Posts Tagged ‘Boris Berezovsky.’

Bodies of dead Russian exiles may be exhumed over Putin’s stockpiling of nerve agent for assassinations

March 19, 2018

The remains of at least two Russians who dropped dead suddenly in the UK are now expected to be re-examined

The remains of at least two Russians who dropped dead suddenly in the UK are now expected to be re-examined

The Telegraph

The bodies of Russian dissidents who died mysteriously could be exhumed in the wake of Boris Johnson’s disclosure that the Kremlin has spent a decade developing nerve agent for assassinations.

The remains of at least two Russians who dropped dead suddenly in the UK are now expected to be re-examined. Neither were tested for nerve agent poisoning at the time they died.

On Sunday Mr Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, accused Vladimir Putin’s regime of breaking international law by developing the nerve agent Novichok for use by hit squads over the past ten years.

Sergei Skripal, a Russian spy, and his daughter Yulia Skripal are fighting for their lives in intensive care after being poisoned by Novichok…

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Bodies of dead Russian exiles ‘to be RE-EXAMINED’ for nerve agents after Salisbury attack

BODIES of at least two Russians who died in sudden fashion in the UK are now expected to be exhumed and re-examined, as they were not tested for nerve agent poisoning when they died.

russia, salisbury, spy, putinGETTY

Bodies of at least two Russians who died in sudden fashion are expected to be re-examined

The news has come amid claims that Russia was behind the nerve agent attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia.

One of the men who is expected to be re-examined – Badri Patarkatsishvili – died aged 52 in February 2008 at his mansion in Surrey, where he had been living in exile after having fled Russia in 2001.

Mr Patarkatsishvili was a business partner Vladimir Putin’s arch enemy, Boris Berezovsky.

Mr Berezovsky was himself found dead at his Surrey home in mysterious circumstances in 2013.

A friend of Mr Patarkatsishvili, who did not want to be named for fear of reprisal, said: “The Home Office must consider exhuming Badri’s body.

“They never did the toxicological report on Badri. Surrey police just said he had a bad heart and had a heart attack. But I had seen him before his death and he was absolutely fine. The next day he was gone.”

Surrey Police also failed to test for a nerve agent when it came to the case of 43-year-old Alexander Perepilichny.

Mr Perepilichny died while out jogging at his home in 2012 after having provided evidence of fraud by Kremlin-linked officials.

Whilst police were not able to identify the cause of death, they did insist it was not suspicious.

However, an associate of Mr Perepilichny has also claimed that his body should be exhumed.

The source added: “He was never tested for nerve agent.”

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has called for a new inquiry into 14 deaths, including those of Mr Patarkatsishvili, Mr Berezovsky and Mr Perepilichny, to be conducted together by both the police and M15.

amber rudd, uk, russiaGETTY

Amber Rudd has called for a new inquiry into 14 deaths

The investigation is not expected to begin until the investigation into the attack on both Sergei Skripal and his daughter begins to scale down, thus freeing up the availability of intelligence officers and detectives.

The news has come as Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has accused Russia of stockpiling the nerve agent Novichok within the last 10 years.

Mr Johnson said: “We actually have evidence within the last 10 years that Russia has not only been investigating the delivery of nerve agents for the purposes of assassination but has also been creating and stockpiling Novichok itself.”

Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin has broken his silence to dismiss claims Russia was involved in the nerve agent attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, as “nonsense”.

The Russian President said more people would have died in Salisbury if a military nerve agent had been used in the attack.

Speaking after winning a new term in the Russian presidential election, Putin dismissed the “absurd” claims and questioned why “Russia would do anything like that before the elections and the World Cup” this summer.


Russian exile Nikolai Glushkov strangled in London — fierce critic of Vladimir Putin — second recent Russia-sponsored attack on British soil? — Long arm of Putin — Twelve Deaths on UK Soil

March 17, 2018

Nikolai Glushkov

Nikolai Glushkov was found dead at home – he had been strangled CREDIT: LINKEDIN


fierce critic of Vladimir Putin, who was found dead at his south London home earlier this week, was murdered, police have said, amid fears of a second Russia-sponsored attack on British soil.

Businessman, Nikolai Glushkov, 68, who was granted asylum in the UK after fleeing Moscow in 2006, was strangled to death, Scotland Yard has confirmed.

The former right-hand man of deceased oligarch, Boris Berezovsky, his death came just over a week after Russian spy, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter, Yulia, were poisoned by a nerve agent in Salisbury.

The former boss of the state airline Aeroflot, Mr Glushkov had told friends he feared he was on a Kremlin hit-list.

Wish suspicion falling again on Moscow, police have reportedly started contacting a number of Russian exiles to discuss their safety.

Police and the security services have now reassessed their view that exiles are at a low risk, the BBC reported.

A former bodyguard, who worked for Mr Berezovsky, and knew Mr Glushkov well, said his death had all the hallmarks of a state-sponsored assassination.

A murder investigation was launched in New Malden

The France-based security expert, who asked to be identified only by his initials, RG, said: “I’m not at all surprised [that a murder investigation has been opened].

“You can easily choke someone in 10 seconds so that they fall into a comatose state and you can then continue strangling them without leaving any other marks on the body. It’s a technique they [the Russians] know well.”

Mr Berezovsky was found hanged in the bathroom of his Surrey home in 2013, with the cause of death being put down to suicide.

But suspicion has always surrounded the circumstances of his death, with many believing he was one of a number of Putin critics who were deliberately silenced.

Another of their close associates, Badri Patarkatsishvili, 52, died at his Surrey home in 2008, following an apparent heart attack.

Twelve Deaths on UK Soil

A close personal friend of the three men, who asked not to be named, said he was in little doubt their murders were linked.

He said: “All of them were in no doubt that Boris was killed. It is perhaps inevitable that they would be assassinated themselves.

“It is a very horrible thing to happen, he was a lovely man, a very funny man with a great sense of humour. It sounds like somebody has a vendetta against them.”

Boris Berezovsky was found dead at his Surrey home five years ago

Boris Berezovsky was found dead at his Surrey home five years ago

Counter terror officers continued to probe the nerve gas attack on Mr Skirpal, whose attempted murder led to the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats from London.

Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, escalated the war of words with Russia, when he accused Vladimir Putin of personally ordering the nerve agent attack.

He said it was “overwhelmingly likely” that the Russian President was behind the attempted murder, a claim that was described as “unpardonable” by Mr Putin’s spokesman.

News of this latest murder investigation will further stoke fears that critics or enemies of Russia and its leader, are no longer safe on British soil.

Downing Street said the Prime Minister had been “kept informed” of developments but stressed that Mr Glushkov’s death was a police matter and that no link had been made with the Salisbury poisoning case.

But Iain Duncan Smith, the former Conservative leader, said the murder of Mr Glushkov appeared to “fit into a pattern” of violent deaths of enemies of Mr Putin.

The police investigation is continuing in Salisbury

The police investigation is continuing in Salisbury

He said: “If there is a link between Mr Glushkov’s death and the Kremlin it will be further proof that we are dealing with essentially a rogue state which refuses to abide by international rules and has violated UN laws.

“What has been going on is a deliberate attempt to settle Russian scores in the UK.”

Boris Johnson has laid the blame at Putin's door

Boris Johnson has laid the blame at Putin’s door

But a key ally of Jeremy Corbyn has suggested moderate Labour MPs who blame Russia for spy poisoning are “enemies” who should be deselected.

Chris Williamson, the Labour MP for Derby North, said Labour MPs who had decided Moscow was “unequivocally” to blame were “baying for blood” and he suggested they face de-selection.

And the Kremlin also ramped up its language, launching a withering response to Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, who had suggested Russia should “go away and shut up”.

Major-General Igor Konashenkov, a spokesman at Russia’s defence ministry, accused Mr Williamson of engaging in “market wench talk”, adding that it reflected his “intellectual impotency”.

Putin enemy found dead in London eight days after Skripal poisoning — “Putin’s Impunity”

March 14, 2018

Nikolai Glushkov

Nikolai Glushkov, a close ally of Putin critic Boris Berezovsky, died at the age of 69 CREDIT: LINKED IN


Counter-terrorism police have opened an investigation into the “unexplained” death on British soil of an arch enemy of Vladimir Putin, just eight days after the nerve gas assassination attempt on a Russian double agent.

Nikolai Glushkov, 68, the right-hand man of the deceased oligarch Boris Berezovsky, Mr Putin’s one-time fiercest rival, was found dead at his London home on Monday.

A Russian media source said Glushkov, the former boss of the state airline Aeroflot, who said he feared he was on a Kremlin hit-list, was found with “strangulation marks” on his neck.

The inquiry into Glushkov’s death was announced hours before a midnight deadline for the Kremlin to explain how Russian-made nerve…

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Nikolai Glushkov, Russian Exile Linked To A Putin Critic, Dies In London

Police are investigating at a residential address in southwest London on Tuesday, where the body of Russian businessman Nikolai Glushkov was found on Monday night. Glushkov, 68, was a close friend of former Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky, a prominent critic of the Kremlin who was found dead in 2013.

Eva Ryan/AP

Nikolai Glushkov, a Russian exile who was a close friend of a noted critic of President Vladimir Putin, has died from an “unexplained” cause in London, police say. The Metropolitan Police says that its counterterrorism unit is handling the case “because of associations that the man is believed to have had.”

Glushkov, 68, was a close friend of Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky, a prominent critic of the Kremlin who was found dead in 2013. At the time, an inquiry found he had hanged himself — but Glushkov publicly disputed the idea that his friend and former business ally would have killed himself.

As British media began reporting Glushkov’s death, the police issued a statement saying, “An investigation is underway following the death of a man in his 60s in Kingston borough.”

The London Ambulance Service had called police after being summoned to a house in New Malden, where the man was found dead.

“The death is currently being treated as an unexplained,” police said, adding that the Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Command is leading the investigation as a precaution.

Police said that they believe they know the man’s identity and that his family has been notified, but that officials are still awaiting a formal identification.

Glushkov’s death comes a week after former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were found poisoned in Salisbury, England. Officials in the U.K. say they were the victims of a Russian-engineered nerve agent. The father and daughter remain in critical condition, and British Prime Minister Theresa May has demanded answers from Russia about how the lethal Novichok nerve agent came to be used on U.K. soil.

“There is no evidence to suggest a link to the incident in Salisbury,” police said day, as they announced the investigation into Glushkov’s death.

Of the Skripal case, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said, “the use of this nerve agent would represent the first use of nerve agents on the continent of Europe since the Second World War.”

Russian officials have rejected the idea that their government is responsible for the attack on Skripal. On Tuesday, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said such claims were “nonsense.”

Still, the poisoning and now the unexplained death have resurfaced talk of what many see as a pattern of Russians who run afoul of the Kremlin and later die under suspicious or criminal circumstances.

Just two years ago, the official report emerged about the death of Mikhail Lesin, a former Russian press minister and Putin adviser, whose death had originally been reported by Russian media outlets as the result of a heart attack — despite the fact that Lesin had died in a hotel in Washington, D.C., and that his death was eventually ruled to have been caused by “blunt force injuries.” The manner of death was classified as “undetermined.”

Another notable case involved Alexander Perepilichny, a Russian banker turned whistleblower who died during a jog near his home in Surrey. As NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly reported, “Traces of a rare, poisonous flowering plant were found in his stomach.”

As a close associate of Berezovsky, Glushkov was linked to one of the most successful of Russia’s oligarchs to emerge from the collapse of the Soviet Union. Berezovsky had been an early ally of Putin — but their relationship changed drastically, culminating in the tycoon leaving Russia and being locked in a multi-billion-dollar legal battle with another oligarch, Roman Abramovich, over proceeds from the Sibneft oil company. That dispute was eventually settled in Abramovich’s favor.

Describing the suspicions around Berezovsky’s death in 2013, the Financial Times reported:

“He had, after all, long claimed President Putin ordered the 2006 poisoning with radioactive polonium-210 of one of Berezovsky’s protégés, Alexander Litvinenko, the former KGB agent. He was set to be a witness in a potentially explosive inquest in October into Litvinenko’s death.”

Glushkov refused to believe there had been no foul play in Berezovsky’s demise — particularly as it came years after the death of another ally, the Georgian billionaire Badri Patarkatsishvili, who had died of an apparent heart attack in Surrey.

“You have the deaths of Boris and Badri over a short period of time. Too many bodies are happening. I would say this is a little bit too much,” Glushkov told The Guardian in 2013. He added that the list of prominent Russians who opposed Putin was continuing to shrink: “I don’t see anyone left on it apart from me.”

Berezovsky also controlled the Aeroflot airline — and Glushkov ran it for him. They were accused of embezzling from the enterprise, and in 2007, a Russian court ordered them to repay millions of dollars. But by then, Berezovsky had moved to London. Glushkov wasn’t as fortunate; he served five years over money laundering and fraud, The Guardian reports, before following Berezovsky to England several years later.

Russia slams ex-spy poisoning allegations as ‘propaganda (Didn’t they say the same about chemical weapons in Syria?)

March 9, 2018


© AFP/File | Sergei Skripal bought groceries at a corner shop in the southern English city of Salisbury before collapsing

ADDIS ABABA (AFP) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday dismissed as “propaganda” accusations that Moscow was behind a nerve agent attack on a former double agent residing in Britain.British media and politicians have said the attack on Sergei Skripal, who came to Britain in a spy swap in 2010, bears the hallmarks of a Russian operation.

“They’re levelling accusations against us for everything that goes wrong — according to our western partners — on this very planet,” Lavrov said during a visit to the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

“This is propaganda fair and square and it is trying to raise tension.”

While Britain has not formally blamed Russia for the attack, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said it “echoes” the 2006 poisoning in London of former Russian spy and Kremlin critic Alexander Litvinenko.

London blamed Moscow for that attack.

Some 21 people were injured in the incident which took place in the sleepy southwestern English city of Salisbury where Skripal was found on Sunday, slumped on a bench with his daughter Yulia.

“If action needs to be taken, then the government will do that,” British Prime Minister Theresa May has pledged.

National counter-terrorism police have taken over the investigation which they are treating as attempted murder.

Skripal was a former colonel in Russian military intelligence who was jailed for betraying agents to Britain’s MI6 secret service. In 2010, he was pardoned and then flown to Britain as part of a high-profile spy swap involving Russia and the United States.


Death By Poison Shadows Russian Spies — “If Putin wants you dead; you’re dead.”

March 7, 2018

In a 2010 interview, Vladimir Putin that Russian double agents would pay for their 'betrayal'

In a 2010 interview, Vladimir Putin said that Russian double agents would pay for their ‘betrayal’


Vladimir Putin vowed to kill the Russian double agent who was poisoned on British soil and has been left fighting for his life.

President Putin issued the death threat that “traitors will kick the bucket” as Colonel Sergei Skripal, who was convicted of working for MI6, was being sent to the UK in a spy exchange.

The emergence of Putin’s warning will reinforce the increasing belief of ministers that the attack on Colonel Skripal on British soil was a ‘state-sponsored’ assassination attempt and perpetrated by the Russian intelligence agency, the FSB.

It came amid rising diplomatic tensions between Moscow and London as Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary, threatened fresh sanctions against Russia…

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BBC News

Police are looking at CCTV footage of a man and woman walking near the bench where Sergei and Yulia Skripal were found

The woman found slumped on a shopping centre bench alongside a former Russian agent convicted of spying for Britain is his daughter, it has emerged.

Yulia Skripal, in her 30s, and father Sergei, 66, are critically ill in hospital after being found unconscious in Salisbury, Wiltshire, on Sunday.

UK police are trying to find out what “unknown substance” harmed the pair.

A number of emergency services workers were assessed immediately after the incident – and one remains in hospital.

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Russia insists it has “no information” on what could have led to the incident, but says it is open to co-operate in the police investigation if requested.

Police officers near a forensic tent in SalisburyImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionA forensic tent covers the area where the couple were found

Former agent Mr Skripal, whose wife, son and older brother have all died in the past two years, was granted refuge in the UK following a “spy swap” in 2010.

Dmitry Peskov, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, told journalists that Moscow was prepared to help with the investigation.

“We see this tragic situation but we don’t have information on what could have led to this, what he was engaged in,” he said.

Police are currently examining CCTV footage, filmed by a Salisbury gym, showing an unidentified man and woman walking near to the location where Mr Skripal and his daughter were found.

Map of investigation

Wiltshire Police said the pair, found at The Maltings shopping centre in Salisbury, had no visible injuries – but that officers were investigating whether a crime had been committed.

Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Craig Holden said the police’s “major incident” response was not a counter-terrorism investigation – but that multiple agencies were involved and they were keeping an “open mind”.

Meanwhile, police have cordoned off a nearby Zizzi restaurant and The Bishop’s Mill pub “as a precaution”.

Who is Sergei Skripal?

Sergei Skripal speaks to his lawyer from behind bars seen on a screen of a monitor outside a courtroom in Moscow.Image copyrightASSOCIATED PRESS
Image captionSergei Skripal, pictured here on the day of his sentencing in August 2006, was jailed for 13 years

Col Skripal, a retired Russian military intelligence officer, was jailed for 13 years by Russia in 2006.

He was convicted of passing the identities of Russian intelligence agents working undercover in Europe to the UK’s Secret Intelligence Service, MI6.

In July 2010, he was one of four prisoners released by Moscow in exchange for 10 Russian spies arrested by the FBI as part of a swap. He was later flown to the UK.

Read more about Sergei Skripal’s background here.

Putin, power and poison: Russia’s elite FSB spy club

Presentational grey line

An eyewitness, Freya Church, told the BBC she saw the pair sitting on the bench: “An older guy and a younger girl. She was sort of leant in on him, it looked like she had passed out maybe.

“He was doing some strange hand movements, looking up to the sky…

“They looked so out of it I thought even if I did step in I wasn’t sure how I could help.”

Media captionWitness: “They looked like they’d been taking something quite strong”

The possibility of an unexplained substance being involved has drawn comparisons with the 2006 poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko.

The Russian dissident and former intelligence officer died in London after drinking tea laced with a radioactive substance.

public inquiry concluded that his killing had probably been carried out with the approval of the Russian President, Vladimir Putin.

Mr Litvinenko’s widow, Marina Litvinenko, told BBC Radio 4’s The World Tonight the latest incident felt like “deja vu” – and called for those receiving political asylum to be “completely safe”.

She said: “It just shows how we need to take it seriously, all of these people asking for security and for safety in the UK.”


By BBC security correspondent Gordon Corera

A police officer stands outside a restaurant which was closed after former Russian inteligence officer Sergei Skripal, and a woman were found unconscious on a bench nearbyImage copyrightREUTERS
Image captionZizzi restaurant remains closed, with a police presence outside

The parallels are striking with the 2006 Litvinenko case. He, too, was a former Russian intelligence officer who had come to the UK and was taken ill for reasons that were initially unclear.

In that case, it took weeks to establish that the cause was deliberate poisoning, and it took close to a decade before a public inquiry pointed the finger of blame at the Russian state.

Officials are stressing that it is too early this time to speculate on what happened here or why.

The police are not even yet saying a crime has been committed, but if the similarities do firm up and Moscow is once again found to be in the frame there will be questions about what kind of response might be required – and whether enough was done in the past to deter such activity being repeated.


By Amanda Erickson
The Washington Post

This weekend, 66-year-old Sergei Skripal collapsed in a shopping center in the British city of Salisbury.

He is now in the intensive care unit of the city’s hospital, being treated for “suspected exposure to an unknown substance.” In other words: officials think he may have been poisoned.

Skripal, a former Russian spy, was jailed in Moscow for sharing the names of undercover Russian intelligence agents working overseas with European authorities. He was released to the U.K. as part of a prisoner swap. Officials believe Skripal may have been attacked by Russian operatives.

Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman of Russian President Vladimir Putin , denied any involvement in the attack. “We know that this tragic situation has happened, yet we have no information about its probable causes, what this man has been doing, and what this is about,” Dmitry Peskov told my colleagues.

If the investigation does, in fact, reveal that Skripal was poisoned by his fellow Russians, it wouldn’t be the first time such an incident has occurred.

Russian intelligence officials have turned political poisonings into something of an art form. Experts have worked for many years to develop colorless and odorless poisons. Some testing was done on living prisoners, according to a 1954 interview with a KGB defector.

Some poisons of choice, like the nerve agent sarin, are fatal if inhaled even in low doses. Others, like cadmium, are lethal to the touch. A Russian banker, Ivan Kivelidi, died of cadmium poisoning in 1995. Authorities say the drug had been spread on his office telephone.

In 2008, a Russian human rights lawyer was felled by mercury found in her car. In one famous case, from 1978, a Bulgarian dissident was killed after being stabbed with an umbrella tipped with ricin on Waterloo Bridge. Other substances cause victims to suffer a heart attack.

The New York Times said, “No other major power employs murder as systematically and ruthlessly as Russia does against those seen as betraying its interests abroad. Killings outside Russia were even given legal sanction by the nation’s Parliament in 2006.”

These attacks happen in Russia and abroad. Poison was slipped into the tea of journalist Anna Politkovskaya on a flight to the Caucasus. She survived, but was later gunned down in Moscow.

But Russian emigres in the U.K. seem particularly vulnerable. Russia is suspected of having organized the killings of at least 14 other people on U.K. soil over the last two decades, according to an extensive BuzzFeed investigation. That’s thanks in part to geography: London is a hub for the Russian diaspora.

But there are other reasons too. Until recently, Britain has struggled to investigate suspicious deaths as assassinations. As BuzzFeed explained after an extensive investigation: “The reasons for Britain’s reticence, they said, include fear of retaliation, police incompetence, and a desire to preserve the billions of pounds of Russian money that pour into British banks and properties each year. As a result, Russia is making what one source called increasingly ‘bold moves’ in the UK without fear of reprisals.”

Here are some of the most famous cases of Russians killed in the U.K. under mysterious circumstances:

Boris Berezovsky: Berezovsky was found apparently hanged in his bathroom in 2013. Police ruled it a suicide, but U.S. intelligence officials suspected an assassination.

Many of his associates were also targeted over the years, including:

Scot Young: Young, amultimillionaire fixer to the world’s super-rich, worried for years that he was being targeted by a team of Russian hitmen. In 2014, he was found dead, impaled on an iron fence after a fall from a window in his home. At the time, police ruled the death a suicide and did not pursue a criminal investigation. But experts, including U.S. intelligence sources, suspect he may have been murdered.

A trio of Young’s business partners – Paul Castle, Robbie Curtis and Johnny Elichaoff – all died in apparent suicides in the four years before Young. According to BuzzFeed, U.S. intelligence agencies considered their deaths suspicious.

Badri Patarkatsishvili: A Georgian oligarch and business partner of Berezovsky’s died of an apparent heart attack in 2008, probably caused by a poison.

Yuri Golubev: Another associate of Berezovsky, Golubev was found dead in 2007 in London. The oil oligarch and outspoken Putin critic was a known enemy of the Kremlin.

–Other suspicious deaths include Stephen Moss, a 46-year-old who died of a sudden heart attack in 2003 and Stephen Curtis, killed in a 2004 helicopter crash. As BuzzFeed explained, the pair was suspected of helping Russian oligarchs funnel money into Britain.

As BuzzFeed put it after its investigation, “The story of this ring of death illuminates one of the most disturbing geopolitical trends of our time – the use of assassinations by Russia’s secret services and powerful mafia groups to wipe out opponents around the globe – and the failure of British authorities to confront it.”

Alexander Litvinenko: An outspoken critic of Putin, Livinenko died in 2006 three weeks after drinking tea laced with some kind of radioactive substance. A 2016 British public inquiry found that Putin “probably” ordered the killing of the former KGB operative. The two men accused of the attack, Andrey Lugovoy and Dmitry Kovtun, denied involvement in the killing and suggested Britain was trying to stir up opposition to the government in Moscow ahead of elections.

Alexander Perepilichny: In 2009, Perepilichny fled Russia for London, where he provided evidence of high-level corruption to Swiss authorities, in the form of wire-transfer records. In 2012, the 44-year-old suffered a heart attack while on a jog. By all accounts, he was in excellent health. In 2015, his death was linked to gelsemium, a rare, poisonous plant grown in the Himalayas and known to have been used in Chinese assassinations.

Boris Berezovsky, Famed Kremlin Critic, Found Dead

March 23, 2013

Famed Kremlin Critic Found Dead

Boris Berezovsky, the high-profile Russian oligarch who became a vociferous critic of the Kremlin from his new base in Britain, died today.

Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky found dead in his bath

Boris Berezovsky was born in Moscow in 1946 into a Russian Jewish family Photo: Daniel Jones

Boris Berezovsky walks to his car after a press conference in Westminster in July 2007 Photo: PA

By , and Rob Mendick

The Telegraph

A close friend confirmed to The Telegraph that Mr Berezovsky had died at his home in Ascot, Berkshire.

Police are treating in the death as unexplained and a cordon is in place around the property while detectives and forensic officers investigate.

The circumstances of the death remain unknown but the 67 year-old businessman is thought to have been found dead in his bath.

A source close to Mr Berezovsky told RIA Novosti, the Russian state news agency, that he died from a heart attack and had recently been in Israel for medical treatment.

Demyan Kudryavtsev, a business associate of the tycoon, dismissed claims that he had committed suicide, saying he had died from heart failure.

“There were no external signs of suicide, no traces from needles or signs that he had taken tablets. It’s not clear why his heart stopped,” he said.

Despite this, his death will inevitably raise questions about nefarious activities because Mr Berezovsky had survived several assassination attempts, including a bomb that decapitated his chauffeur in 1994.

He was also a close friend of Alexander Litvinenko, the Russian dissident who was fatally poisoned with radioactive polonium-210 in London in 2006.

Another close friend in the “London Circle” of exiled but influential Russians is Akhmed Zakayev, who was also the subject of a plot to assassinate him on British soil.

However, there are also other more mundane possible explanations for Mr Berezovsky’s death, including financial and personal troubles, aside from accidental or natural causes.

In January it was disclosed Mr Berezovsky’s former lover Elena Gorbunova, 43, had won a £200 million freezing order on his assets after they split last year. She was seeking assets for herself and their two children from the sale of their former home in Wentworth Park, Surrey.

Elana Gorbunova

Lord Bell, the leading public relations and advertising expert, said: “He was a very close friend and a very nice man, very kind to me and to the people around him.”

Lord Bell said he had been told of the death this afternoon by Mr Berezovsky’s private lawyer.

An ambulance was called but paramedics were unable to revive Mr Berezovsky. News of the death was broken to friends this afternoon.

A police spokesman said: “Thames Valley Police has launched an investigation into the death of a 67 year-old man at a property in Ascot, Berkshire.

“His death is currently being treated as unexplained and a full inquiry is under way.

“The area around the property has been cordoned off to allow the investigation to take place.

“The inquiry is at a very early stage and more details will be released when available.”

A South Central Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: “We were called at 3.18 this afternoon by a caller who was concerned for the welfare of a gentleman at an address in Ascot.

“We sent a number of ambulance officers and an ambulance to the address. A 67 year-old man was confirmed dead at the scene.”

The multi-billionaire initially supported Vladimir Putin but quickly clashed with the new president and sought exile in Britain in 2000, and was granted political asylum three years later.

Last year Mr Berezovsky lost a case against fellow Russian businessman Roman Abramovich, the owner of Chelsea Football Club, over claims that he was intimidated into selling shares in an oil company. He had been seeking £3 billion in damages.

Mikhail Kozyrev, a journalist who knew Mr Berezovsky well, said the businessman had always been energetic and full of plans but when they last spoke a few weeks ago, the oligarch was very depressed.

“It was as if life had already left him,” Mr Kozyrev told Moscow’s TV Rain.

“He suddenly, unexpectedly lost hope that he would ever again see his motherland, which he loved so much. He lived all the time in hope that he would return and live in Russia.”

Russian Law Enforcement is Criminal; Getting Away With Murder

July 28, 2012

As the Vladimir Putin regime faces its first serious political challenge in more than twelve years, two recent developments have cast an ominous light on the criminal nature of the highest levels of Russian law enforcement.

The first involves Alexander Bastrykin, Russia’s chief investigator, who threatened to kill a Russian journalist. The second involves Lt. Col. Dmitri Pavlyuchenkov, the head of the Operational Surveillance Department of the Russian Interior Ministry for the city of Moscow; he has been indicted for complicity in the murder of Anna Politkovskaya, Russia’s most famous investigative journalist.

By David Slater, Foreign Policy Research Institute


Above: Russian President Vladimir Putin

Bastrykin is a former university classmate of Putin. He is involved in the criminal inquiry opened against the main organizers of anti-Putin demonstrations May 6 in which scores of protestors were beaten and 600 were detained. The demonstration was officially sanctioned but riot police blocked access to the agreed meeting place, causing the marchers who kept arriving in a continuous stream to press up against police lines. The police responded by attacking the demonstrators with batons. Scores of demonstrators were beaten and 600 were detained.

On June 13, the chief editor of the opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta, Dmitri Muratov, in an open letter to Bastrykin asked him to guarantee the safety of Sergei Sokolov, the deputy editor of the paper. He also asked him to instruct his subordinates not to treat the paper’s correspondents in the Caucasus as persons on whom there had been opened a long-awaited hunting season.

The events that inspired Muratov’s letter took place two weeks earlier. Bastrykin invited Sokolov to join him for a June 4 meeting in Nalchik in the North Caucasus. Once there, Bastrykin demanded an apology for Sokolov’s criticism of the government’s handling of the case of Sergei Tsepovyaz, accused of concealing the murder of 12 people in the village of Kushchyovskaya in December 2010 in southern Russia but freed after paying a 150,000 ruble ($4,500) fine. Sokolov had criticized investigators for allowing Tsepovyaz to get off so lightly.

Sokolov apologized to Bastyrkin but, according to Muratov, when they returned to Moscow, Bastrykin had Sokolov driven to a forest by security guards where the two were left alone. Bastyrkin then threatened to kill Sokolov and joked about how he would personally take charge of the investigation into his death. Shortly after the conversation, Sokolov fled abroad in fear for his life.

In the wake of Muratov’s letter, journalists began picketing the headquarters of the Russian Investigative Committee. Bastrykin reacted with an interview in the newspaper Izvestiya in which he ridiculed Sokolov’s accusations. But the situation then sharply changed and Bastrykin in a hastily called meeting with leading journalists apologized to Muratov and shook hands with him, in effect, disavowing his interview with Izvestiya. Threatening another person’s life, however, is a criminal offense. But no legal action was taken against Bastyrkin, who reports directly to Putin.

At the same time, according to a report in the monthly Sovershenno Sekretno, based on information from reliable sources, Putin has issued orders to investigate businessmen who have donated money to the opposition. They reportedly can expect tax audits and other investigations in the near future.

Another situation which gives a chilling picture of Russian law enforcement is that around Pavlyuchenkov who was indicted July 16 in the Politkovskaya case.

The surveillance department which Pavlyuchenko heads is one of the most secretive branches of the Russian Interior Ministry. In his capacity as head of the Moscow branch, Pavlyuchenko, according to the indictment, ordered his subordinates to shadow Politkovskaya and identify her schedule and usual routes of travel. This information was then shared with the killers, members of a gang specifically formed to kill Politkovskaya. According to the indictment, Pavlyuchenko also acquired the murder weapon and bullets that were used in the crime.

The killers included three Chechen brothers: the suspected trigger man, Rustam Makhmudov, and his brothers, Ibragim, and Dzhabrail. Novaya Gazeta carried out its own independent investigation in the case. According to Sergei Sokolov (who was threatened last month by Bastrykin), the brothers were recruited by their uncle, Lom-Ali Gaitukayev, who is now serving a life sentence for murder in an unrelated case. Gaitukayev is a self-confessed agent of the Federal Security Service (FSB).

As if this web of criminality was not enough, Gaitukayev, according to Sokolov, also was in contact with Kazbek Dukuzov, who, along with another Chechen, Musa Vakhayev, was tried in 2006 for the murder of Paul Klebnikov, the American editor of the Russian edition of Forbes magazine. He and Vakhayev were acquitted of the murder of Klebnikov but the Russian Supreme Court overturned the acquittal and a new trial was ordered. In the meantime, Dukuzov fled.

The killings of journalists are rarely solved in Russia. In addition to Politkovskaya, 18 Russian journalists since 2000 have been killed because of their work according to the New York based Committee to Protect Journalists. Only once were the executors discovered and convicted but, even in that case, the mastermind was never found.

Pavlyuchenkov’s alleged role in the murder of Politkovskaya has changed several times. He was, at first, described as a witness in the case. In August, he was declared an organizer before finally being indicted this month as an accomplice. Even in that capacity, he could face life in prison which gives the authorities considerable leverage in extracting his “cooperation.”

After Politkovskaya was murdered, suspicion focused on Ramzan Kadyrov, the president of Chechnya. He has since become a suspect in the murder of Natalya Estemirova, a human rights defender in Chechnya, who was abducted and executed July 15, 2010. In her last meeting with Kadyrov, he said, according to her account, “I’m up to my elbows in blood. But I’m not ashamed of this. I murdered and will murder bad people. We’re fighting with enemies of the republic.”

Politkovskaya had also reported on torture, abductions and summary executions in Chechnya. After Politkovskaya’s murder, Russian investigators, apparently aware of Kadyrov’s close ties to Putin, were afraid to interrogate Kadyrov personally. Vyacheslav Izmailov, a special Novaya Gazeta correspondent who has covered the North Caucasus, said that the investigators suggested that Izmailov meet with Kadyrov. “Petros Garibyan [who continues to head the Politkovskaya investigation] was asking that I find out what Kadyrov thought about Politkovskaya’s killing,” Izmailov said.

In fact, Kadyrov did express himself on the Politkovskaya murder a short time after she was killed. In what may have been a ghoulish attempt at humor, he said that he would never kill a woman.

It is possible that Pavlyuchenkov will be now be used to implicate a mastermind in the Politkovskaya killing. The “mastermind,” however, is unlikely to be Kadyrov. The overwhelming likelihood is that any “breakthrough” in identifying the mastermind of a crime against a Russian journalist will serve the political purposes of the regime. According to RIA Novosti, Pavlyuchenkov said that the killing of Politkovskaya was ordered by two of the Kremlin’s arch enemies, the London-based Chechen separatist envoy Akhmed Zakayev and dissident oligarch Boris Berezovsky.


Sadly, a similar situation exists in China, Vietnam and Venezuela…..