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Saturday, January 13, 2007

Novaya Gazeta on the Kremlin's Killers

Kommersant reports on the current lead story from Novaya Gazeta, wherein the paper puports to have discovered new evidence of the extent of the Kremlin's use of murder as a political device:

Former and serving officers of Russia’s enforcement bodies, ranging from secret services to the Army and Interior Ministry, were involved in big terror actions and killings of the past 15 years, Igor Korolkov from Novaya Gazeta concluded.

Quite a number of criminal cases show the existence of certain strategic plot, which unites dozens of terror actions committed both in Russia and oversees, Korolkov wrote in the article published by Novaya Gazeta. Novaya Gazeta correspondent, Korolkov rooted that assumption in the personal experience. In mid.-1990s, he wrote, he met a few covert gangs led by serving officers of secret services of the Interior Ministry. High-ranked officials of the KGB-FSB were involved in the series of big terror actions that hit Moscow starting from mid.-1990. On the other hand, Korolkov didn’t disclose the sources of information nor did he provide some documentary confirmation. Instead, the correspondent published the extracts from some secret instruction. The document says officers of Russia’s enforcement bodies are willing to create “a wide network of agents” and “special troops” for “physical killing the chiefs and active members of terrorist, intelligence and subversive groups fighting the federal authorities.” reports:

New documents prove that Russian Death Squads have been created to eliminate political opponents. Russian Internet publication “Novaya Gazeta” published excerpts from the secret document where the death squads officially established and described possibility of terror acts against enemy. Publication describes that most of the killings were done by Russian secret services, army and police. The editor of “Novaya Gazeta” Igor Korolkov published document that is secret instruction letter. “Organized crime and terror is become dangerous for the government. It is necessary to have a department that has real possibility to solve problems using agents and spy connections.” Furthermore, the document describes places of interest such as banking industry, government agencies, custom and tax services and courts. “When necessary, the special forces (SPETSNAZ) and its illegal spying abilities can be used to eliminate leaders and active members of terrorist organizations, spying agencies working inside who openly in confrontation with Federal Government. In fact writes Korolkov, Special Forces have legal base bypassing Constitution and thought its semi legal forces become one of the enforcement tool in government hands. In the past high profile killings there is little progress in investigating cases, Many cases have officers and FSB agents as main suspects.

LR hopes to publish a complete translation of the Novaya Gazeta report in the future. The article begins like this:


The hidden units of the special services have created secret cadres for the performance of extrajudicial sentences as they accomplish murders in the interests of state.

Secret instructions

Something occurred in Russia after the death of Aleksandr litvinenko in London. It’s hard to put your finger on exactly what it was, but one perceived a certain sensation of unmistakable danger . . .

The Kremlin had nothing to do with the killing. The highest officials have so sworn. But for some reason we do not believe them. Perhaps one of the reasons is the fact the fact that we remember how very recently the same officials certified solemnly that that the arrests of employees of the Russian embassy in Qatar was unrelated to the murder of the former Acting President of Chechnya Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev (pictured above left). This proved false: a video recording showed the entire process of placing a bomb in Yandarbieyev’s car by our diplomats. Thus, perhaps the murder of Litvinenko became that drop of information which which overfilled the cup of our knowledge, and we understood about our country something that makes us feel as if we stand naked before the world in the full light of day.

Werewolves from the GRU

What about our own personal experiences? To each his own. I will describe mine, which I alternatively find difficult to believe and utterly terrifying.

In 1995 I prepared an article about the Larionov bandit group which terrorized Vladivostok in the early part of the decade. The Prosecutor's office conducted criminal case. It was explained that the criminal group was rather unusual. It more resembled a military unit with a clear organizational structure, strict hierarchy and iron discipline than a hodgpodge band of miscreants. This was explained by the fact that it was comprised of former members of the combat and political training division of the VDV [TN: the Russian Airbourn forces, similar to the American Green Beret] and of the Marines, and even included one of the best staff members of local prosecutor himself. They did not refer to themselves as a gang but rather as a “The System” and the followed the strictures of a book titled “The Acquarium” written by a former intelligence officer named Rezun of the GRU [TN: Something like the National Security Agency in the U.S., the GRU is the supersecret element of the KGB which was left largely untouched when the USSR disbanded]. “The System” was equipped with the all the latest eavesdropping devices -- by telephone, at a distance, through walls and windows -- as well as with devices for coding of its own communications to keep them safe from prying ears. The System was wonderfully armed, and it had available several ten secret apartments. It gathered intelliegence on the local authorities via an extensive net of agents. It committed murders, victimizing both members of the authorities and rival criminal groups. When the question arose as to how the group managed to achieve such pinacles of success, it was possible to explain that with the group collaborated two Colonels of the GRU: Zubov, the acting chief of the secret service administration for the reconnaissance of Pacific Ocean fleet, and Poluboyarinov, the former chief of the operational-analytical center of the same administration. Poluboyarinov had created the group and also led in it’s analytical division. The System acted with self confidence and insolently. After each perfect crime some invisible force impeded investigation, discontined criminal cases and generally threw a wrench into the works.

One of those whose professional activity imperiled very existence of The System was the chief of the Central Directorate of Internal Affairs (“GUVD”) of Vladivostok, Colonel Slyadnev. Therefore, the organization made the decision to kill the Colonel. The job was assigned to a former of the Navy Special Forces and they named it "Barracuda.”


Anonymous said...

I believe Korolkov. This is so huge it feels difficult to even react to it, almost as if a bomb's just gone off and sucked the air out of the room. Is that the reason no one is reacting to it? Here's a paradox -- although it's stunning, oddly enough, this news isn't surprising in the least.

We've heard this rumored by Anna Politkovskaya, Alexander Litvinenko and Mikhail Trepashkin. Maybe it's not too late to save Trepashkin.

LaR, I'm with you -- I want to read the entire story.

David McDuff's away a few days from his "A Step At A Time" blog, but he is one of the best -- if not truly the best -- Russian to English translators in the world. I hope that he considers translating this Igor Korolkov “Novaya Gazeta” story as soon as he gets back to his blog.

It crosses my mind that this document about FSB death squads is exactly what got Politkovskaya killed, though I really have nothing substantial to base that on.

La Russophobe said...

MARIPOSA: Thanks for the comment. I hope to get hold of a professional translation within the next few days. One reason for the lack of reaction could well be that it hasn't circulated in English. Another could be fear (after all, people who write such things have a nasty habit of getting killed in particularly grusome ways). You're quite right in saying this kind of thing got Politkovskaya killed, and it's clear that there are other people at NG who are marked. But, perhaps because of Anna's memory, they bravely soldier on.