Publication: Monitor Volume: 7 Issue: 82

On April 25, officers of the Main Military Prosecutor’s office searched the apartment of Valery Shiryaev, deputy general director of the biweekly newspaper Novaya Gazeta, in Moscow. Yesterday (April 26), an unnamed spokesman for that office was quoted as saying that the search was carried out on the basis of an ongoing criminal investigation into the security service of Vladimir Gusinsky’s Media-Most holding, which is suspected of revealing state secrets. The unnamed official said that both Media-Most security service employees who formerly worked for the Federal Security Service (FSB) and current FSB employees are among those being investigated. Shiryaev himself formerly worked for Media-Most’s security service and for the FSB. His home computer was seized during the search, and, according to the military prosecutor’s spokesman, its contents were being analyzed.

The search of Shiryaev’s apartment and the criminal investigation on which it was based may be connected to the criminal case launched last April 26 against Media-Most’s security department, which was accused of conducting illegal eavesdropping and illegally obtaining and disclosing commercial and bank secrets. The Prosecutor General’s Office cited that probe as the basis for their raid on Media-Most’s headquarters in Moscow last May 11 (see the Monitor, May 12, 2000). In any event, the anonymous official from the Main Military Prosecutor’s office was quoted yesterday as saying that during searches of the Media-Most security service’s offices last year, investigators seized some 100 official documents marked “secret” which, he claimed, had been stolen “from certain state structures.”

The official from the Main Military Prosecutor’s office noted that Shiryaev is a former FSB employee and insisted that the search of his apartment had nothing to do with his current work at Novaya Gazeta (Radio Liberty, April 25;,, April 26). It should be noted, however, that Novaya Gazeta has regularly featured investigations into high-level corruption in various state organs, including the Prosecutor General’s Office and the security services, and has repeatedly probed and discussed highly-sensitive issues such as the Mabetex case and the September 1999 apartment building bombings, which were the causus belli for the Russian military operation in Chechnya.