During the last month, the Russian government and mass media were actively involved in the concealment campaign aimed at undermining both the British and the world-wide public opinion regarding the participation of the Russian intelligence services – GRU (Russia’s Military Intelligence Directorate) and FSB (Russia’s Federal Security Services) – in the attempted assassination of the former GRU Colonel Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, as well as to the assassination of Nikolai Glushkov, the former Vice President of Aeroflot and a partner of Boris Berezovsky and Badri Patarkatsishvili.
Based on the principle that offense is the best defense, the Government of Russia now blames the British Government for these criminal activities.
The beginning of this campaign was marked by the official statement unprecedented by its impudence, which was made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation on March 28. It contained, among other things, the following narrative:
"The British authorities have demonstrated their inability to ensure the safety of Russian citizens more than once. The glaring examples include the poisoning of former FSB agent Alexander Litvinenko, the death of businessmen Badri Patarkatsishvili and Alexander Perepelichny (Perepilichny) under unclear circumstances, the mysterious “suicide” of Boris Berezovsky and the strangling of Berezovsky’s business partner Nikolai Glushkov, and lastly, the recent attempt on the lives and health of Sergey Skripal and his daughter Yulia."
According to the statement, the responsibility for the deaths of all of the named "citizens of Russia" rests squarely on the Great Britain. For added conviction, the Attorney General of the Russian Federation made a statement on April 9 that the cause of death of Litvinenko, as well as the cause of death of Berezovsky himself, could have been the information, based on which Berezovsky asked for the political asylum in the UK in 2003.
"It is the position of the Attorney General of the Russian Federation that the British Government intentionally conceals and distorts the circumstances surrounding the grant of asylum in Great Britain to Boris Berezovsky and the death of Alexander Litvinenko. During the investigation, it was established that Berezovsky illegally obtained asylum in September 2003 based on the knowingly false petition regarding the preparations of his assassination by the Russian intelligence services in London in the summer of 2003."
In connection with the foregoing, I consider it necessary to publish the materials that formed the basis of the documentation provided by Boris Berezovsky to the British court in the course of his application for political asylum in Great Britain in 2003, as well as to add a few words regarding the origin of these materials. It is important to emphasize that this documentation did not bear any relation to the case of Vladimir Terlyuk that was mentioned in the statement of the Attorney General of the Russian Federation in order to create misconception of the matter by the Great Britain and the rest of the civilized world.
Starting in April 2002, Boris Berezovsky started receiving in London the anonymous letters containing threats. He was inclined to believe that these letters were in direct response to the release of the documentary film Assassination of Russia (or Blowing Up Russia), which was based on the book authored by A. Litvinenko and me titled Blowing Up Russia: Terror From Within. Berezovsky financed the production of this documentary.
Berezovsky sent the very first anonymous letter that he received to the Russian newspaper Kommersant, asking Kommersant to publish it. This is what he wrote in his cover letter to the editors of the newspaper:
April 26, 2002
To the editors of the newspaper Kommersant:
A few days ago — on the eve of the American screening of the documentary Assassination of Russia, which deals with the September 1999 terrorist attacks in Moscow and other Russian cities — I received a letter in the mail. It seems to me that this little missive might be of interest not only to me, currently by necessity a resident of London, but to many of your readers as well.
I ask you to publish "Petr Petrovich’s" letter and my response.
This is the entire text of the first anonymous letter received by Berezovsky:
Mr B. Berezovsky (private & confidential)
Tower Management ltd.
Melrose House 4-6
Letter by "Petr Petrovich"
Dear Boris Abramovich,
So how many warnings by the great Montaigne do you really need:
There is no such place on earth where death cannot find us, even if we keep seeking one... People come and go, run and dance, and nobody utters a word about death. Everything is well, everything is fine. But when death suddenly dawns on them, their wives, their children, their friends, taking them aback and unprepared, what storms of passion stun them, what cries, what anger, what despair! We are unaware as to where death has been awaiting us; that is why we shall wait for it everywhere.
Have you not been besieged by nightmares, don’t you wake up sweating and asking yourself: "What am I doing with my life and with the life of my family?" However, I reckon that these fears only last until breakfast and then, with briefcase in hand, you declare a war unto death!
Watching you and your actions, one unwillingly imagines a little boy playing hide and seek who, having closed his eyes, thinks no one can see him.
Not so long ago we were driving into London from the airport, enjoying the picturesque views of England. While passing a cemetery decorated with flowers and boasting freshly-painted fencing, my colleague spoke to the driver and said: "Ivan Ivanovich, see how everything in the West is tidy and clean. Even the places where they bury their corpses are pristine. In Russia, even the houses where people live are far from being that clean."
"Well, yes, he answered, that is true; it is a very civilized country. They have such nice dwellings for their dead. But have you not noticed how nice the dwellings are also for living bodies?"
Every time I recall this episode, I think about how fragile life can be when one declares war against his own nation. And when we do this we become, as Ivan Ivanovich said, a living corpse.
Boris Abramovich, it is not for me to explain to you that the subject one normally calls a "corpse" and feels so frightened about, in reality lives among us, in the here and now.
One shouldn’t support living connections with death by one’s inadequate actions. Try to understand that everything you have been doing recently is a pulse of death, a heartbeat of death for you and your next of kin.
You are not a timid man and you are clever, and you do understand that Russian politics is "Russian roulette."
That is why you should please find a way to clarify your position further, so that we, god forbid, should not take you wrong.
Honorary Member FOHC Limited
Tel. 020 83401834
Charity Number 1058392
P.S. Here in England the two of us are in an equal position, one can even say that you have a slight advantage. Let us be men and spare the unwanted noise and effort. You were the first to declare war —and thus we are here.
By the way, we know each other, but I am not sure that you remember me. It seems like fate that we meet again. I am not going to write to you anymore.
Ah, almost forgot — soon a documentary by French and English producers will be released about your passion for young boys starring real personalities from both the West and Russia.
The address and phone number contained at the end of the letter belonged to the famous British cemetery. The abbreviation "FOHC” referenced to “Friends of Highgate Cemetery."
Berezovsky responded with an impish and somewhat absurd letter addressed to Putin. (Looking ahead, it is noteworthy that Kommersant did not dare publish any letters sent by Berezovsky in this matter, notwithstanding the fact that he remained the owner of the newspaper until 2006).
To Vladimir Vladimirovich
Now I know for sure that you are teachable. You’ve not only memorized the words of a certain well-known Moscow journalist: "Vladimir Vladimirovich acts as if he exists, whereas his predecessor acted as if he did not exist" — but you’ve also drawn the right conclusions from this statement.
Your letter, addressed to me directly in London, with its touching reference to your private chauffeur Ivan Ivanovich (I must say, Vladimir Vladimirovich, you have such impeccable manners, calling even your chauffeur by his patronymic!), cleared up whatever doubts I had left. In just over two years you have undergone a transformation from a simple Volodya to VVP. You have learned to be cunning and not to stand out, shielding yourself with Petr Petrovich when necessary, and giving even experienced people the absolute illusion that VVP and PPP are two completely different people. But you are only at the beginning of your path and it will be possible to talk about your political maturity only when you are able, as effortlessly as you call yourself Petr Petrovich today, to sign your name, as I normally do, simply Abramovich.
Petr Petrovich, I mean Vladimir Vladimirovich, as one Russian Orthodox to another, I would ask you not to mention God in vain, and if you absolutely cannot help it, then please, write "God" with a capital letter, not with a small one.
And one last thing. Vladimir Vladimirovich, I mean Nikolai Nikolayevich, in memory of our former warm and heartfelt relations, calm down your flunkies Gennady Gennadiyevich Raykov and Dmitry Dmitrievich Rogozin — GGR and DDR for short. They are embarrassing both of us in front of everybody with their stupid old-fashioned notions about hardy male friendships, and they are also making threats to show some kind of documentary so as to offend our sincere feelings. As if the documentary that I made about your and Nikolai Platonovich Patrushev’s (NPP) unofficial visit to the city of Ryazan in September 1999 was not enough for both of us.
Oh yes, almost forgot. Vladimir Vladimirovich, the preciosity of your letter makes it absolutely obvious that you, kind sir, have become seriously addicted to "Mister Hexogen." By all appearances, you will not be able to break out of this bad habit on your own. Hex corrupts not less than—I would dare to say, even more than—coke and cash.
It is time to get cured.
With a resolute wish to understand the role of the individual in history (in Moscow-Volgodonsk-Ryazan),
Soon thereafter, Berezovsky received another anonymous letter dated June 16, 2002, purportedly from the former President of Chechnya Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev (who was assassinated by GRU in Qatar on February 13, 2004):
4 Saville Row
Today when the authorities in the West, in the USA primarily, are frightening the whole world with terrorism, we have chosen the path of freedom, the path to our independence, our own traditions and the right to live our life as we wish. Allah help us, we shall achieve our goals sooner or later.
International terrorism is a very good term, it may cover the actions of any state or person, but what is most important, it does not require any evidence.
As you know we have signed a Treaty with the Taliban on mutual recognition and opened our Embassy in Kabul and a Consulate in Kandahar. All the documents bear my signature and that of Ahmud Mutavakkil, the Afghan Foreign Minister.
I used to meet Bin Laden, Mullah Omar and the other Afghan leaders occasionally. We are in complete agreement and share the same ideas of Wahhabism, developed in Afghanistan by Dr. Abdulah Azzam, the great Palestinian thinker and peer of Bin Laden. The only difference is that our goal is to conquer Russia and to free the Caucasus from Russian influence.
The events of September 11 in the USA are the result of the policy of the West, Russia and the other monsters of geopolitics that interfere with the righteous life of free people.
We have always appreciated your help and the support that you have given us lately. We know that you believe in our policy and approve of our actions, publicly opposing the Russian regime. We understand that when you fight Russia and its President, V. Putin, you have to move from one country to another, overcoming various difficulties and barriers. But Boris Berezovsky fears no one but God, unlike many others who are afraid of the Russian authorities.
I am writing to you in my capacity as the former President and a representative of the mujahedeen and also on behalf of Sh. Basayev, the Commander of a large group of our units. There is nothing that I can add to what you already know about him; he is a disciplined warrior and a world-class mujahedeen; he is a good guy. He is doing jihad; he is not a terrorist. The money that you used to give him was used to build a training camp of Khattab, which I set up with the help of our General Staff with A. Maskhadov as its Chief, who played an important role in the training of the mujahedeen.
Some time ago I was approached by a certain Ivan Ivanovich, a man with wide powers given to him by the Russian President V. Putin. He made a number of proposals to me.
There are about 250 wounded mujahedeen in Russian prisons now. I was offered to exchange them for evidence against you. Evidence that should be given by the people who helped you to contact us when you gave us material and informational support.
Representatives of the U. S. and U. K. Services dealing with national security and international terrorism also contacted me with similar proposals.
At the same time several Chechen citizens have been arrested in Europe; they were engaged in arms smuggling and drug trafficking, as well as supplying illegal immigrants to the European brothels that they control. I was shown materials confirming the fact that you were a customer there enjoying the company of both male and female partners. Yes, unfortunately even among one million Chechens there are traitors.
You are aware that I am raising money and other aid among the Muslims who, denying themselves give us their last dribs and drabs in the name of Allah! I have the following proposal for you, which is dictated by the aforesaid:
My first option is: our representatives and messengers, including the citizens of other countries, and we have not more than 30 of them, give evidence against you as required by the Russian Special Services and in return we get back our brothers.
My second option is: our wounded brethren who are now in the hands of our occupiers are ready to become shahids. We do not submit any evidence on our contacts with you as the Russians demand us to do. In return you give us financial aid amounting to $200 million. We shall pay you back the money when we end our war with Russia.
If you agree with the second option, then within three weeks you should say the following words in any of your interviews to the Russian mass media: "Bush, as you know, also limits freedom under the pretext of fighting terrorism," and if you do not agree to accept, you should say: "Putin, as you know, also limits freedom under the pretext of fighting terrorism."
You may be sure that if you accept my second option not a single Chechen, Arab, or any European, whether he is religious or non-clerical, will not act independently in this matter.
I should warn you that any of your actions after you receive this letter that we might consider abusive will be avenged in accordance with the Sharia Law.
Berezovsky left this letter unanswered. In December, he received another letter, this time from "Ivan I. Ivanov".
The birth of a man is the birth of his sorrow. The longer he lives, the more stupid he becomes, because his anxiety to avoid unavoidable death becomes more and more acute. What bitterness! He lives for what is always out of reach! His thirst for survival in the future makes him incapable of living in the present.
You are so obsessed with false hopes, dreams, and ambitions, which promise happiness but lead only to misery, you are like a person crawling through an endless desert, dying of thirst. And all that your ideas hold out to you to drink is a cup of salt water, designed to make you even thirstier. Knowing and realizing this, shouldn’t you listen to Petr Petrovich when he says:
Planning for the future is like fishing in a dry gulch:
Nothing ever works out as you wanted, so give up all your schemes and ambitions.
If you have got to think about something —
Make it the uncertainty of the hour of your death...
For Russians, as you know, the main festival of the year is the New Year, which is like Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving all rolled into one. Petr Petrovich is a great KGB officer whose life is full of eccentric episodes that could help many people to correct their mistakes and return to normal life. Instead of celebrating New Year’s Day and wishing people a "Happy New Year" like everyone else, Petr Petrovich usually weeps. When asked why, he said that another year had gone by, and so many people had come closer to death, still unprepared.
Think of what must have happened to nearly all of us one day or the other: We are strolling down the street, thinking inspiring thoughts and speculating on important matters. A car suddenly races by and almost runs us over.
Switch on the television or glance at a newspaper: You will see death everywhere. Yet did the victims of those accidents expect to die? They took life for granted, as do we. How often do we hear stories of people whom we know, or even friends, who have died unexpectedly? We don’t even have to be ill to die: our bodies can suddenly break down and go out of order, just like our cars. We can be quite well one day, then fall sick and die the next.
Petr Petrovich encourages his clients to imagine vivid scenarios of their own death: the sensations, the pain, the panic, the helplessness, the grief of loved ones... It is important to reflect calmly, again and again, that death is real, and it comes without warning.
As Vladimir Putin said: "Oligarchs spend all their lives preparing, preparing, preparing... Only to meet death unprepared."
Ivan I. Ivanov (December, 2002. Library Bar, London)
PS. I am going to visit your professor friend in the USA for a few weeks, so you can contact us if you wish on (301) 1234567. By the way, I met one of your boys who you used to fuck in Moscow; he is in Paris now and says hello to you, he remembers your present — a nice ring with a diamond — remember? He is cute, but older now, not a teen anymore...
By Washington-based "professor-friend" was meant former KGB General Oleg Kalugin who was based in Washington D.C. and who gave an interview for the documentary Blowing Up Russia in support of the version of the FSB’s involvement in the building explosions in Russia in September 1999. In the summer of 2002, soon after the documentary’s release in London on March 5, 2002, Kalugin was sentenced in absentia to 15 years in prison for high treason. The phone number stated in the letter was Kalugin’s home phone number (changed for the purposes of this article). Clearly, the authors of the letter wanted to demonstrate to Berezovsky how well-informed they were.
In 2003, I used to travel to London frequently. Boris showed me all these letters during one of my visits.
– You know, – he said – I am applying for the British political asylum now since I am being threatened. And, on the one hand, everyone understands that these letters are being written in FSB and imply threats, which forms the basis for the grant of the asylum. But on the other hand, the attorneys are concerned that we do not have any evidence that the letters were indeed written by the FSB. They are anonymous! And it is completely unclear how to come up with evidence.
I was reading these letters and could not shake the feeling that the contents of the letters from "Petr Petrovich" and "Ivan Ivanovich" were familiar. I re-read the letters a few times but could not recall from where I knew them. Then I suddenly remembered:
– Boris, I already read these narratives. Oleg Kalugin received a similar letter in Washington in December 2002.
– Do you have it?
– I do.
Boris was reading the letter to Kalugin and refused to believe his eyes. In a matter of an hour, attorneys who were representing him regarding the application for political asylum gathered in his office. Now they had an obvious proof that the threatening letters to Berezovsky were composed by FSB by the same people who threatened Kalugin.
The letters to Berezovsky were written in Russian. The letter to Kalugin was written in English:
There is no place on earth where death cannot find us... Men come and they go and they trot and they dance, and never a word about death. All well and good. Yet when death does come — to them, their wives, their children, their friends — catching them unawares and unprepared then what storms of passion overwhelm them, what cries, what fury, what despair. We do not know where death awaits us: so let us wait for it everywhere.
Oleg D. Kalugin
Center of Counterintelligence and Security Studies
It will be really nice to meet you here in the USA and to have a nice time together. The trip was easy and it was a very nice day when we arrived yesterday.
We were driving to Washington and admiring the countryside as we went along. We passed a long cemetery that had been freshly painted and decorated with flowers. I said, “Petr Petrovich, look how everything in the West is so neat and clean. Even the places where they keep their corpses are spotless. In Russia not even the houses that people live in are nowhere nearly as clean.”
“Ah, yes, Petr Petrovich replied, “that’s true; this is such a civilized country. They have such marvelous dwellings for their dead corpses. But haven’t you noticed? They have such wonderful dwellings for their living corpses too.”
Whenever I think of this story, it makes me think how hollow and futile life can be when we betray our motherland.
When we live like that we become, as Petr Petrovich said, unconscious, living corpses.
Switch on the television or glance at a newspaper: You will see death everywhere. Yet did the victims of those car accidents expect to die? They took life for granted, as do we. How often do we hear stories of people whom we know, or even friends, who have died unexpectedly? We don’t even have to be ill to die: our bodies can suddenly break down and go out of order, just like our cars. We can be quite well one day, then fall sick and die the next.
Think of what must have happened to nearly all of us one day or the other. We are strolling down the street, thinking inspiring thoughts, speculating on important matters. A car suddenly races by and almost runs us over.
So, please, change your present job, it’s not for you, really. We will be in touch with you shortly and please don’t make any fuss; it will make things even worse.
Ivan I. Ivanov
PO Box 103
Pon Orchard WA 98366
Tel : (360) 871 5694
PS. Your friend has a very nice website; we will be in touch with him too.
The address at the end of the letter was the address of the cemetery. "WSCA" probably is "Washington State Cemetery Association." The website mentioned in the post scriptum was 5th Element, which was set up by Peter Lyutyi (Yuri Shvets) and me for publishing the printouts of the contents of the audio tapes from 2000 of the conversations that took place in the office of the then-President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma, which were given to me by Mykola (Nikolai) Melnichenko.
Any reasonable person could understand that the letters received by Berezovsky in London and by Kalugin in Washington DC, were penned by the same author (or a group of authors). Nevertheless, these letters were submitted for the expert analysis prior to being submitted to the British court. Below are the excerpts from the expert report:
Subject of Analysis
The subject of this analysis is four letters. Three of them were sent to Boris Berezovsky (## 1,2,3). One letter was sent to Oleg Kalugin (# 4). The letter to Berezovsky are dated April 2002 (letter # 1), June 16, 2002 (letter # 2), and December 2002 (letter # 3). Letter to Kalugin is dated December 2002 (letter # 4).
All letters to Berezovsky and Kalugin have a number of similar characteristics which strongly indicate that they were written and mailed out by the same author (an individual or a group of individuals). Almost the entire letter to Kalugin consists of the fragments included into the letters to Berezovsky ## 1 and 3. Thus, the following paragraphs from the Kalugin letter are included into a letter # 1 sent out to Berezovsky:
"There is no place on earth where death cannot find us... Men come and they go and they trot and they dance, and never a word about death. All well and good. Yet when death does come – to them, their wives, their children, their friends – catching them unawares and unprepared, then what storms of passion overwhelm them, what cries, what jury, what despair!... We do not know where death awaits us: so let us wait for it everywhere. Montaigne."
"We passed a long cemetery, which had been freshly painted and decorated with flowers. I said, "Petr Petrovich, look how everything in the West is so neat and clean. Even the places where they keep corpses are spotless. In Russia not even the houses that people live in are anything like as clean as this."
"Ah, yes," Petr Petrovich replied, "that's true; this is such a civilized country. They have such marvelous houses for dead corpses. But haven't you noticed? They have such wonderful houses for the living corpses too."
"Whenever I think of this story, it makes me think how hollow and futile life can be when we betray our motherland."
"When we live like that we become, as Petr Petrovich said, unconscious, living corpses."
The following paragraphs from Kalugin letter are included in the Berezovsky letter # 3:
"Switch on the television or glance at a newspaper: You will see death everywhere. Yet did the victims of those car accidents expect to die? They took life for granted as we do. How often do we hear stories of people whom we know, or even friends, who died unexpectedly? We don't even have to be ill to die; our bodies can suddenly break down and go out of order, just like our cars. We can be quite well one day, then fall sick and die the next."
"Think of what must have happened to nearly all of us one day or the other. We are strolling down the street, thinking inspiring thoughts, speculating on important matters. A car suddenly races by and almost runs us over."
The letter to Kalugin and the Berezovsky letter # 3 are signed by Ivan I. Ivanov, which is unusual. In Russia, they would normally sign either Ivan Ivanov or I.I. Ivanov. Yet this author used unusual and distinctive "Ivan I. Ivanov." The letter to Kalugin mentions certain "Petr Petrovich." The Berezovsky letter # 1 is signed by "Petr Petrovich."
The return address in the Kalugin letter shows a cemetery, and the Berezovsky letter # 1 shows a cemetery as a return address.
The use of Montaigne’s quotation is notable. Montaigne is almost unknown in Russia, and it is hard to imagine that different authors at about the same time independently using the same quotations in their letters.
The theme of the Kalugin letter and the Berezovsky letters ## 1 and 3 is the same – the death comes unexpectedly.
The Kalugin letter is dated December 2002 and the Berezovsky letter # 3 is dated December 2002 (they do not show exact dates).
It is inconceivable that such a significant number of striking similarities in the Kalugin letter and the Berezovsky letters ## 1 and 3 is just a coincidence. In real-life situation such a coincidence is impossible. The striking similarities (in fact, the letters almost mirror each other) clearly show that the letters were written by the same author.
In Berezovsky letter # 2 dated June 16, 2002, different theme and language are used. Yet is has reference to "Ivan Ivanych" (Иван Иваныч), who is featured in the Kalugin letter and the Berezovsky letters ## 1 and 3. The name "Ivanych" (Иваныч) is distinctive. Normally, it should be written as "Ivanovich" (Иванович). This reference indicates that the Berezovsky letter # 2 is written by the same author (authors) as well.
Given the conclusion that all four letters are written by the same author, their content should be analyzed as a single block of information.
Analysis of technical characteristics of the letters
Analysis of all four letters shows that they were made and delivered professionally by a group of people with the inside knowledge of active measures and practical experience in that department. The number of such people in Russia is very limited. All of them are associated with the KGB or its successors.
Making and mailing out the four letters was a wide-scale operation, which required a lot of time, a lot of efforts and resources. In the KGB Intelligence Service, which was one of the most experienced agencies in the world in active measures, it would have been a top priority operation involving a group of people with different responsibilities and from different departments. One group of agents would collect necessary information. Another group would write and (with the Kalugin letter) translate the letters, whose contents would be a subject of approval at the very top of the agency (each paragraph of the letters was to be approved). The third group of the agents would have been involved in a risky operation of delivering the letters. Only few of the agents involved would know the purpose and the recipient of the letters.
Very important requirement for such an operation is to make sure that the agents involved are not caught red handed, because in the United States, for example, where the Kalugin letter was dropped in a mail box, sending death threat letters is a crime. Therefore, dropping such a letter in a mailbox is a very risky intelligence operation, which usually lasts several hours and requires the efforts of several agents.
In this particular case, the safety requirements were met professionally, and the death threat letter to Kalugin was investigated by the FBI and the police of Alexandria, Virginia, without any apparent success.
Analysis of the letters ## 1, 2, 3, and 4 shows that they were made and mailed out by professionals with the inside knowledge and experience in active measures and the capabilities to do it. In practical terms, it is hard to imagine that they are a product of a madman or an amateur. I strongly believe that the letters are a result of the highly coordinated and well-directed efforts over a relatively extended period of time. It is clear that the operation was conducted by the Russians. The only agencies in Russia which could do this are the FSB (Federal Security Service) and the SVR (Russian Foreign Intelligence Service), the KGB successors.
Analysis of the letters strongly suggests that they were made by the FSB.
It is significant that the Kalugin letter and the Berezovsky letters ## 1 and 3 (that is three letters out of four) do not show exact dates when they were written. They were dated December and April 2002, and it is important. This is a major professional flaw which sheds some light on the authors of the letters. It shows that the authors of the letters did not know the exact dates when they would be able to drop the letters in a mail box. This is the reason why they did not put down exact dates in the letters. This fact strongly suggests that the letters were not written in the SVR, which has permanent stations (residences) in the United States and Great Britain. As a result, the SVR officers, like the officers of the KGB Intelligence Service, the SVR predecessor, know when they can drop the letters into a mail box and would definitely write down the exact dates in the letters. They would write the exact dates because it is a normal practice, and in the active measures it is extremely important to be as close to the normal practice as possible. Any deviation from the norm leads to a failure, and a failure in active measures has a strong potential to evolve into an international scandal.
If the letters had been written in the SVR, they would have contained exact dates when they were written. Besides, the SVR has an established tradecraft of delivering this type of letters. According to professional traditions, its agents would drop the letter to Kalugin, who resides in the United States, in a mailbox in New York. In our case, the Kalugin letter was dropped in a mailbox in the state of Washington.
Besides, the distribution of the death threat letters is an extremely risky operation, which, if fails, may have negative ramifications not only to the international relations but also – and it is very important – to the people personally involved into those operations. For this reason, the KGB Foreign Intelligence Service did not sent out death threat letters in the United States for at least last twenty years of the Soviet Union, even when the most important national security issues were at stake. These days, the SVR has working relations with its counterparts in the US and UK in fighting terrorism and would avoid at any costs being involved in an essentially terrorist operation such as the distribution of the death threat letters.
The FSB is different. It does not have permanent representation in the US and UK, and this explains why the three letters do not have exact dates: the authors did not know when exactly they would be able to travel to the United States and Great Britain and drop the letters. It is out of question that this job could be entrusted to somebody who is not an officer of the Russian intelligence and/or counterintelligence community.
Besides, the FSB, as a counterintelligence service, uses more hardcore tradecraft than the SVR, does not care about good relations with its Western counterparts, and does not care much about the effect its operations may have onto the international relations.
Moreover, the four letters had to be written and mailed out at the initiative and with the approval at the top of the Russian political leadership. Since the issue is very sensitive, the operation must have been entrusted to the most trusted agency. Vladimir Putin and his closest entourage are not close enough with the SVR, and the SVR is not trusted these days because of a long series of defection of its officers to the West. In fact, Putin and his closest assistants are aliens in the SVR. They came out of the FSB or its predecessor, the counterintelligence part of the KGB.
Finally, the cases of Kalugin and Berezovsky are handled in Moscow by the FSB. Because of traditionally high compartmentalization in the Russian security services, it is highly unlikely that some fragments of the operation could be delegated to other agencies, such as the SVR, and the rivalry between the two agencies often amounts to hostility. As a result, they do not trust each other.
Given these facts, I strongly believe that the four letters were written and mailed out by the FSB. Among other things, it explains heavy-handed contents of the Kalugin letter and the Berezovsky letters ## 1 and 3. With quotations from Montaigne and Chuang Tzu and swelling philosophical exercises of "Ivan Ivanych" and "Petr Petrovich" the letters may be viewed as a farce if we ignore the messages they convey. The FSB and the counterintelligence part of the KGB, the FSB predecessor, were involved in active measures inside the country, where nuances were not very much important, and this is the reason of the "hardcore" tradecraft.
As for the quotations, they are readily available in the Internet and do not require much of an intellect:
"There is no place on earth where death cannot find us--even if we constantly twist our heads about in all directions as in a dubious and suspect land . . . If there were any way of sheltering from death's blows--I am not the man to recoil from it . . . But it is madness to think that you can succeed . . . Men come and they go and they trot and they dance, and never a word about death. All well and good. Yet when death does come--to them, their wives, their children, their friends--catching them unawares and unprepared, then what storms of passion overwhelm them, what cries, what fury, what despair! . . .
To begin depriving death of its greatest advantage over us, let us adopt a way clean contrary to that common one; let us deprive death of its strangeness, let us frequent it, let us get used to it; let us have nothing more often in mind than death . . . We do not know where death awaits us: so let us wait for it everywhere. To practice death is to practice freedom. A man who has learned how to die has unlearned how to be a slave. – Michel de Montaigne."
"The birth of a man is the birth of his sorrow. The longer he lives, the more stupid he becomes, because his anxiety to avoid unavoidable death becomes more and more acute. What bitterness! He lives for what is always out of reach! His thirst for survival in the future makes him incapable of living in the present. Chuang Tzu."
Content analysis of the letters
In active measures, a letter contains the "theses", which deliver a message to the recipient. The message is aimed at inducing the receiver to do certain things or, at the contrary, discourage him from doing certain things. The letters to Berezovsky contain distinctive messages and they are interconnected. It should be stressed again that sending out this kind of letters is not something routine. It is a top priority operation with extremely high stakes, and each “thesis” of the letters was to be approved at the top of the Russian leadership.
The letter # 1 dated April 2002 shows that the Russian security service is unhappy with the actions undertaken by Boris Berezovsky. It is notable that the letter was mailed out soon after the presentation in March 2002 of the documentary "Assassination of Russia" which alleges that a series of terrorist acts in Russia resulting in hundreds of casualties were committed by the FSB to facilitate coming to power of Vladimir Putin. The documentary was sponsored by Boris Berezovsky; it had an international resonance, but was banned in Russia.
The documentary was a powerful challenge to Vladimir Putin and, more specifically, to the FSB. It explains the "thesis" in the letter # 1: "Dear Boris Abramovich! So how many of such warnings that great Montaigne made do you really need: "There are no such place on earth where death cannot find us…"
It is a clear warning that if Berezovsky does not stop challenging the Russian regime and the FSB in particular, he will be killed, even if he resides in a foreign state. Moreover, the death threat also relates to the people who are close to Berezovsky: "Try to understand that everything you have been doing recently is a pulse of death, a heartbeat of death for you and the people close to you."
The third important thesis of the letter # 1 leaves the door open to Berezovsky. He can save himself and his loved ones if he gives reassurances that he will stop his anti-Putin campaign: "Therefore, please find a way to clarify your future position, so that we, God forbid, do not get you wrong."
In post-scriptum, the authors mentioned a documentary on Berezovsky ostensibly made by French and British documentarists. In is a clear reference to what caused the warning letter to be written and sent out to Berezovsky – his documentary Assassination of Russia which was made by French documentarists.
Apparently, Boris Berezovsky ignored the warning in the letter # 1. Therefore, on June 16, 2002, he received very informative letter # 2.
The letter contains several important "theses" (messages). It refers to certain "Ivan Ivanych", who is also featured in the letters ## 1 and 3, and makes clear that he, Ivan Ivanych, is close to Vladimir Putin: "Some time ago I was approached by a certain Ivan Ivanych, a man with wide powers given to him by the Russian President V. Putin."
It should be noted that according to a longstanding tradecraft tradition of the Russian security services it is a taboo to refer to the top state officials and mention their names in this kind of letters. According to this tradition, there is just one situation when Vladimir Putin’s name could appear in the letter – when he personally orders and approves the letter and the use of his name in it to make sure that Boris Berezovsky understands the importance of the message. It is an extremely risky endeavor, since, if the operation fails, Putin gets severely compromised. Yet, the authors of the letter found it warranted to run the risks to make sure that Berezovsky realizes the importance of the “theses” contained in the letter. The use of Putin’s name in the letter leaves no doubt that the letter was written and sent out by the order of the Russian President. No one would dare in the FSB to use Putin’s name without the authorization, because it would certainly lead to a devastating end of the career.
The letter # 2 is indeed very important. It notifies Berezovsky that the FSB is building his case trying to connect him to the international terrorism and to portray him as a financial donor of international terrorists. The connection goes as far as reaching Ben Laden, number one target of the US and UK, which is supposed to convince Berezovsky that he is in desperate situation. The letter even suggests that American and British security agencies have been notified of Berezovsky’s connection with the terrorists.
It is clear that if the FSB had real evidence on Berezovsky’s connection with the terrorists, there would be no need to send him the letter. The FSB would simply deliver the evidence to British and American governments and Berezovsky’s fate would be sealed. That is why the letter # 2 is designed to scare Berezovsky, to induce him to take steps to get in touch with the Chechens to verify that the letter was authored and sent out by them. The FSB would keep an eye on those contacts collecting the necessary "evidence" of Berezovsky’s terrorist connection. In fact, the letter # 2 is written in a language that, under certain conditions, makes possible to use it as an "evidence" of Berezovsky’s terrorist connection. It would be possible, for example, if Berezovsky did not notify the British government of the letter and the FSB learned about it.
The letter also contains an ominous message. It warns Berezovsky that he may be killed by the Chechens under the Sharia law, if they consider his actions abusive. In a nutshell, this is the threat that the FSB may kill Berezovsky and blame Chechens for the assassination. The letter # 2 and similar letters may be used as "evidence" that Berezovsky was killed by the Chechens because he violated the Sharia law and/or refused to pay $200 million they requested.
There is a lot of public information showing that the FSB predecessors assassinated or kidnapped people living in foreign countries. There are strong indications that the Russian security services have been involved in assassinations in Russia. Moreover, it is easier for the FSB to assassinate people these days than it was in the Soviet Union. In the Soviet Union, in order to assassinate a person living in a foreign country the KGB had to obtain authorization from the top Soviet leadership. These days, no such authorization is needed. Close connection between the FSB and the Russian organized crime is a fact. In this situation, a low level FSB officer can instruct a professional criminal to kill anybody in the U.K., and it will be done without any paper trail and visible FSB connection. Given almost pathological importance given to Boris Berezovsky by the Russian leadership and security services it is not far-fetched to say that he can be easily assassinated in Britain and the blame would be put on the Chechens. This is a devilish threat on the part of the FSB and it should be taken very seriously.
The letter # 3 is dated December 2002 and contains direct indication that it is authored by the KGB (in Russia, the FSB, the KGB successor, very often is still referred to as the KGB): "Petr Petrovich is an outstanding KGB officer…" The letter again contains a death threat: "We can be quite well today, then fall sick and die tomorrow."
The letter goes even further quoting Vladimir Putin as saying, "Oligarchs spend all their lives preparing, preparing, preparing… Only to meet the death unprepared." Again, according to the established professional tradition, there is no way the authors could quote Putin saying these ominous things without his approval; otherwise, we will have to presume that the team which authored and mailed out the letter consists only of self-murderers. Even though it was very risky to use Putin’s name and his quotations in the letter, the idea is to show Berezovsky that he is dealing not just with the FSB but with the highest authority of Russia.
The four letters received by Berezovsky and Kalugin are not perfect from professional viewpoint. The biggest mistake was to send Kalugin a letter, which almost word-to-word reproduces the paragraphs contained in two letters received by Berezovsky. It shows that all four letters were authored by the same group of people and eliminates another theoretically possible author of the letters – some of Berezovsky’s business competition. Kalugin has not been involved in any meaningful business with the Russian counterparts. Therefore, there are no Russian businesspersons who could send him this letter. On the other hand, Kalugin is a well-known foe of the FSB and Putin, and this is the reason why last summer Kalugin was sentenced in Moscow in abstentia for 15 years in jail on trumpeted up charges.
All in all the four letters strongly point to the FSB as the author.
Another big mistake made by the authors was the use of Putin’s name and his revealing quotations in the letters. Apparently, the authors did not anticipate that someday the letters would be made public and severely compromise Putin. I am sure the authors will be severely punished for such a big mistake.
Therefore, based on the evidence presented in this affidavit as well as on my personal knowledge, it is my professional opinion that:
The four letters received by Boris Berezovsky and Oleg Kalugin represent active measures of the Russian security services.
The letters were authored and sent out by the FSB.
They contain death threats which are real and should be taken with utmost attention.
The letters were written and sent out with the approval of the Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The main objective of the letters received by Berezovsky is to force him under the threat of assassination to stop his activities which are viewed by Putin and his closest assistants as challenging.
This is the documentation package, which formed the basis of the grant to Boris Berezovsky of the political asylum in the Great Britain in 2003. It seems that it did not prevent Berezovsky’s untimely death, just as the grant of the political asylum to Glushkov in 2010 did not prevent his untimely death. Same goes to the grant of the British citizenship to Alexander Litvinenko on October 13, 2006, since he was poisoned on November 1 of the same year. Therefore, the crocodile tears shed by the Ministry of the Foreign Affairs and by the Attorney General of the Russian Federation regarding the Russian citizens who were killed "with the complicity" of the British Crown, should remain with the Russian Intelligence Services and with Putin’s lack of conscience.