Sunday, July 24, 2005

Litvinenko Interview

The translation of the following Chechenpress interview and phone-in with Alexander Litvinenko, the former KGB and FSB officer who now lives in London, England, is extremely rough from the point of view of English style and syntax, and was clearly not made by someone whose native language is English. Nevertheless, it offers some unique insights into the workings of Russia's intelligence and security services and their involvement in the Chechnya conflict and the Ukraine crisis, and as such is worthy of close attention. Incidentally, Litvinenko's book Blowing Up Russia, though banned in the Russian Federation, is available in a very fluent and readable English translation,and can be ordered here (there are some online excerpts, too). The links that are given at the end of the translated interview are to the Russian-language edition:

A. Litvinenko about Explosions of the Houses and the Beginning of the Russian-Chechen War

The interactive programs "Speak to America" with participation of the invited experts and radio listeners are broadcasted from Monday till Friday at 21 o'clock , Moscow time. You can also listen to them in record on our site after the ether.

The participant of the program is Alexander Litvinenko - the former lieutenant colonel of the FSB, which has received a political asylum in the Great Britain, the co-author of the book forbidden in Russia "The FSB Blows Russia up", written in the co-authorship with a Doctor of historical and philosophical sciences, American writer Yury Felshtinskiy. The second, corrected and added edition of this book is published this year in the USA by the publishing house “Liberty Publishing House”.

Inna Dubinskaya is the interrogator of the program.

"The Voice of America " : Your book "The FSB Blows Russia up" is published in English and Russian, a documentary film "An Attempt at Russia " has been shot after it. Three years have passed since the first edition of the book. What for is the second edition necessary?

Alexander Litvinenko : Yury Felshtinsky and I do not stop work on collecting of proofs about acts of terrorism in Russia in 1999… The new materials, which have appeared after the first edition, essentially supplement and prove our version that in 1999 the explosions in the Russian cities were carried out by agents of the Russian special services.

V.A .: According to your words, the purpose of the book "The FSB Blows Russia up" is to show, that problems of Russia are caused not with Yeltsin's reforms, but with the opposition, which was rendered to these reforms by the Russian special services, unleashed both Chechen wars "to turn Russia from democracy to dictatorship, militarism and chauvinism". What do you think have you reached this purpose and whether after reading of your book the reader will have a clear representation about for whom and for what the war in the Chechen Republic was necessary?

A.L .: I think, that clever, thinking people, having read the book, will reflect on in what country they live, and in what country their children will live. Even before writing of the book, in 1998, I and my comrades including Michael Trepashkin, who is in prison now, came out at a press conference with the application that, actually, special services were prepared for a plot with the purpose of capture of the authority. Unfortunately, for that moment the civil society in Russia was weak, today it is absolutely absent, therefore we were not heard, and we had to struggle against this system alone. You see the result of it: Michael is in prison, I had to emigrate, and some our comrades were broken and began to slander us and to refuse their words.

G.A .: In the foreword to the first edition you write, "After the period of the obvious confusion, caused by the events in August, 1991, the special service realized the advantage of a new, free from the party control epoch". Why was this situation favorable for the special services?

A.L .: Inside the Central Committee of the party there had always been a system of struggle between the special services and the party top. Those people won, who were supported by the special services. In 1991 those people, who supported the party bosses, were falling out from balconies, and those, who supported the KGB, remained alive and now control the party money. Though the party controlled the KGB, it permanently used to leave out of this control, and it resulted to the capture of the authority by the KGB.

The KGB does not realize one thing: it can exist only when there is an ideology. Today it reminds a house dog, who has left from under the control of the owner; first it began to steal sausages and when the owner specified the place to it, it gnawed him and now walks across the flat alone. We were tried to be convinced, that the KGB was stability. We see, what kind of stability it is: every day there is terrorism, terrorism, terrorism, murders, violence - Russia is choked in blood. It is the result of that the KGB is in the Kremlin.

G.A .: If it is really the result of that the KGB is in the Kremlin, how can you explain the extremely high popularity of, according to your words, the protege of the KGB president Putin? Polls show, that his rating is more than 60 %.

A.L .: I do not think that all these ratings are the truth and that Putin is supported by 60 %. Look other interrogations: recently "The Echo of Moscow" asked a question about the trust to the judicial system. 97 % of the interrogated do not trust the judicial system. How can then 60 % trust the president?

Certainly, there are people, who feel nostalgia for the Soviet past, when everyone had guaranteed 150 roubles. They knew that if they stood in a queue for a detergent powder and socks, by the New Year they would receive two pairs of socks for coupons, and it calmed people down. These are those people, who support Putin. They feel nostalgia for their slavery, because Putin, basically, inherently, also is a slave, as a free person cannot make slaves of people, and today Putin makes slaves of people. That is, he wants to control everything, so that everybody would obey him, and do only what he needs. It is slavish ideology and psychology. There are free people, there are a lot of them from the right side and from the left one, and I am sure, that 60 % of the country does not support Putin.

A call from Kazakhstan : Why are special services interested in dismembering of Russia ? - In fact they are called to keep its unity and integrity?

A.L .: Russian special services are able to do only one thing - to destroy. Their very ideology is violence, to solve problems with force. It seems to them, that this is the only way for Russia to remain in the structure, in which it is now: a powerful state, an empire. "We shall strangle everyone dissatisfied with force". Certainly, the majority of employees do not want the disintegration of Russia , but they do not understand that they do something, because of what Russia will disintegrate. Those clever people, who understand it, can do nothing, because there is a vertical of authority, about which Putin used to speak, and the one, who does not match this vertical, turns out to be in the next world, or in prison, or in emigration.

A call from Kazakhstan : What can you say about invalids of the war in the Chechen Republic ?

A.L .: What happens now in the Chechen Republic is, certainly, genocide of small people, a terrible tragedy, a shame of the whole Russian state and its citizens. Any war is victims, invalids, orphans, and I think, that those people, who unleash war, should understand, in what it will result and to be responsible for it. The invalids, both the Russian military men and Chechens, and civilians of any nationality are victims of genocide and the terrorist regime of the Russian state and the people, who rule it.

A call from the Leningrad region : Everyone say, that there is genocide against the Chechen Republic and, for some reason, they consider it to be intrigues of the KGB, but, in no way they make comments on acts of Chechens outside the Chechen Republic. When Umar Dzhabrailov wanted to become the president of Russia and wished to take the hotel "Radisson-Slavic" from a citizen of the USA (he was shot right in the center of Moscow), for some reason nobody was speaking then, that it was the KGB. Or they hide the truth about colonel Budanov, to whom a Chechen girl simply told, what was done with her relatives in Russia , and he hammered her to death? Why do not they say, what Chechens do outside the Chechen Republic , as if they are such good guys?

A.L .: The Russian state began a terrorist operation against the Chechen state, and I have seen the documents, in which the president of Russia Yeltsin and president Mashadov signed the peace treaty, which, by the way, only the adjacent states can sign. That is, Russia de facto and de jure recognized the Chechen state as independent. After that Russia committed a crime against the Chechen Republic under the guise of carrying out of an antiterrorist operation.

When this operation began, it was necessary for the Russian armies to enter the territory of the Chechen Republic to detain 11 or 12 terrorists, who were searched. For today only few people are detained, and the quantity of acts of terrorism for this period for a year makes about five hundred. Thus, the efficiency of the antiterrorist operation has led to an increase of acts of terrorism and terrorists hundreds times. The international experts, speaking in court in England , define these events as "a war". It is a war, which was unleashed by the Russian state against the Chechen one, for the period of which from one million Chechens 250 thousand are killed, 35 thousand of them are children. It is genocide, and all of us will be responsible for it, all citizens of Russia .

G.A .: Djohar Dudaev's coming to authority in 1991 was perceived by the Russian special services without objections. And beginning with 1992, bribes were received from Dudaev for the Soviet arms left in the Chechen Republic . These bribes, you write, were taken by three employees of the law enforcement bodies, supervising access to Yeltsin: the chief of the security service of the president Alexander Korzhakov, the chief of the Federal security service Michael Barsukov and the first vice-premier Oleg Soskovets. Soon they began to take bribes in exchange for the decision of the problems connected with independence of the Chechen Republic . When Dudaev refused to give the next bribe and threatened to reveal the names of the participants of the transactions, it led to that Dudaev became "a dangerous witness, who should have been killed". So, you write, the war in the Chechen Republic began. Whether it means, that three people unleashed the Chechen war: Korzhakov, Barsukov and Soskovets? How did they manage to persuade Yeltsin to begin full-scale military actions?

A.L .: I am sure, that Yeltsin was convinced by those three, because at that time they completely supervised "the access to the body". But they were supported by the system and the people, understanding, that if Russia moved by the way, by which it had moved in 1991-1992, very quickly it would come to democracy, there would be a private property, market economy and then there would be no place for the officers of the special services in the society. They would have either to live for a salary, or to work and to earn money on equal with everybody conditions, to what they, naturally, were not used. Therefore the only way to mislead Russia from the way of democracy was to make the democratic president illegitimate and to unleash a war, as it was done.

As far as the weapon is concerned, a huge quantity of it was left in the Chechen Republic . We are friends with Ahmed Zakaev, and he told me once, "Everybody says, that I am a gangster, a member of an illegal formation. But look: Russian armies were withdrawn, left to us some thousands of cars with cartridges, explosives, tanks, planes, machine guns. All this should be protected, but how can we do it? And Djohar Dudaev established the Chechen army, and I am accused, that I am a general of an illegal armed formation". Why is it illegal? In fact, there were military parades there, deputies of the Duma, including Vladimir Zhirinovsky, used to visit them. In 1996 I was told be Alla Dudaeva, that Korzhakov, Barsukov and Soskovets had taken bribes from Dudaev. I reported on it to the management - to General Vyacheslav Voloh, whom you can find by phone 132-77-55 in Moscow , and he told me, that there was no need to report on it to anybody.

A call from Cheboksary : Could you comment the information, that Putin, Patrushev, Sergey Ivanov, probably, participated in Victor Yushchenko's poisoning.

A.L .: Russian special services actively participated in the elections in Ukraine , supporting Yanukovich according to Kuchma's request. For eight years of his board Kuchma had turned from the nationally elected president into a Kremlin KGB puppet. Naturally, they wanted to change one puppet for another. But there was Yushchenko on their way, a powerful oppositionist, intelligent, clever, and strong. Special services realized that if Yushchenko was alive, it would be extremely difficult to seize the authority. And they took their usual path: if there is no person, there is no problem.

Poison is the same weapon for them, as a knife or a pistol. Only a specialist can apply it, who has worked in this sphere for a long time. In Moscow there is a special laboratory of operational and tactical management of the FSB on poisons, whence the poison was transferred to Ukraine (there are not such laboratories in Ukraine ). The application of poisons by the Russian special services is strictly regulated. Only the head of the FSB or his first assistant can give the order to apply it. If it is a political murder, the head of the FSB Patrushev would have never dared to do it, not having informed president Putin. I do not have any doubts, that the initiators of the plot to kill Yushchenko were Putin and Kuchma, who ordered the heads of the Russian and Ukrainian special services. And today Yushchenko's face is an evident display of the foreign policy of mister Putin.

G.A .: In your book you mention, that in 1999 the public opinion of Russians and the international community was on the party of Chechens. You write that it was necessary to create an extremely negative image of Chechens to affect the attitude of Russians to the Chechen Republic and to force them to believe in necessity of a new military intervention. This purpose was achieved: soon after the explosions of the houses in Moscow , Volgodonsk and Buinaksk 64 % of Russians expressed their support for massed bombardments of the Chechen Republic . Chechens were accused of the explosions. Meanwhile, as you specify in the book, that it was extremely unprofitable and illogical for the Chechen Republic to organize any acts of terrorism. Why?

A.L .: Because they simply did not need it. And Chechens did not have such forces and means to organize explosions of four houses for a month. And then there is also such a fact. The break between the two blown up houses in Moscow makes week. After the explosion of the first house the person, who had leased two cellars in both houses, was detained and interrogated. He testified that he had really leased two cellars – in the Guryanov Street and in the Kashirka Highway to one and the same person. For a week between the explosion in the Guryanov Street and the interrogation and the second explosion in the Kashirka Highway , nobody found time to see, what the one, who had rented both cellars, put in the Kashirka Highway .

A call from Germany : Tell us, please, about participation of Chechens in defense of the Brest fortress during the Great Patriotic War.

A.L .: 200 Chechens participated in the defense. By the way, an uncle of Ahmed Zakaev was lost at defense of the Brest fortress.

An anonymous call : Do you know how much money Yushchenko stole from the national bank and why he declared himself to be the president before the official elections?

A.L .: If Yushchenko has really stolen money, why is he still free? If he did it, today on all screens, Internet-sites, in all newspapers there would be documents about it, and he would not exist today as a politician.

A call from Kiev : Do not you think that the primitive approach to special services, which you propagandize, is interesting to nobody already for a long time? Probably, there is "the fifth column" in the Russian special services, which dreams of a reconstruction of the USSR . And leave your fantasy about Yushchenko for your new book!

A.L .: Russian services also are primitive, and the person, who heads them and is in the Kremlin now, is also primitive. And this primitive approach has led to that they have blown up Yandarbiev in Qatar and have poisoned Yushchenko.

G.A .: In the chapter "The FSB against People" you write, that "it was important for the FSB to involve Russia in a war as soon as possible, so that the presidential elections in Russia would take place on the background of a big war and so that the new president… would inherit a war". What for did the FSB need, that the elected president turned out to be before the war in the Chechen Republic ?

A.L .: The president, waging an illegal war, is illegitimate. When there is a war, the state is ruled by generals. The explosions of the houses had the purpose not only to unleash the war, not only to make unknown Putin famous, but also to spread Putin with blood, because when these explosions were prepared, Putin was the head of the FSB and one week before the terrorist attack was appointed to a new post. All this is a planned action, and Putin is connected with blood with this system of the KGB.

G.A .: The first foreign edition of your book in Russian, as it is known, was arrested in Russia . Whether our listeners can get acquainted with the second edition? Where and how is it possible to do?

A.L .: The book can be found in the Internet sites:

Chechenpress, the Department of mass-media, 24.07.05.

No comments: