Publication: Monitor Volume: 8 Issue: 9

While the decision by the Higher Arbitration Court would appear to have sealed TV-6’s fate, Boris Berezovsky said in an interview published today that the station’s lawyers were studying various possible responses and might appeal Friday’s decision in Russia’s Constitutional Court. Asked whether the channel would appeal the decision to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, Berezovsky answered: “Absolutely” (, January 14).

More provocatively, immediately after the Higher Arbitration Court rendered its decision, Berezovsky told Radio Ekho Moskvy that he was preparing to release publicly a “packet of documents that will prove to everyone that it was the Russian special services that blew up the apartment buildings in Moscow and Volgodonsk, and were preparing another explosion in Ryazan” (, January 11). Berezovsky was referring to the apartment building bombings in September 1999 that killed more than 300 people. Those bombings were blamed on Chechen terrorists and became one of the main pretexts for Russia’s subsequent decision to intervene militarily in Chechnya. Some media at the time alleged that the Russian special services agents were also caught planting explosives in an apartment building in the city of Ryazan. The Federal Security Service (FSB) subsequently said that they had conducted a readiness exercise in Ryazan and that the packages allegedly containing explosives contained only sugar.

Berezovsky, who went into self-imposed exile in 2000 after falling out with President Vladimir Putin, whom he accused of authoritarianism, said in several interviews last month that the August 1999 invasion of Dagestan by militants in Chechnya was a “thought-out provocation by the Russian secret services,” which, he alleged, were also involved in the apartment building bombings a month later. Berezovsky stated that while he could not say that Putin, who at the time was Russia’s prime minister and had previously headed the FSB, ordered these operations, the Russian security services carried out the apartment bombings to “consolidate society around Putin’s candidacy” prior to the presidential elections by creating the pretext for a new Chechen military campaign, which “ensured Putin’s victory.” The FSB called Berezovsky’s allegations “complete madness” (see the Monitor, December 17, 2001, January 7, 11).