Investigations / Issue April 7, 2008 24

156 Informers



Who organizes it

Last week Dmitriy Dovgiy, the suspended chief of the Investigative department at the Investigative Committee at the Prosecutor Generals Office, gave an interview to Izvestia newspaper where he made a sensational statement that it seems to him that it is Boris Berezovsky to have organized Anna Politkovskayas murder.  

Four months ago Mr. Dovgiy was much more careful when giving an interview to another newspaper thats Rossiyskaya Gazeta. Then he said he was not going to publish the secrecy of investigation and make any comments on particular names. No real changes having occurred to the investigation itself, the dramatic changes have occurred to the career of Mr. Dovgiy, as he has got involved in a loud corruption scandal.

It seems that Mr. Dovgiy, having apprehension of his career to be over, could have tried nothing except demonstrating his loyalty with the extreme degree of cynicism, trying to guess secret wishes of his superiors as this official in fault understands it. After President Putin, many have contributed to denunciation of oversea-located Russias foes, hinting at Berezovsky. 

Well, whatever the reason might have been, the suspended generals statement made it necessary for the editorial board of Novaya Gazeta to point out the accents. We must stress that its exactly the accents, as we still consider it not to be the time for publishing the information about the course of investigation. Anyway, this is done successfully by unofficial informers who organize leaks with the purpose of messing up the case.      

First of all, we shall leave aside Berezovskys name. Otherwise, the prosecutors office will have to admit that people hindering actively the investigation are Berezovskys agents, including General Kupryazhkin who advertised to the specially invited camera crews the name of the arrested special service officer Ryaguzov rather long before he was charged of having been involved in Politkovskayas murder.

Actually, besides his hypothetical crafty designs, the Russias main enemy Berezovsky is very remotely connected to the investigation due to the fact of his acquaintance and former business partnership with difficult to catch Hoj-Ahmed Nukhaev. Allegedly, its him through whose agency Berezovsky acted in Politkovskayas case. Nukhaev is also considered officially to be the organizer of the murder of Paul Khlebnikov, the editor of the Russian version of Forbes magazine.      

In 1988 Hoj-Ahmet Mukhaev and Movladi Atlangeriev organized a very influential criminal group in Moscow. The group was assisted by another active member, Max Lazovsky, who was a staff KGB (later FSB) agent. The suspended Dmitry Dovgiy alleges that its the members of that criminal group to have organized the murder of Anna Politkovskaya.

In May 1990 Mukhaev and Atlangeriev were arrested and sentenced for 8 years on extortion counts. Oddly, in November that year Nukhaev was passed to serve his term in Chechnya where he was released after several months.

In 1994 Nukhaev headed the intelligence service in Dudaevs Ichkeria. In 1996 he became the deputy prime minister in Ichkeria being responsible for oil and gas industry in the Yandarbievs cabinet. 

Even before becoming the head of Ichkeria intelligence service, Nukhaev renewed his contacts with Max Lazovsky and became his official business partner. We may only guess if Hoj-Ahmed Nukhaev knew that Lazovsky was not only a gangster and the head of the oil trading firm Lanako. The matter is that its only in the late 90s that the agents activities by Lazovsky became known to the public due to investigation by Yuri Shchekochihin, that-time deputy editor-in-chief of Novaya Gazeta*. He managed to establish the fact that Lazovsky used to work in one of the most secret departments of FSB under command of General Khokholkov that was to struggle with the organized crime. At the time being that department does not exist, and many of its officers were killed. 

Agent Lazovsky and his firms employees made the first explosions in Moscow in 1994. Afterwards Lazovsky and most part of his band were arrested and the deputy interior minister Kolesnikov (future Prosecutor General), when responding to enquiry by Shchekochihin, had to admit participation by the secret service officers in the Lazovskys band.  

Max Lazovsky was sentenced for a minor term. After getting at large he bought a house in the elite near-Moscow region. 28 April 2000 he was shot by unrecognized killer.

In the mean time Hoj-Ahmed Nukhaev came up in the world despite the first and second Chechen wars. Practically, after a long criminal war he got control over Tuapse and Novorossiysk ports that are the main Russian oil terminals in the Black Sea.

Later he became a really public figure and was included in the leadership of Eurasian Union party together with former officers from the special services. Even being put on the wanting list he visited Moscow freely to take part in the conferences.

Up to 2002 Nukhaev controlled totally from Azerbaijan and Turkey his oil business in Novorossiysk and Tuapse. After Rosneft (state oil company) showed interest to those ports, Nukhaev gave up without a blow, but according to experts, now he still manages to get about 7% of the revenue out of tanker transportation in the region.  

As for his former criminal partner Movladi Atlangeriev, they say he hanged up his axe. He disappeared right after some man looking like him was deported from London last year as the British special services suspected him to be preparing an attempt on Berezovsky.

The members of the former Nukhaevs criminal group were also noticed in Ukraine. In March 2006 the car of a Ukrainian businessman Gennady Korban was shot at with a machine gun. Mr. Korban had been savingly warned about that attempt by Ukrainian security service, which was done privately. Finally it turned out that the organizer of that attempt was a certain Lom-Ali Gaitukaev, an authoritative member of the previous criminal Nukhaevs group. He got arrested in Moscow in August 2006 and was sentenced in February 2008 for 15 years of prison.    

Having got sentenced, Gaitukaev got so angry that he made a sensational statement saying he was not only doing a business in the Ukraine, but also worked for FSB. He did not specify, though, if the attempt on Mr. Korban was done by FSB order or was caused with a business conflict. Russian special services did not comment on the statement, and the scandal that developed first in the Ukraine about the murders hired by FSB agents, died away soon at the background of another turn in Ukraine-Russia gas war.   

The sources in the Ukrainian special services confirmed the fact Mr. Gaitukaev and some other members of the previous Nukhaevs criminal group to be registered as agents in FSB. According to the documents Gaitukaev was working in the same department with the lieutenant colonel Ryaguzov, who was arrested on the Anna Politkovskayas case. 

As for the organizers of the murder of Anna Politkovskaya, it seems that this part of the investigated case will be formed into separate proceedings. According to the General Dovgiy the murder was performed by professional, a certain killers corporation, and its members could have taken money from anyone as for them that murder was not a matter of revenge, it was just a business. And it turns out that that business was practically done with the supervision from special services. This is probably why the leaks are made repeatedly on that case so that to warn ones agents and not get the special service involved in the matter.        

The question here is not about total plot by special services (let this be left for American action movies) or about omnipresent Berezovsky (let it be left for state TV journalists and those who needs the topic for saving ones career). The problem is how to understand: who serves whom and when?

When the criminal agents serve to particular officers from special agencies and when particular officers serve the interests of their criminal agents? It seems to me that they themselves have confused about that as they get their dividend out of any configuration of their relationships. But to find out who exactly performed the murder of Anna Politkovskaya and who organized that crime, it will be necessary to see exactly into that configuration.   

* 4 April 2008 the Investigative Committee at the Prosecutor Generals office started a criminal case on the count of death of Yuri Shchekochihin that happened 5 years ago.