Yuliya Latynina: “Who Wants To Ruin the Politkovskaya Case”
Yulia Latynina is a Russian journalist, writer and radio host, known for her sharp and polemic statements. She works at the radio station Echo of Moscow. She also writes for Novaya Gazeta. In this commentary she analyzes the recent event in the investigations of Anna Politkovskaya’s murder.
Two events occurred in the Anna Politkovskaya case this week. Or rather, one event and one statement.
The event consisted of the fact that a sanction was issued for the arrest of 11 suspects in this case. The statement was made by the prosecutor-general, concerning the fact that the contractor for Politkovskaya’s murder is to be found abroad.
In general, it is often this way in our country: an event and a statement. For example, Great Britain asked that Lugovoy be extradited — and Lugovoy’s press-conference immediately took place. And then everybody discussed, not the event, but the press-conference. A Russian missile fell in Georgia — and a statement immediately followed that the Georgians themselves dragged the missile over. And now everybody was discussing, not the fact that the missile fell, but the statement.
The statements perform the role of heat traps. They shoot them off in order to replace a dreadful fact with a profound discussion concerning the statement.
It happened exactly the same way in Politkovskaya’s case. The facts — are horrible. The facts, in the opinion of the investigators, are that a Chechen gang that specializes in the contract murders of people received a contract for the murder of Politkovskaya, and through a friend of an operative and a friend of an FSB (Federal Security Service) lieutenant colonel, appealed to another gang, now in epaulets, for whom it was easier to “get hold of” Politkovskaya’s address and organize a “tail” to be put on her (that is allegedly the way they got hold of it — through members of the FSB central staff).
Thanks to investigator Petr Garibyan, who does not have a single unsolved case (and Garibyan specializes in killers, and in catching killers — he doesn’t investigate tax crimes for you) — these people were traced, found, not intimidated, taken in for other cases — and on Saturday, prosecutor-general Chayka told president Putin about the capture of the killers.
After which the question arose: but if you voice the story of these two gangs the way it is, without any comments, what will the public think? I am personally in many ways ready to suspect the FSB staff members. There is only one thing that I am not ready to suspect of them — that they are capable of murdering and selling out without being certain, for some reason, of full impunity and even indulgence on the part of their bosses.
Virtually none of these people considered it necessary to hide. It is as if they didn’t know that they had committed a crime, “in order to strike a blow at the president.” As if they were certain of impunity.
Therefore, instead of meat they threw in a dead cat. Instead of the fact of arresting two gangs — a statement from the prosecutor-general on the contractor abroad.
But the miracles did not end with this.
Information suddenly poured forth in a stream. They could still have saved the secret of the investigation, could still have carried out investigative actions, but no. Kupryazhkin, head of the FSB USB, the representative of a department which does not like to acknowledge its own criminals, in a flash voiced the name of an arrested FSB officer, a certain Pavl Ryaguzov. As soon as the materials of the investigation turned out not to be in the hands of the investigating group, but in the hands of a high-ranking chief, everything immediately leaked out, with names, passwords, secret information — a perfect signal for those who had not yet been caught, and a priceless gift for the attorneys.
One wonders — why ruin the case for a high-ranking chief, if the contractor of the murder was — Berezovskiy? Surely they are not his agents as well?
But this still isn’t all. Immediately, the most liberal, most enlightened, most opposed mass information media, in unison, started denouncing the investigation. It turned out that one of the defendants was with his parents in Chechnya (Hooray! If necessary, not just the whole family, but the whole village as well, will confirm that he was). The entire mass information media hastily reprinted information on the fact that the staff member, who was on the wanted list of the ethnic department of the UBOP (Directorate for Combating Organized Crime), Sergey Khadzhikurbanov, whom the investigators regarded as the middleman between the two gangs, had an iron-clad alibi: He, they said, was sent to prison for four years in 2004. Indeed, he was. But the Zamoskvoretskiy Court replaced the four years with two years, and Kurbanov went free in 2006.
It turns out that Chayka’s statement stood the contractors in good stead. It caused an allergy among respectable people, and they happily started creating public opinion. The herald of the public opinion was the attorney Musayev, who stated that his client had been killed by a bottle aimed at his head.
God only knows why liberalism lies in absolute belief in an attorney who defends supposed killers, but not in the son of the murder victim, who trusts the investigators, or in Novaya Gazeta. But such are the special features of our liberalism. A bloody regime, bloodied from top to bottom, has no decent people in it, and to think that investigator Garibyan caught the real killers would be a crime against the liberal way of thinking. If the son of the murdered woman thinks that they caught the killers, but the attorney for the killers says that is not so — well, what of it, so much the worse for the son of the murder victim.
To tell the truth, in the heat of the moment it could be shown that Chayka’s statement is part of some global campaign of the siloviki, a maneuver in the Great Presidential Fight, the preparation for a new Trotsky-Berezovskiy procedure which will cut Putin off from the West for good. But judging by the swift ruin of the case, this was simply a heat-trap and at the same time, a mine placed under the investigation. I see nothing strange in the fact that the authorities are trying, at least in some way, to assuage the effect of the investigators’ successes. But it is painful, offensive and disgusting to me that helping it, to the best of their ability, are those people who consider themselves to be liberals and members of the opposition.
September 6, 2007.