Friday, November 03, 2006

On the Trail of Politkovskaya's Murderers

Theories about the identity of Anna Politkovskaya’s killers continue to circulate in the Russian press. A report in today’s issue of Tvoy den’ (Your Day) focuses on an analysis of the weapon that was used. It has provided some fresh angles of inquiry [my tr.]:

Law enforcement agencies say that the new twist in the investigation of Politkovskaya’s murder began after the appearance of the results of the ballistic examination of the Makarov pistol which was left at the scene of the crime.

“It looks as though the killer wasn’t a professional,” the detectives say. “There was no grouping in his shots. Plus he managed to miss at a distance of one or two metres and one of the bullets hit the wall of the elevator.”

Tvoy den’ has learned that the results of the ballistic examination show that the pistol with which Anna Politkovskaya was shot previously belonged to a fighter from one of Moscow’s ethnic criminal gangs, and has a “rich history”.

“During the exchange of fire between the members of this group and bandits from the north of Moscow who divided one of the city’s markets between them in the 1990s, this pistol was used to kill one of the 'northerners ', say the guardians of order. “Now they’re checking the entire card index of past years, and it’s quite possible that this not is the only episode connected with this pistol. The bandits don’t usually leave their weapon at the scene of the crime - that only happens in exceptional cases. Such as the widely publicized murder of a well-known woman journalist, for example.”

The detectives think that the Makarov pistol that was left at the scene may be able to put them on the trail of the person who carried out the murder.

“There is information that the pistol which was used to shoot Anna Politkovskaya, belonged to a ’subordinate’ of one of the leaders of the ethnic diaspora,” the law-enforcers explain. “Now personnel at Moscow CID, where the headquarters of the inquiry into Politkovskaya’s murder has been set up, are trying to trace the person through whom the Makarov pistol might have fallen into the killer’s hands.”

According to the guardians of order, the basic version of Politkovskaya’s remains, as earlier, that it was a political contract killing. Some data suggests that the trail of whoever ordered the killing leads abroad.

Together with this version and the so-called “Chechen trace”, the guardians of order have yet another. “The murder may possibly have been committed for mercenary reasons,” say the guardians of order. “According to some data, Politkovskaya’s income last year was about 500, 000 dollars “.

(Hat tip: ML)

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