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Berezovsky ordered Politkovskaya's death — investigators

The nuanced and explosive case of Anna Politkovskaya continues to stretch its tentacles far and wide, as investigators and a key witness pin the blame on Russian exile Boris Berezovsky.

Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov, former Moscow police boss currently under arrest, has made a pre-trial agreement with the sleuths and given detailed testimony on the murder of the Novaya Gazeta journalist, naming Berezovsky as the man who ordered her death.

Pavlyuchenkov’s indictment tallies with leads already uncovered by the Investigative Committee, Kommersant reported.

Recent breakthroughs concerning Pavlyuchenkov and supposed gunman Rustam Makhmudov have won the support of Novaya Gazeta and point to a political will to get to the bottom of the case, Andrew Roth in Russia Profile wrote.

Not the first time

This is not the first occasion that now London based Berezovsky’s name has appeared in the case. In 2008 Dmitry Dovgy, former chief investigator in the Prosecutor General’s office who was sacked and convicted for corruption, told Izvestia soon after he was suspended that Berezovsky had ordered the killing.

Berezovsky dismissed the accusations in an interview with Ekho Moskvy radio.

“This is another attempt to distract the investigation from searching for the real person behind the murder,” the tycoon said, RIA Novosti cited.

He has been on Russia’s wanted list for a number of crimes since falling out with Vladimir Putin after his arrival in the president’s office.

Killers for hire

The latest allegations connect Berezovsky with a supposed group of hired thugs, cobbled together by Chechen crime lord Lom-Ali Gaitukayev.

At first engaged in different suspect practices, they are then believed to have turned their hands to murder on demand. The group included ex-millionaire Sergei Kadzhikurebanov, the Dzhabrail brothers, Ibragim and Rustam Makhmudov and Pavlyuchenkov.

Kadzhikurebanov is currently serving eight years for extorting money from Pavlyuchenkov and Gaitukayev is doing 15 years for organizing an assassination attempt on businessman Gennady Korban in Ukraine in 2006.

Pavlyuchenkov acquired the address and knowledge of Politkovskaya’s usual comings and goings through some of his junior police officers and gave an Izh gas pistol, converted to fire live ammunition, to the Makhmudov brothers. They then shot Politkovskaya in the lift of her stairwell on Oct. 7, 2006, Putin’s birthday, Kommersant reported.

One favor for another

The Investigative Committee recently finished interrogating Pavlyuchenkov and will soon present the fruits of its work on him to a court. As long as there are no surprises the document will secure the ex-cop at least a minimum term, Kommersant reported.

His defense, who did not contest his arrest warrant, did object the terms of his arrest. Given his active cooperation with investigators and the state of his health Pavlyuchenkov’s lawyers hope that he can be moved to house arrest.


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