He was born on 8th September 1966 in Moscow.
In 1984 – he graduated from High School № 609 in Zelenograd.
In 1984-1986 - military service in the Soviet Border Troops of the KGB (Committee for State Security); was an activist of the All-Union Leninist Young Communist League – Komsomol.
In 1986-1987 – entered the Higher School of the Committee for State Security; School (Faculty) of Law (also known as School/Faculty of Foreign Intelligence).
In 1991 – he resigned from KGB at the rank of lieutenant. In the same year, due to formal liquidation of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union –KPSS, Astakhov’s membership in the political party ended.
In 1994 – entered the Moscow city Professional Chamber of Lawyers / Bar Association; created Pavel Astakhov Lawyers Board.
In 2007: - created and became a leader of the social-political movement For Putin!; - was elected as a co-chairman of the All-Russian Council of Initiative Groups of Support of Putin - For Putin!; -was elected in the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation from the Diabetic Society of Disabled Persons of Bryansk region, entered the Commission on Communications, Information Policy and Freedom of Speech in Media and affiliated Working Group on Organization of Expert Assessment Activities. Also, created the Center of Legal Assistance to Journalists.
In 2008 – he was included in the Civic Council under the FSB (Federal Security Service).
In 2009 - he was reelected in the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation.
In 2009 – he was appointed as the Children's Rights Commissioner for the President of the Russian Federation.
In 2016 - released from the position of the Children's Rights Commissioner for the President of the Russian Federation.
The Higher School of the Committee for State Security of the USSR; School (Faculty) of Law (1991).
School of Law, the University of Pittsburgh, LL.M. (graduate) degree (2002).
Astakhov’s great grandfather (paternal ancestor) was a Cossack ataman. His grandfather (maternal ancestor) was an officer of the Joint State Political Directorate – OGPU on the basis of the State Political Directorate – GPU of The People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD) of the Russian SFSR; was close to and cooperated with Vyacheslav Rudolfovich Menzhinsky. His mother was a teacher; his father was a printing office employee.
Married, 3 children.
Among Astakhov’s clients, there are famous businessmen, show-business entrepreneurs, politicians. Mr. Astakhov became popular lawyer after a series of scandalous lawsuits. One of them was a case of Valentina Solovyeva, founder of the investment Ponzi-scheme Vlastelina, who was accused of the financial fraud of 17 thousand investors, which estimated total amount was 536.7 bln. roubles.
Mr. Astakhov, as a lawyer, also assisted to Yelena Baturina (the wife of the former Moscow mayor began legal action against Forbes magazine because of the article, which provoked a “wrong, misleading perception” of the audience about INTEKO company’s activities, particularly, the article stated that INTEKO had been supported by local state authorities); famous businessman Telman Ismailov (due to the investigation of the illegal actions and breaches of law at the Cherkizovsky Market, owned by the businessman), Mayor of Volgograd city Yevgeny Ishchenko (was engaged in the crime case of malpractice and abuse of authority, ammunition storage, illegal participation in business enterprises), etc.
According to some reports, in 2003 the famous lawyer expressed his willingness to defend Saddam Hussein in court in case of the International Criminal Tribunal. However, the latter one did not express the same desire.
Apart of his legal practice, Pavel Astakhov wrote books and was a TV-show presenter.
The lawyer holds different prizes and awards (the Order of Honour, the Commemorative Service Medal of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, etc.), as well as anti-awards (Sexist of the Year).
After release from the position of the Children's Rights Commissioner for the President of the Russian Federation, Pavel Astakhov recommenced his professional legal activity as a lawyer.
Assistance in the establishment of the regime of personal dictatorship, human rights violation, marginalization of the Children's Rights Commissioner’s activity, profiteering on children’s rights’ subject (‘crimes against childhood’, ‘anti-human rights activity’).
In 2007 he created and led social-political movement For Putin!, aimed at creating the electoral support to the Russian president. Famous lawyer Pavel Astakhov publicly declared that Vladimir Putin should remain the leader. De facto, that meant his readiness to assist the realization of the United Russia leaders’ policy of the state authorities’ irremovability. During the November party convention, Pavel Astakhov clearly stated that it did not matter how Vladimir Putin would hold power, but the main issue was that Vladimir Putin had to remain a national leader.
Then, explaining his idea about the crucial necessity to support Vladimir Putin as the leader, he compared the following presidential elections with the ‘election of the householder’ and, actually, named Vladimir Putin the ‘owner of Russia’. This statement contradicts the democratic principles of state authorities’ formation and the role of the president in the system of power-division. Moreover, as a lawyer, Pavel Astakhov could not but understand that this model, offered to the Russian society, violates constitutional pillars of the Russian state, particularly, the citizens’ right to free vote and choice of authorities.
Pavel Astakhov’s activities could be regarded as an attempt to imitate social support of the authoritarian leader in order to gain political and other profits. According to several experts, positioning himself a s a strong advocate of the president, Pavel Astakhov pursued his own aims of personal promotion and was guided by the current political situation. This point of view is confirmed by the following public and civic position promotions of Pavel Astakhov, just after his civic initiative - movement For Putin!:
2007 – was elected to the Civic Chamber;
2008 – was included in the Civic Council of the FSS (FSB)
2008-2009 – was included in the Civic Council of the Central Federal District, particularly, became a member of the General Panel/Presidium; was reelected to the Civic Chamber;
2009 – was appointed as the Children's Rights Commissioner for the President of the Russian Federation.
In connection with the creation of For Putin! Movement, the well-known human rights activist Lev Ponomarev gave the following assessment of Pavel Astakhov’s activities: “He had become the first one in this area. Only after those such movements as ‘Nashisty/Nashy’, ‘Molodaya Gvardiya’, and others of the same type were created. Thus, Astakhov was noted in Kremlin and he was appointed as a respresentative of the president…”
Moreover, the executive director of the movement ‘For Human Rights’ in his interview to the Russian edition of the Voice of America called Pavel Astakhov as a ‘political appointee of Vladimir Putin’, but ‘very unsuccessful one’.
Mr. Astakhov’s activities during his public service, his statements, and initiatives are very demonstrative and revealing. In 2009 Pavel Astakhov, for the first time, fully advocated the complete moratorium of Russian orphans’ adoption by American citizens. In 2012 he initiated the adoption of this draft bill. He justified his opinion by showing statistics that in the USA adopted children were more likely to be killed by their new parents than in Russia. He publicly expressed his rejection of foreign adoption and manipulated the facts, deliberately distorting them. Afterward, these facts were not confirmed, and experts from both the countries published this information, including the media sources.
The law, proposed by Pavel Astakhov, was adopted on 28th December 2012 and was named The Dima Yakovlev Law.
Analyzing Astakhov’s activity during this period, the conclusion is that the issue of orphan children, particularly initiation of this law, was raised in order to shape a civic negative opinion towards foreign adoption as a part of anti-Western rhetoric. Fomentation of civic prejudices and anti-Western opinions had to become an answer to the US Magnitsky Act and favor justification and legitimation of inner policy.
According to several sources, Pavel Astakhov personally proposed to Vladimir Putin an adoption of a bill as an asymmetric answer to Magnitsky Act. Mr.Astakhov stated in one of his interviews: “Any unfriendly act in respect of another state should be followed by a counter-act of the suffering state”.
Thus, the main aim of this bill is considered to have nothing to do with juvenile rights protection. According to civil and human rights activists, this law is ‘political speculation and profiteering’, ‘so-called response’ to the Magnitsky Act, which strongly infringes upon the Russian ruling elite’s interests. And, in fact, it is totally “brutal and human” in respect of orphan children. The Head of the Civic organization Child’s right, member of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation Boris Altshuler called it ‘asymmetric’ and ‘inadequate’ response.
‘Magnitsky Act is aimed to protect Russian citizens from corrupted officials, violating human rights. While the Dima Yakovlev Law is not aimed at protecting US citizens from US officials but punishes Russian children, who become hostages of their orphanage. However, they could acquire a new family’, - said Boris Altshuler for Deutsche Welle.
Moreover, according to a member of the Civic Chamber, the main cause of unwillingness to give children to foreign families is that the system of orphanage upbringing and education is the source of illegal enrichment for Russian officials and politicians.
‘All the system of children’s’ adoption is a big corrupted scheme’ – stated Boris Altshuler. He also called it a ‘child shop’, where children are merchandises and articles of trade.
The result of initiative, proposed by Pavel Astakhov, was an evident decrease of Russian orphans’ adoption chances. Children (including, those with severe diseases), who could be adapted and cured, had no more such an option. Some of them died a bit later, still staying in orphanages.
The law, proposed by the famous lawyer, violates international commitments of Russia, particularly Article 21 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, as a participant. The prohibition and violation of this convention by Russia lead to serious reputation losses and worsening of international relations.
In 2015 Pavel Astakhov was engaged in a scandal, concerning the marriage of 56-year-old Nazhud Guchigov from the Chechen Republic and a minor, teenage schoolgirl Kheda Goylabiyeva. Despite his position as the Children's Rights Commissioner, Pavel Astakhov supported the marriage, which violates constitutional norms and Russian marital and family legislation. According to that, Russia is a secular state, and plural marriage and marriage enforcement (particularly, those of under-age children) are crimes. Instead of performing his official duties, Pavel Astakhov ignored the violation of Russian legislation and justified this case by Caucasian cultural peculiarities.
This case was not the first one, in which Pavel Astakhov demonstrated his unprincipled and immoral position in regard to under-age, minor children. Earlier, in 2005, according to the media, Pavel Astakhov defended a young pedophile Khabibulla Pakhtakhonov. His client perverted 10-year-old Valentina Isayeva, who gave birth to a child later.
Moreover, in 2013 he defended Colonel Yuri Budanov, who, according to the prosecution side, kidnapped and killed 17-year-old girl Elza Kungayeva during his military service in the Chechen Republic. According to witnesses, Yuri Budanov, during 2 hours, was beating Elsa, undressed, and strangled her. Pavel Astakhov tried to mitigate the final punishment and publicly expressed his regret, when Yuri Budanov took back his appeal for pardon, addressed to the president.
In 2016 Pavel Astakhov publicly supported Yelena Mizulina’s prohibition of baby hatches and launched prosecutor’s inspections for those, that still exist. These inspections revealed no breaches of law; however, the Children's Rights Commissioner did not change his viewpoint, despite the fact that frequently that is the only way to save a child’s life. The state ‘civil rights activist’ did not even think about a violation of the constitutional rights of children to life and health.
In 2016 Pavel Astakhov, after Lake Syamozero tragedy, during his meeting with survived children, asked, as the Children's Rights Commissioner: ‘So, how do you feel after swimming?’. This case initiated the creation of a CHANGE.ORG petition for Pavel Astakhov’s resignation. In a matter of days, this petition exceeded 150 thousand votes and, the very same autumn, he was released from the position by the President of the Russian Federation.
In the report at his website, the Children's Rights Commissioner informs that he has actively worked on the law improvement ‘in order to protect children from sexual harassments and sexual exploitation’ and shows his following formulations: “The law bill eliminates recognition of pornographic files and materials, containing images and descriptions of children’s genitals if they have historic, artistic and cultural value”.
Astakhov’s statements about his fight against children’s sexual exploitation do not correspond to the facts, according to the civil activists of this area. They say that Russia holds one of the leading positions on the total number of accessible child pornography in the world. Thousands of children are engaged in sexual exploitation. It is practically impossible to save such children, as all major brothels are maintained by law enforcement authorities. In one of his interviews to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, one of the experts said that Pavel Astakhov had done nothing to save these children:
Reminding Astakhov’s activity, Lev Ponomarev, who, as a civil rights activist, is engaged in children problems and juvenile issues, gave the following description: ‘These occasional contacts and meetings, which I had with the Office of the Children's Rights Commissioner for the President of the Russian Federation, always ended with no effect. People, who were sent there by me with their personal troubles, told me later, that it did not go well’.