Monday, November 27, 2006

Today in the Wall Street Journal there appeared an opinion article titled "Who Killed Litvinenko?" by David Satter; Mr. Satter is affiliated with the Hoover Institution and many other institutions. Let me start by bringing up some samples of the article:

"There is widespread belief that the real authors of the bombings (1999 apartment bombings in Moscow, which took the lives of several hundred people, and were linked to Chechen terrorists) were the FSB"

"Under those circumstances
(Litvinenko's death was conducted by the FSB), not only should Russia be excluded from the G-8 but the whole structure of mutual consultation and cooperation would need to be re-evaluated. There are forces inside Russia that want the country to be part of the West"

Essentailly, the author maintains that Litvinenko was indeed poisoned by the FSB; that he was a guardian of Mr. Berezovskiy, and all the past major murders in Russia: Yushenkov, Schekochikhin, Politkovskaya were conducted with indirect consent of Mr. Putin.


I understand that this is an opinion article, yet it is an opinion of a respectable person, and appears in an even more respectable newspaper, read by many. I assume the above is a slightly radicalized opinion of the majority in the West, after Litvinenko's death.

Not many people knew of Litvinenko's existence before November 1, 2006. Out of the non-Russian population, I would say that one in a couple of hundred thousand would be able to clearly summarize Mr. Litvinenko. Not much more people knew of Mr. Litvinenko in Russia. Maybe 1-5% of the Moscow population were aware of his existence, but had only negative feelings toward him as he was affiliated with Mr. Berezovskiy, the Russian oligarch in exhile.

The question arises then, whether the FSB had any real reasons to get rid of Mr. Litvinenko in such a public way. The only real benefit his death brings to Russian authorities is the potential scare among Russian exiles in Britain, among them Russia's true targets Mr. Berezovskiy and Mr. Zakaev, the Chechen terrorist spokesperson. The negative consequences of this reason are clear: articles begin to appear in Western publications which are clearly anti-Russian; followed by the fact that British-Russian relations suffer a dent, just as those with Europe and the US.

The FSB has indeed carried out assassinations abroad. In 2004 two of its agents were caught after a successful assassination attempt of the ex-Chechen leader Zelimkhan Yandarbiev in Qatar. The FSB is quite proud of the operation and does not clearly deny its motives. Yet in this situation the person killed was a former leader of terrorists, the same terrorists that organized the Beslan school siege killing hundreds of innocent children, the siege of a theatre in Moscow, and many other bombings on Russian soil. Russia, just as Britain, the US and other states has full rights to destroy such people.

Mr. Litvinenko's wrongdoings in Mr. Putin’s eyes were anti-Kremlin propaganda in Britain. He blamed Mr. Putin for all contract killings over the past years, for the terrorist bombings in Moscow in 1999, for being a pedophile. These are very harsh claims, but to a person well in touch with Russian affairs they are really far-fetched. You can continue by blaming Mr. Putin for 9/11 and for financing Judas to kill Jesus Christ. And they are not widespread as the article in the beginning claims. By most Russians, who are free in their speech and opinion, who have access to all sources of information, they are considered as claims made by a madman.

The problem lies in the negative publicity of the KGB-FSB in the eyes of the press. This makes it an easy tool for critics abroad to use. It causes disgust and anger amongst ordinary Russians; makes them anti-Western in their views, before the Kremlin even comes out with an opinion on it. I am sure the KGB-FSB and the CIA have always had similar goals, and used similar means to achieve them. In 1991, one turned out to be the winner, and dictated the theory that its enemy was evil, and will always remain evil. Should then Russia dismantle its security service? Should Russia exist as a dominion of all other countries, as it cannot be an honest trustworthy country? No. It is a trustworthy country. So is its security service.

It is assumed the FSB has inherited the goals of the Checka and the NKVD and the KGB. But times have changed. The USSR in the 20s- and 30-s was constantly attacked from outside, inside, below and above. The government needed to destroy opponents to stay in its current shape, whether that was right or not. These threats do not hold as strong today. There is no need to send NKVD-style assassins and kill opponents Trotsky-style with an ice-pick in Mexico City.

Russia has few enemies abroad; yet it is not concerned with them; it is mostly concerned with expanding economic powers and curbing US influence outside its borders. The few enemies it maintains, it has no need to eliminate; they have no credibility at all amongst the Russian people, and are merely a thorn in the toe of a giant. I do not even want to discuss in detail Mr. Berezovskiy and Mr. Nevzlin, the ex-Yukos chief hiding in Israel. But their involvement in criminal takeovers of factories in Russia in 1995, is presented in documents, video-tapes and audio material lying around on the internet; this and other acts in the 1990-s leave them with no credibility to blame others for Mr. Litvinenko's death whatsoever.

I am truly sorry for Mr. Litivinenko; he became a pawn in this propaganda game. He did not look like a person who was wise enough in this game judging by his videos; he most likely suffered from it. The FSB will offer assistance in the investigation.

It is my belief, my conviction that the FSB had no role in this killing. If I see documents directly or indirectly linking Mr. Putin or the Mr. Patrushev, the FSB head, to the killing I am ready to denounce my Russian passport. Because I will never do that, it is impossible to prove the killing. A joke to wrap this misunderstanding up. The faster Scotland Yard will finish the investigation the better.

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