A sad loss for democracy

A sad loss for democracy
August 28th, 2007  

Topic: A sad loss for democracy

A sad loss for democracy
There are few journalists I would shed a tear over but this was a brave, fearless woman with a strong sense of honour and a credit to her profession and democracy.


Prosecutor General of Russia Yury Chaika announced yesterday that his office has solved the murder of Novaya gazeta reporter Anna Politkovskaya. The Basmanny Court ordered the arrest of ten people in the case, among them three former policemen and an FSB officer. The others are all Chechens. According to Chaika, the murder was carried out on the orders of people who are in hiding abroad and “intent on destabilizing conditions in the country and changing the constitutional order.” Thus political emigrant Boris Berezovsky has been included among the potential organizers of the crime.
Prosecutor General Yury Chaika reported to Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday morning on the investigation of well-known cases and then held a press conference on the same topic. He stated that Basmanny Court has ordered the arrest of ten people on suspicion of involvement in the murder of Anna Politkovskaya October 7, 2006, in the entrance to her apartment building on Lesnaya St. in Moscow. Among them was the organizer of the crime, a Chechen. There were three unidentified policemen among those arrested and a colonel in the Moscow department of the FSB, Pavel Ryaguzov. His name was released after a briefing by the head of FSB internal security Alexander Kupryazhkin. Ryaguzov tailed Politkovskaya and reported information to the Chechen killers. The prosecutor general also made it cleat that the murder of Politkovskaya may be related to the murders of first deputy chairman of the Central Bank Andrey Kozlov last year and editor of Russian Forbes Paul Klebnikov in 2004. Those arrested, according to the prosecutor general, were members of an organized group that specialized in such crimes.

“As for the motive, the results of the investigation lead us to conclude that only persons located outside the Russian federation could be interested in the elimination of Politkovskaya,” Chaika stated in answer to a question. “It [the murder] was of benefit most of all to those people and structures who are intent on destabilizing conditions in the country and changing the constitutional order, the creation of crises in Russia, a return to the former system of governance where everything was decided by money and oligarchs and discreditation of the leaders of the Russian government who are trying to provoke external pressure on the leadership of our country.” Chaika refused to say whether or not he was referring to Boris Berezovsky.

Berezovsky's lawyer Andrey Borovkov stated that the Prosecutor General's Office “was not interested” in his client in the case of Politkovskaya's murder. Berezovsky himself said that he was not surprised by the prosecutor general's hints and that “the Kremlin is behind” Politkovskaya's murder and the murder of former FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko.

Igor Trunov, lawyer for chairman of VIP Bank Alexey Frenkel, who is accused of organizing the murder of Central Bank first deputy chairman Andrey Kozlov, told Kommersant that there are no persons involved in the case “living beyond the borders of Russia.” “I've already dug through all the volumes of the accusation and acquainted myself with all the documents, and I did not find a single person living abroad,” Trunov said. “Khozh-Akhmed Nokhaev [Chechen “godfather” accused of the murder of Klebnikov] isn't there, nor is Berezovsky.”

The lawyers of those arrested made only general comments yesterday, noting that no charges have been made against their clients yet and they swore not to reveal material from the case. One of the lawyers stated that three Chechen brothers are the main figures in the case. The middle brother, a young lawyer, is suspected by investigators of organizing Politkovskaya's murder, while the other two carried out the crime. They also brought a Chechen fish seller from the local open air market with them to the site of the crime. Based on that scanty information, investigators suspect that the Chechens had no personal grudges against Politkovskaya or her publications and were rather contracted for a large sum of money. “It follows from the words of my client that investigators beat him over the head with a bottle to get him to confess,” said Murad Musaev, lawyer of one of the suspects. “And they threatened to do worse.” The brothers have already been charged under article 105 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“Murder”). Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov commented in connection with these events that “Law enforcement agencies should have looked into the Chechens living in Moscow a long time ago.”

“It's complete nonsense,” was the reaction of the acquaintances of Col. Ryaguzov to the possibility of his involvement in the murder of Politkovskaya. Until the announcement made by Gen. Kupryazhkin yesterday, Ryaguzov's family and friends thought that he had been taken into custody in connection with an incident that occurred in 2002. At that time, a suspect ran away from a group of FSB men, among whom was Ryaguzov. The escapee was detained ad severely beaten. The prosecutor's office ruled that the officers' actions were justified, however. It was noted in the prosecutor's decision not to initiate a criminal case that a new investigation would be made. Kupryazhkin indirectly confirmed that information yesterday when he said that Ryaguzov had long been in the attention of the FSB internal security department.

“Pavel mainly had a spotless reputation,” one of his colleagues said. His colleagues said that he specialized in crimes connected with illegal weapons sales and had more than once risked his life to confiscate weapons and explosives. He had received honors. He lived with his wife and two small children in a modest two-room apartment that he inherited from his grandfather and bore no resemblance in his acquaintances' eyes to a renegade cop. FSB officers drew attention to the fact that that the Interior Ministry did not name any of the policemen, subordinate to it, who were implicated in Politkovskaya's murder.

Editor-in-chief of Novaya gazeta Dmitry Muradov stated that he was satisfied with the progress of the investigation. “The investigators' conclusions are extremely convincing and professional,” he commented. The newspaper does not intend to abandon its own investigation of the murder, however.

Musaev and the other lawyers for the arrestees think that the prosecutor is only trying to close the case by a notable date: Anna Politkovskaya would have turned 49 on August 30.
Sergey Mashkin, Yury Syun, Olga Allenova
August 28th, 2007  
A Can of Man
And most Europeans *like* Russia.

Similar Topics
Duke still No. 1 in AP poll despite loss
New weight loss program
Ward calls Steelers' loss worst ever
So sad......
President Bush initiates Stop Loss