Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 4 Issue: 34

Anna Politkovskaya also continues to believe that Khanpash Terkibaev, a double agent, manipulated last October’s Chechen terrorist raid in Moscow to advance the interests of the Russian secret services. She expressed this view to Chechnya Weekly during her visit to Washington. She recalled that when she met with the terrorists while they were holding hundreds of hostages in the Dubrovka theater, they told her that they did not recognize the authority of Aslan Maskhadov or of his emissary, Akhmed Zakaev. Thus, Politkovskaya told Chechnya Weekly, she is not surprised that Terkibaev was able to win the trust of the terrorist band, which was ostensibly led by Movsar Baraev, even though Maskhadov and his inner circle already knew Terkibaev to be a traitor. She said that her overall view of Terkibaev’s role is still the same as that expressed in her dramatic April 28 article about her interview with him.

Politkovskaya told the conference at Johns Hopkins that, regardless of whether her article was true or false, the federal procuracy should have launched an investigation–either of Terkibaev or of Novaya gazeta. But that did not happen, she said: An investigator from the procuracy questioned her for only ten minutes, and even went out of his way to urge her not to continue exploring Terkibaev and his connections. She quoted the investigator as saying, “We really don’t want this information, just let it go.”

What “especially shocked” Politkovskaya, she said, was a telephone call from an official of the U.S. embassy in Moscow who also urged her to drop the subject. The official told her that he and his colleagues were concerned about her safety. Chechnya Weekly tried on September 16 and 17 to get further information about this phone call from State Department sources, but they have so far not managed to provide any.