Russia » Politics
Author`s name Ольга Савка

Chechen terrorists rumored to possess nuclear weapons provided by disgraced Russian oligarch

An anonymous man says that fugitive Russian oligarch, Boris Berezovsky, is personally interested in the continuation of the war in Chechnya

A spokesman for the Chechen diaspora in Russia accused the notorious Russian oligarch, Boris Berezovsky, of terrorist insinuations, assassinations and selling weapons of mass destruction.

Boris Berezovsky was staying in Russia during a wild outburst of terrorist attacks in the country, when extremists exploded several apartment buildings in Moscow and Volgodonsk, killing hundreds. The oligarch left Russia several months later and never returned to the country afterwards.Boris Berezovsky Two years later, though, the oligarch in disgrace personally participated in the work on a book and a documentary, in which Russia's Federal Security Bureau (FSB) was accused of organizing the explosions in Russia. Both Russian and Western readers and viewers did not believe those stories, although Berezovsky and his accomplices managed to launch a campaign to undermine the authority of their prime enemy – the Russian government.

The oligarch's name has become a direct association of all kinds of political provocations since that time. There is no direct evidence to prove Berezovsky's implication in the organization of the above-mentioned explosions, although one has to acknowledge that it was Boris Berezovsky, who needed the war in Chechnya most. There are certain witnesses who say that Berezovsky was doing his best to maintain highly unfriendly relations between Chechnya and Russia in spite of the fact that he utterly hated the two sides of the conflict.

The Chechen Community newspaper issued by the Institute of the Public Development has recently published a rather curious letter signed by a man named only as Zakhar. The letter shed some light on Berezovsky's ties with Chechen separatists.

There were certain reasons for the letter to appear. Boris Berezovsky released a public statement on 24 October 2004 and said that he had prevented a terrorist act. The oligarch told The Associated Press that he had had a meeting with a man who introduced himself as Zakhar and offered to purchase a compact nuclear device for $3 million. Very unexpectedly, Boris Berezovsky exercised his qualities of a “professional intelligence officer, Russia's true patriot and peacemaker.” The now-fugitive oligarch organized a meeting with a potential seller, taped the conversation and shared his information with USA's CIA and the head of Russia's FSB, Nikolay Patrushev. “They apparently came to me thinking that I was a staunch adversary of Putin's regime, so I would be interested in the offer,” Berezovsky said in the interview with the AP. The oligarch also supposed that the person named as Zakhar could be connected with the leader of Chechen separatists, Aslan Maskhadov.

As it turned out later, Berezovsky's story was absolutely true, or almost true, to be more precise. People of his team met someone named as Zakhar indeed, although they talked about an opportunity to sell a powerful weapon. Furthermore, the seller was Mr. Berezovsky himself, not the mysterious Zakhar.

Zakhar wrote the above-mentioned letter in an attempt to clear his name. “The London-based billionaire Boris Berezovsky has launched a massive campaign in mass media to slander and discredit my name, trying to portray me as a dangerous terrorist who has access to nuclear weapons,” the man wrote in the letter. “Berezovsky told me at one of our meetings in 2000 in Paris that he would never agree to let Chechnya become an independent state,” the author of the letter wrote. “A man from Berezovsky's team offered me to take certain actions against several individuals, billionaire Roman Abramovich was among them. The man promised me on Berezovsky's behalf that if I could clear up certain matters with those people and do something else then I would bring a lot of good for the people of Chechnya. When I asked the man about Abramovich's participation in the Chechen problem, the man told me that Roman Abramovich was funding the war in Chechnya. I realized that there was a dangerous game stirring up and I accepted the offer fearing that they could find someone else to do the dirty job, pronounce Chechens terrorists or deliver them to the authorities and obtain new levers of power,” Zakhar wrote in the letter.

Mr. Berezovsky apparently disliked such disturbing questions: he decided to put an end to the talks and make a scapegoat of Zakhar. The oligarch did that only two years later, though. To all appearance, Zakhar was not the only person, whom Boris Berezovsky made such a proposal, and the story would have never surfaced. However, it transpired later that Boris Berezovsky provided Chechen terrorists with bacteriological weapons.

Most likely, the oligarch did not manage to sell his arsenal of weapons, and the matter ended during the stage of negotiations. It brings up an idea that the essence of the talks leaked outside a very narrow circle of people, and Boris Berezovsky was not enthusiastic at all to become a suspect for US and European special services. That is why, the oligarch recollected the conversation with the man named as Zakhar, which he had on a tape. One has to acknowledge that Mr. Berezovsky's intrigue worked, although there was one more detail left in the story.

An old friend of Boris Berezovsky instinctively sensed a dirty trick and decided to tape all details of secret negotiations. The person, who currently resides in Europe, is not willing to get into trouble with law-enforcement authorities, which already started evincing rather disturbing interest in him. As a result, Zakhar submitted documents to the Strasbourg-based European Court for Human Rights on 8 September 2005, seeking an opportunity to file a lawsuit against Boris Berezovsky in a London court.

”I am sure that Boris Berezovsky is capable of giving a command to use an A-bomb and then lay the blame for the attack on Chechens. He can do it when he or his Moscow companions need it,” Zakhar believes. The recent events in the southern Russian city of Nalchik can only play in Berezovsky's hands at this point.

Rostislav Granin

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