Sunday, February 04, 2007

Conversation - XIV

Continued

What theory are you inclined to believe? Was it revenge for something in the past, or was it related to something he’d got mixed up in more recently? There was even a story in the press that he’d helped to make a “dirty bomb”, either for the Chechens or for Al Qaeda.

‘Well, it was dreadful when those insinuations began, when Yulia Svetlichnaya made those statements - I saw her at our house. Sasha invited her once, because she was writing a book. When she began to say that Sasha bombarded her with email messages - I mean, Sasha distributed messages to all his friends, sent them to hundreds of addresses. He believed that if you possessed information, you should share it, especially if it was something someone had written about Russia. And if you didn’t like it, then you could simply delete it, or start blocking it. But that statement, that interview about how he might have sold information and blackmailed businessmen, the FSB - that was totally absurd, it went against everything Sasha had ever done. Perhaps that was the real trouble - he was always open and frank. At the press conference he sat with his face uncovered, he didn’t wear dark glasses or a mask. If he wrote articles, he signed them with his own name, even if he didn’t need to. It was all on public record. As they once said, the system doesn’t forgive - and they will reach and punish anyone, in order to teach a lesson to others who might take it into their heads to speak openly. Anya Politkovskaya…. that was also a lesson, that it’s forbidden to write like that. Sasha was never a spy, he never sold out any interests. He was a regular employee of the FSB, with secrets of a completely different kind.”

Did he really convert to Islam before his death?

“He expressed that wish. But I don’t think it was dictated by religious motives - it was more of an emotional impulse. A lot of things happened at the hospital during those days, and Zakayev was one of his close friends; that was why Sasha expressed the desire to be buried next to him. I insisted that the funeral should be a civil one, but I allowed Akhmed to bring his Muslim friends so that everyone could say goodbye to Sasha as they thought fit.”

The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office recently issued a statement saying that one of their suspects is Leonid Nevzlin, and that the poisonings have a connection with Yukos.

“I can’t comment on an investigation that’s in progress, but my attitude to the law enforcement agencies in Russia is mostly one of distrust. I’m not going to make an appraisal of their activity, but it’s a pity that instead of searching for the real killers they are busying themselves with settling scores with their political opponents.”

You yourself are not afraid?

“I’ve never once in all this time felt a desire to run away or hide somewhere, take cover. If you start looking round every time you enter a doorway, you might as well just die… It was a happy experience for me when, after a week of the mourning, Tolya went back to school again. And no, I can’t say that I’ve felt any heightened sense of danger. I’ve felt a sense of gratitude to Britain, to the people who have treated us this way… The support we’ve received on every level. I am totally grateful for what the British police are doing. As the wife of an operative, I’m able to appreciate the way in which those people are working. They work day and night, they work very seriously. They’ve carried out tests on every millimetre of our home. And anything they thought was impossible to clean up or presented a danger to life - it’s been possible for them to take all that away. And if they ask for something, I help them. If they request me not to talk about certain questions, I take my first guidance from them. Right from the outset they told me that no political directives can influence their work, and I believe them. Because for them it’s a matter of principle, to find out who killed Sasha, and why.”

(to be continued)

See also: Conversation
Conversation - II
Conversation - III
Conversation - IV
Conversation - V
Conversation - VI
Conversation - VII
Conversation - VIII
Conversation - IX
Conversation - X
Conversation - XI
Conversation - XII
Conversation - XIII
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