30.01.2007 – Eurasian Secret Services Daily Review

REVIEW TOPICS:
Kremlin denies link with special forces training shooting at Litvinenko picture
Russian human rights activist: secret services have become instrument of authority
Lugovoy says British police questioned him as witness in Litvinenko’s poisoning case
Litvinenko’s waiter at hotel bar ‘dead in five years’
Former FSB colonel becomes new deputy minister of construction in Sverdlovsk area of Russia
Georgia reveals one more lot of allegedly Russian uranium
Armenian security services deny accusations on cooperation with Georgian citizen convicted for espionage
What security service does Ukrainian society need?

Kremlin denies link with special forces training shooting at Litvinenko picture

   
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Russian Interior Ministry’s commando unit poster 
(cut line: “Meet the doctor”)
 

AIA wrote yesterday about the revelation of Polish journalists, discovering images of Russian Interior Ministry’s Vityaz brigade commando troops using pictures of the murdered ex-FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko for target practice. Footage from the Vityaz training centre, filmed for publicity purposes, prompted fresh accusations that the Kremlin was behind his killing.
“This just proves the point that Alexander Litvinenko was No1 one on the hit-list of the Russian security services; he was their archenemy,” Alexander Goldfarb, a spokesman for Litvinenko’s family, told The Times of London.
The training centre head, a former special forces detachment chief, Sergey Lisyuk, insisted yesterday talking to the Russian media, that his organisation was a private company with no links to the Government. He said that he had hosted the training day as a favour to former comrades. Lisyuk also said that he did not even know that it was Litvinenko’s image on the firing range, saying that it had been one of several targets, “just with a picture of a man similar” to the ex-agent, he had bought at a sales exhibition four years ago.
The Times writes that the Kremlin also sought to distance itself from the incident. Dmitri Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, acknowledged that Litvinenko’s image “was really used for shooting exercise”, but said that the centre had no links to Russian special forces. He blamed the confusion on the Interior Ministry’s failure to register the Vityaz name as a trademark before Lisyuk opened the centre.
However, The Times notes that the appearance of the dissident former FSB agent’s face on a shooting range used by government troops undermines the Kremlin’s efforts to dismiss Litvinenko as an irrelevance.

Russian human rights activist: secret services have become instrument of authority
The known Russian legal expert and human rights activist, Lev Ponomarev, commented to the weekly Obshchaya gazeta online edition on the trainings on shooting on the poisoned ex-FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko’s printed image on the firing range of the Vityaz brigade Russian special troops training centre in Balashikha, Moscow area. “It is just a separate example of the fact that secret services of Russia have been training on elimination of opponents of the authority,” Ponomarev is quoted as saying. “It is possible that in other, more secret organizations, they had practised in using portraits of [murdered investigative journalist Anna] Politkovskaya for target practice. Similar methods bring up murderers, and it is very dangerous”.
Ponomarev expressed his regret that in Russia security services had been used for elimination of political opponents of the regime, such as Litvinenko. “Therefore no one should be surprised when it is found out that secret services had had relation to loud murders or explosions of apartment blocks. Actually the secret services have become an instrument and hostages of the authority”.

Lugovoy says British police questioned him as witness in Litvinenko’s poisoning case
The man reported by British media to be the prime suspect in the radioactive poisoning death of former FSB agent Alexander Litvinenko said in a television interview Monday that police had told him he was just a witness. Andrei Lugovoy, 41, who was also at the meeting, has been named as the prime suspect, but strongly denies the allegation. Lugovoy told Sky News that he had fully cooperated with British authorities investigating the death of Litvinenko and that they had not named him as a suspect. “I want to stress that officially I am a just a witness and not even a suspect,” Lugovoy said. “I was told that by Scotland Yard when they were in Moscow.”
Speculation that the British police had identified their prime suspect mounted last week, with several media outlets claiming that a request for Lugovoy’s arrest would be made.
Lugovoy and a business associate, Dmitry Kovtun, met with the former spy at London’s Millennium Hotel on the morning he fell ill. The hotel is among a number of sites investigators found traces of Polonium 210 — the radioactive isotope responsible for killing Litvinenko.
Officials had not told him the Polonium trail led to him, Lugovoy said.
“Explaining this (the trail) is the job of the investigators. Secondly, no one has officially stated to me that Polonium was found at the places I visited so all this comes from the press and their information is either unverified or false,” he said. Lugovoy said he understood why people may see him as a suspect in the high profile killing, but accused the British media of orchestrating a smear campaign against Russians. “I see in this some elements more fitting to Cold War time.”
According to The Sunday Times, Scotland Yard detectives told Litvinenko’s widow Marina that the man will escape prosecution, despite having enough evidence. Officers from the Yard’s Counter Terrorism Command allegedly told her that they would close the case because they have “no jurisdiction” over the Russian businessman. Moscow has reaffirmed its refusal to extradite the suspect.

Litvinenko’s waiter at hotel bar ‘dead in five years’
A waiter who served a poisoned cup of tea to Alexander Litvinenko has only five years to live, The Sun writes.
Litvinenko is thought to have been poisoned through a pot of green tea, served by Noberto Andrade, 67, at the Millennium Hotel in Mayfair, London, on 1 November. It is thought the assassin slipped a capsule of the polonium- 210 into the tea while seated at the table and the waiter was exposed to the lethal substance when serving the guests. Andrade, the head barman, handled the cup and the pot when he cleared up after Litvinenko’s meeting with three other Russians.
He told the paper that doctors said he would be looking at “a life-expectancy of five years, maybe six”. Andrade said his chances of cancer had rocketed. He also has a massively increased chance of organ failure and immune-system diseases, according to the paper. The waiter told The Sun that the murderers of Litvinenko had murdered him too; “the only difference is that my death sentence is longer.”

Former FSB colonel becomes new deputy minister of construction in Sverdlovsk oblast of Russia
The governor of Central Urals of Russia, Edward Rossel, has signed a decree on appointment of Alexei Krupkin a deputy minister of construction and housing and communal services of Sverdlovsk area, news agency Tatar-Inform reports, referring to the ministry’s press-service.
Alexei Krupkin is a reserve Lieutenant-Colonel of the Federal Security Service (FSB), according to the news agency. Krupkin has worked as the director of Omsk branch of the Federal License Centre of the State Construction Committee (Gosstroy), then he served as the head of department of the State Construction Work Supervision in the Tyumen oblast. In the capacity of a deputy minister, Krupkin will be responsible for construction, housing and communal services of Sverdlovsk area, he will supervise housing construction, introduction of progressive technologies, preparation of construction-sites and infrastructures for construction, according to the ministry’s press-service.

Georgia reveals one more lot of allegedly Russian uranium
One more lot of uranium, allegedly of Russian production, origin has been revealed in Georgia, news agency Stream-Press reports, referring to representatives of the Georgian secret services. The report has been already confirmed by the Ministry of Interior of Georgia, according to Medianews. This time it was a citizen of Armenia who possessed 170 grams of enriched uranium. A part of the withdrawn uranium without carrying out of preliminary examination was already sent to the Russian Federation and the representatives of Russia’s Nuclear Energy Agency, Rosatom, confirmed reports on checking of the samples.
According to representatives of the Interior Ministry of Georgia, the Russian experts have already established that the withdrawn material is enriched uranium. However they for some reason did not manage to establish its particular origin, is marked in the ministry’s statement. According to the arrested person, uranium was extracted in the Russian city of Novosibirsk.
According to the chairman of the Greens party, Georgy Gachechiladze, enriched uranium is raw material for the nuclear weapons, and it can also be used for the “dirty bomb”. Gachechiladze noted in conversation with Medianews agency that extraction of uranium was not such an easy business. “In the Russian Federation there are many nuclear objects where uranium is on the strict account. It is practically impossible that it has come into the hands of an average citizen, and if the lot of uranium had been extracted really in Novosibirsk, it was done specially to discredit Georgia”, chairman of the Greens is quoted as saying. Gachechiladze also expressed suspicion that the material withdrawn by the Georgian border guards could be the property of the Sukhumi Physical and Technical Institute. He said back in 1993 about 2 kgs of enriched uranium-235 was gone from the institute without any traces found until today.
Last week it became known that Oleg Khinsagov, 50, a Russian citizen, was arrested in a “sting” operation orchestrated by the US and the Georgian secret services already last year, in an attempt to smuggle 100 grams of weapons-grade uranium from Russia into Georgia via breakaway South Ossetia.

Armenian security services deny accusations on cooperation with Georgian citizen convicted for espionage

   
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NSC emblem  

The National Security Council (NSC) of Armenia denies the accusations on cooperating with Georgian citizen Ariz Jamal Ogli Khalilov, who just the other days was convicted for espionage in favour of Armenia and planning terror acts, online news agency news PanARMENIAN.Net reports, referring to the NSC Press Office report. According to the report, Sadakhlo resident Khalilov’s activity, who was trading in border market, is artificially exaggerated by Baku, which ascribes to him “exclusive abilities” and intentions to organize blasts in oil and gas infrastructure and other large objects in Baku.
“Most probably the Azeri authorities are seriously concerned about the information, which was spread on last December 20, on detaining and sentencing one more agent,” the Armenian NSC reports.
The legal procedure has been finished in Baku on Azeri Ariz Khalilov case, who is Georgian citizen and “was cooperating with Armenian secret services against Azerbaijan.” On the heavy crimes court decision Ariz Khalilov was sentenced to 14-year imprisonment.

What security service does Ukrainian society need?
A press-release, publicised on the online site of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), says today at the SBU headquarters in Kiev, work of the commission, formed according to the directive 396/2006-rp of the President of Ukraine, dated December 12, on the drafting of new projects of the Concept of reforming the Security Service of Ukraine and the Complex aim program of reforming of the Security Service of Ukraine, 2006, has been taking place.
The SBU noted in the release that all interested in the improvement of the mechanism of democratic civic control over the activity of security services were encouraged to participate in a public opinion poll to answer the question what security service does the Ukrainian society need?
Journalists, scholars, legal experts are especially asked to contribute with their views and proposals on the subject of legal regulation of activity of security services.
It is said on the online site that suggestions and proposals are accepted and should be addressed to an e-mail: letter@ssu.gov.ua. The appropriate suggestions and concrete proposals would be reviewed by the SBU directorship with an aim of further development of reforming the security services, the release says.

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