Something I learned very early on in the Khodorkovsky case is that Russian prosecutors are specialized in arranging political show trials and performing illusions of due process – but when it comes to actual investigations and the procurement of evidence (even for real and legitimate criminal cases), they have not the talent nor ability to get the job done.
In this spirit, we have no choice but to greet with caution the news that ten unnamed people have now been arrested in connection with the brutal slaying of journalist Anna Politkovskaya. Prosecutor-General Yuri Chaika, who recently blasted Switzerland for having refused to cooperate with Russia on the Khodorkovsky case, has already declared that Politkovskaya’s murder was ordered from outside of Russia by some nefarious opponents of the government, or, as he characterized them: “Forces interested in destabilizing the country, changing its constitutional order, in stoking crisis, in a return to the old system where money and oligarchs ruled, in discrediting national leadership, provoking external pressure on the country, could be interested in this crime.”
Once Chaika got rolling, it seems he couldn’t stop. By his reasoning, the group that conspired to murder Anna Politkovskaya was headed up Chechens, who were also possibly responsible for the murders of Forbes journalist Paul Klebnikov and even central banker Andrei Kozlov.
However, once Chaika was reminded that the procuracy had already selected Alexei Frenkel to play the fall guy for the Kozlov murder, he backed off this assertion.
With the arrest of these ten people, it’s hard to blame Chaika for wanting to clear as many troublesome outstanding cases as possible. May as well tack on the murders of Czar Nicolas II and his family – which is also currently under a renewed investigation by the prosecutor general.