain a secret. And I will do everything to find the truth and [have] a trial.

I'm ready to meet and talk, if this can be of any help.

If someone saw this accident, please write me.


May 22, 2009:

Today's news

Submitted […] a complaint to the prosecutor general's office.

Stopped by at the investigative unit [of the Internal Affairs Department of the Southern Administrative District] […]. [A detective there] talked about the accident – according to her, the driver got into the oncoming lane as he was passing the two cars (whose drivers were eye-witnesses) that were letting my wife cross the street. Of course, she did not expect to be hit from the opposite direction…


Thank you to all of you, people, for responses and offers of help.

I know the driver's name: he is Zhirov Roman Igorevich.

And those who write about “going to his home with a gun” – please do not write about it.

May 23, 2009:

My plans now are these:

1. Need a lawyer. Am meeting on Tuesday, as soon as I can, with the Public Verdict Fund […], they've offered assistance. Many more have written me, and I'd like to understand how to choose the best team. […]

2. Need all the eye-witnesses. Will be posting leaflets in the neighborhood. Got a message today that a camera from the nearby parking lot might have recorded everything.

3. Continue meeting with the mass media. Today were Echo of Moscow [radio station], [Komsomolskaya Pravda daily], RIAN [news agency]; RenTV on Monday. Lots of offers, not enough time.

4. Am getting lots of letter, trying to sort everything and respond to suggestions as much as possible. Thank you very much to you all – we are trying to stay strong.

Nika is okay, was a little sick yesterday (due to stress, I guess), today all is well already.

May 25, 2009:


1. At the Investigative Unit, they told me today that the case had been opened, gave me its number. Didn't tell me who is in charge, though. “You'll be summoned later.”

2. The camera on the nearby store doesn't reach to that street, so there's no use in it. The guys at the store didn't see the accident itself, walked out later.

May 26, 2009:


Today is Lena's birthday…

May 28, 2009

Was at the prosecutor's office.

[…] they've recognized me as the victim and questioned. Now I have the right to study the materials of the case. The detective seems like a normal guy to me, and I hope this impression will not turn out to be a mistake.

Zhirov will be questioned tomorrow, it appears, and only then they'll determine restraint measures for him. For now, he is still neither a defendant, nor a suspect…

Managed to find an eye-witness. It appears that this Zhirov exceeded the speed limit, flew by the intersection on red light and drove into the opposite lane. I don't know what state one must be in to drive like this. But in the Internal Affairs Ministry's press release they are writing that he “was sober.”

1 comment

  • Owen

    In cultures of impunity the perpetrators eventually reach the stage of assuming they and their friends can get away with anything. Lena’s husband is a courageous man. Thanks for telling the rest of the world about him – the more people are watching his efforts the harder it will be to shut him up.

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