Analysis: A good primer on FSB contract killings

Forbes magazine, whose motto is “the capitalist tool”, is not known for its investigative journalism. However, it has a personal reason for closely following the ongoing trial of the alleged assassins of Russian investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya. Namely, Forbes editors suspect that the same syndicates who killed Politkovskaya in October 2006 were behind the murder of Forbes‘ Russian edition reporter Paul Klebnikov, who was shot to death in 2004. Interestingly, all three of Politkovskaya’s accused assassins were employed by, or have strong links to, the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB). One of them, former Moscow Police officer Sergey Khadzhikurbanov has been charged in a separate case of conspiring with Lt. Col. Pavel Ryaguzov, a former FSB officer, to kidnap and torture a Russian businessman in 2002. The magazine has published a useful primer detailing the culture of corruption and gangsterism of the FSB in the post-Soviet era. The article’s writer goes so far as to accuse the FSB of having “integrated [itself] into the corrupt oligarchies that run [Russia]”. He goes on to explain that “when the interests of those oligarchies are threatened by independent reporting, law enforcement is unable to restrain corrupt interests and is often in league with them. As a result, contract killers function as the ultimate censors”, he writes. [IA]

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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