Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 3 Issue: 8

The March 6 issue of Kommersant contained a detailed report, authored by journalists Natalya Gevorkyan and Vladimir Kara-Murza, concerning a press conference held in London, “very close to Downing Street,” on the previous day by oligarch-in-exile Boris Berezovsky. During the course of the press conference, “Journalists were shown a clip from the ‘Assault on Russia’ [film] documentary. Anyone who expected Berezovsky to produce a document signed by President Putin confirming that the FSB had something to do with the [September 1999 Moscow and Volgodonsk] apartment block explosions was disappointed. However, according to Berezovsky, the information in the documentary is enough to let Putin be viewed as an illegitimate president.” Also present at the press conference were Radio Liberty correspondent Andrei Babitsky, former NTV general manager Igor Malashenko, writer and historian Yury Fel’shtinsky and former FSB colonel Aleksander Litvinenko, who was granted political asylum by Britain a year ago. Fel’shtinsky and Litvinenko are the co-authors of the book ‘The FSB Blows Up Russia’ which was recently published in the United States. State Duma deputies Sergei Yushenkov and Yuly Rybakov were also present in the hall.

“The main idea of the documentary,” Kommersant observed, “is simple: if it is true that in Ryazan [in September 1999] the FSB participated in an attempted apartment block explosion, it leads to assumptions that the Russian secret services are to blame for the other explosions, including those in Moscow. And if the apartment blocks were blown up by the FSB, then ‘Putin’s ascent to power should be viewed in a different light.'”

“The real surprise,” Kommersant reported further, “came not from the screen, but from the left corner of the stage, where Nikita Chekulin, former acting director of the Roskonversvzryvtsentr Research Institute was sitting. He said that in 2000 he was recruited by the FSB and had ‘documentary evidence of secret theft of explosives,’ including TNT and hexogen, from military warehouses, with the participation of senior state officials and the FSB…. Duma deputy Rybakov asked the journalists to pay special attention to the words of Mr. Chekulin: ‘And where is this hexogen now? Should we expect more explosions?'” (translated into English by WPS Monitoring Agency; for the documents presented by Chekulin during the press conference, see: