Two defendants in the murder case of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov said they stalked him long before February 27, the date of his assassination, and staged several aborted attempts to kill him before then.
Welcome to our column, Russia Update, where we will be closely following day-to-day developments in Russia, including the Russian government’s foreign and domestic policies.
The previous issue is here.
–The Non-Hybrid War
–Kashin Explains His âLetter to Leadersâ on âFontanka Officeâ
–TV Rain Interviews Volunteer Fighter Back from Donbass
–âI Was on Active Dutyâ: Interview with Captured GRU Officer Aleksandrov
Doctors who conducted an autopsy on the body of Gen. Sergun who died January 3 in Moscow Region have made preliminary conclusions about the reasons for his death. According to sources familiar with the situation, the physicians concluded that the organism of the 58-year-old man was exhausted (translation by The Interpreter):
“One of the reasons for his death was exhaustion: overwork, lack of sleep and all the accompanying ‘symptoms’ of his position,” a source in medicine commented.
At the time, Baranets published a picture of the woman on the podium, standing next to a general whose name he did not know at the time. He even put a note at the end of his column asking readers to help identify the people in the picture.
“Viktor Nikolayevich, this is Sergun, Igor Dmitriyevich. There’s some bad business here…I’ve been caught out, but not through my own fault…You’ve placed a photo with that strange dame on your site, I saw her on the podium for the first time… And I’m just standing there nearby. I am ashamed to have such a ‘neighbor.’ Even the shadow of that opportunist is revolting. As if I was dirtied by mud. I urge you, if it is impossible to remove the photo from the site, then at least please, don’t indicate my name or my position. I will be afraid to look people in the eye!”
Later, Baranets met with Sergun again, and he joked about the coverage of the picture, “Now you can’t even take me down from the telegraph posts!”
On one occasion, Sergun told Baranets that he needed to be much more careful with his facts — he had written that a certain American general was head of a department, when in fact he was already deputy head of the US Defense Intelligence Agency.
“Three weeks later, Igor Dmitriyevich invited me to his office for a ‘literary conversation’ (his words). The thick ‘sheaf’ of my manuscript lay on the desk before him. I expected that the head of the GRU would now start paging through it and showing me my mistakes. But he didn’t even touch the folder.
For almost an hour, he re-told me various episodes from my book with such details as if he himself had written them. I saw in action the phenomenal professional memory of the intelligence agent. I understood the subtle undercurrent of his wise advice.
There is an episode in my book about a clever trick by the GRU which helped save possibly hundreds of lives of our soldiers in the Crimea at a peak moment of the ‘Crimean Spring.’ I had described the essence of this brilliant operation with admiration, which had been conceived and executed under Sergun’s leadership. But he shocked me [saying]:
‘But here, it’s better not to talk about me and my subordinates. Even though it was exactly all like that. You didn’t lie. But let’s not show the enemies the “tools” which likely will still come in handy for us…'”
“We saw Nemtsov three times before February 27. And that was at a distance, not within the limits of reachability which would enable us to commit the crime.”
“There were a lot of people, it was late at night. As a result we didn’t do anything, we left [him] and walked away. We just didn’t manage. Well, there were a lot of people.”
“We had already decided to go home, then we said: let’s stay here another half an hour. We stood there. And stood. And then I saw him there.”