Friday, December 08, 2006

Russians: Friday Dec 8

I'm about to go three days with no internet or news ... and I'm sure I'll miss plenty of drama. Here's today's developments. I'll only hyperlink new names.

Akhmed Zakayev says that he saw symptoms of polonium poisoning in Chechnya. Nikolai Patrushev (left), Director of the FSB, calls the claims nonsense.

BBC Russian service FM broadcasts into Moscow and Saint Petersburg were disrupted from Nov 24, the day ofter Litvinenko's death, to Dec 1.

Tony Brenton, the British Ambassador in Moscow, has been being harassed by the Nashi (leader Vasily Yakemenko, left), a Kremlin-backed right-wing youth group, since he gave a speech to an opposition group in July.

Scotland Yard's interview with Andrei Lugovoy was postponed again, with no explanation given.

Russian media reports that Dmitri Kovtun is seriously ill.

The third Russian businessman at the Millenium, Vyacheslav Sokolenko, claims that he was in town for a football match and never met with the others.

CNN identifies two factions vying for control of the Kremlin amid speculation that Litvinenko might have gotten caught up in a power struggle.

Per CNN: One is headed by Igor Sechin (left), the shadowy deputy chief of Putin's administration who is believed to have a KGB background and leads a grouping of nationalistic and hardline elements in the military and security forces dubbed the "siloviki."

The other centers on Dmitry Medvedev (left), a first deputy prime minister and old ally of Putin, and includes some of the country's most powerful oligarchs.

According to the Times, Litvinenko had uncovered a plot by the FSB to seize or extort funds from former Yukos Oil Company executives. The Kremlin had seized the $10 billion dollar energy agency, and sentenced its billionaire president Mikhail Khodorkovsky (left) to prison in Siberia for nine years. Other executives were murdered or jailed, while at least a dozen fled to the UK.

Litvinenko had flown to Israel before his murder to meet with Leonid Nevzlin (left), second in command at Yukos. Nevzlin is cooperating with Scotland Yard, and reports that Litvinenko had revealed to him a plan by the FSB to extort funds through intimidation and murder.

And finally academic Julia Svetlichnaja claims that Litivineko's plan was to blackmail those on the FSB hit list. She claims that Litvinenko approached her for assistance in the plot.

No comments: