Writing in the no. 42 (June 17) issue of Novaya Gazeta, award-winning Russian war correspondent Anna Politkovskaya reported on the recent forced resignation of Colonel General Mikhail Kislitsyn, chief military procurator of Russia. Kislitsyn’s resignation, she wrote, occurred after a telephone call from Russian Procurator General Vladimir Ustinov to the Council of Federation, the nonelected upper chamber of the Russian parliament. Ustinov informed leaders of the Council that Kislitsyn had submitted a letter asking that he be relieved of his post “due to illness.” The supposedly ill Kislitsyn, however, Politkovskaya noted, was at this time hard at work at his office in Moscow. Kislitsyn’s removal, she wrote, had probably been due to two factors. First, he had wanted to convict Colonel Yury Budanov for the murder of Kungaeva, a stance that no longer corresponded “to the ‘party line’ of the present political day.” Second, she wrote, Kislitsyn had objected to conducting a trial in absentia of former KGB General Oleg Kalugin in a military court at breakneck speed.
In a similar vein, writing in the June 25 issue of the weekly Moskovskie Novosti, journalist Valery Vyzhutovich commented: “The chief military procurator at first opposed the will of the FSB which had initiated the criminal prosecution of Oleg Kalugin…. Perhaps the one positive thing which Kislitsyn managed to accomplish despite pressure from above was to bring the case of Colonel Budanov to trial.” In what appeared to be a striking act of hypocrisy, Russian Prosecutor General Vladimir Ustinov was reported in the June 22 issue of Gazeta.ru to have protested the “soft sentence” being requested by prosecutors in the Budanov trial.