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PostUpdate on Berezovsky Death (Boris Volodarsky, Austria, 04/03/13 1:25 pm)
I believe it is time to report to WAIS about the latest developments in the "death of Berezovsky" affair.
WAISers may remember that a so-called "letter to Putin" allegedly written and sent by the late oligarch to the Russian President in January 2013 was announced by Putin's press speaker Dmitry Peskov immediately after the news of Berezovsky's death reached Moscow. This date is now corrected to November 2012 by two "witnesses": Sergey Ivanov, the head of the Kremlin administration, and one Katerina Sabirova, now 23, who claims she had been Berezovsky's mistress since she was a teenager. Sabirova is now in Russia and out of reach. She almost certainly acted as a honey-trap set up by Moscow from the very beginning. This morning Ivanov, a former KGB colonel, announced that he "never saw this letter not to mention reading it, but knows for sure that it was delivered by a courier last November." In an official statement he said that the letter would not be published.
The Russian media continue to cover the case quite extensively, and interestingly the leading TV channels are using as "experts" all those people who already prominently figured in the Litvinenko campaign: Andrey Lugovoy, the main suspect; Vladimir Terlyuk, who accused Berezovsky and Litvinenko of hiring him for the role of the "KGB assassin" in order to win political asylum in Britain for Berezovsky in 2003; and Vycheslav Zharko, who is claimed to have voluntarily surrendered to the FSB announcing that he was a MI6 agent recruited by Berezovsky and Litvinenko.
The British Secret Service (MI6) theme is of course widely exploited by the mainstream Russian media. A recent NTV documentary directly accused Vauxhall Cross of murdering Berezovsky. Why? Because he wanted to come back to Russia, repent, confess to all crimes including the radioactive poisoning of his former employee Litvinenko and bring with him a list of those Russians in London who, like himself, collaborate with MI6. Their logic is that Berezovsky, a former deputy secretary of the Russian Security Council, was obliged to collaborate in order to receive political asylum. To avoid any comment, this is an extract of an official document as filed in the British Parliament: "The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr. Jack Straw): Russian citizen Boris Abramovich Berezovsky was granted asylum in the UK in 2003, as is public knowledge. The grant of asylum to Mr. Berezovsky was made after due assessment by the relevant authorities of his case and of the UK's obligations under the 1951 UN Convention on refugees and domestic law" (Hansard). See also: http://www.guardian.co.uk/law/2012/jan/04/berezovsky-terluk-libel-judgment
Nevertheless, as a proof of MI6 and other Western services' murderous nature, Russian journalists discuss possible participation of the British Secret Service in the plot against Patrice Lumumba in Congo in January 1961 (he was actually arrested and shot by the rebels, as is well known, but Belgian and American special services were indeed behind that coup d'état; nothing has been known so far about any role played by MI6 except for an absurd claim made by Lord Lea recently).
No one of those who knew Berezovsky believe for a minute that he could have committed suicide. He was actually planning to go to Israel on 25 March and had a very busy week in front of him. Thus, death of natural causes and a suicide should by all likelihood be excluded, while a couple of things remain unclear.
Evry Craig of Thames Valley Police told me, answering my question, that "it was not specified at the inquest what the ligature was and this is not information we are releasing at this time." That means that we still do not know what was found "around the victim's neck and a piece of similar material on the shower rail above him."
What we do know is that after another assassination attempt, Berezovsky was baptised in the Russian Orthodox Church, having been born to a Jewish family in Moscow. Both the Orthodox Church and Judaism regard suicide as a criminal act. The Orthodox Church normally denies a Church burial to a person who has committed suicide. According to the Jewish tradition, "by the letter of the law a suicide does not receive the mourning rites including Kaddish." I do not believe Berezovsky wanted to complicate his relationship with God.
You shall remember that all Trotsky's relatives including his secretaries were murdered. Stalin's Enemy No. 1 was himself found and murdered in his Mexican exile notwithstanding heavy walls and many bodyguards. Since 2000, when Vladimir Putin came to power, Berezovsky had been Russia's Enemy No. 1. He had been sentenced in absentia to two long prison terms. A Russian law, adopted shortly before Litvinenko's murder, formally permits the extra-judicial killings abroad of those Moscow accuses of being "enemies of the state."