BEREZOVSKY FILM PROVOKES VARYING REACTIONS. A
Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 3 Issue: 9
documentary film, entitled “An Assassination Attempt against Russia,” sponsored by oligarch-in-exile Boris Berezovsky, which was unveiled at a press conference in London on March 5, continued to create ripple effects in Russia. On March 10, Sergei Yushenkov, a State Duma deputy and cofounder of the Liberal Russia movement, noted that “he had brought more than 1000 copies of the film into Russia” (Gazeta.ru, March 11). On March 12, the film, which directly accuses the FSB of having sought to blow up a large apartment complex in Ryazan in September 1999 in order to help rally the Russian populace behind a new war in Chechnya, was shown “to a packed audience of journalists, human rights activists and curious truth-seekers at the Sakharov Museum” in Moscow. “We still don’t know who blew up the houses [in Moscow and Volgodonsk],” Yushenkov told the audience, “We are not passing a verdict. We are demanding one thing–an investigation” (Moscow Times, March 13).
The deputies of the Russian State Duma, however, declined to arrange for a screening of the film. Only seventy-five of the 226 deputies needed supported Yushenkov’s proposal. Dmitry Rogozin, chairman of the Duma’s international affairs committee, “resolutely opposed Yushenkov’s initiative,” suggesting instead that “a copy of the controversial documentary first be sent for examination by the Duma’s security committee, since, according to Rogozin, a showing of the film might give grounds for ‘libel'” (RIA Novosti, March 15). On March 16, Boris Jordan, the director of NTV television, announced that NTV would not show the film because, “We are afraid of judicial liability” (RFE-RL, March 18). There was, of course, zero expectation that Russian state television would show the film. Berezovsky told the newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta that, if the Russian authorities attempted to prevent the dissemination of the film within Russia, then he “would prepare for production in Russia a minimum of one million cassettes [of the film]” (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, March 11). On March 12, over the open air, a member of the new public body “The Association of September 1999,” Alena Morozova, told Ekho Moskvy Radio that the organization has initiated a lawsuit against the government of Russia “in the case of the explosions of apartment houses in Moscow and Volgodonsk in September of 1999” (Obshchaya Gazeta, March 19).