The Perfect Orthodox Wahhabi
- By Yulia Latynina
- Jun. 11 2008 00:00
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On June 5, a Moscow City Court jury acquitted Vladimir Kvachkov, a retired military intelligence colonel, of charges that he attempted to kill Anatoly Chubais, the architect of privatizations in the 1990s and head of Unified Energy System. After being freed from custody and asked what he would do next, Kvachkov replied, "Now I have a chance to finish what I started."
The circumstances surrounding the attack on Chubais and Kvachkov's subsequent swift arrest were very strange, and this shed doubt on the former intelligence officer's guilt from the very beginning of the investigation. Kvachkov was arrested because his wife's green Saab was found on a busy highway in the Moscow region near the scene of the ambush. But it seemed unbelievable that an experienced intelligence officer would drive to the crime scene in his family car.
Second, and even more unbelievable, was the evidence presented by investigators. They recovered floor mats from the assailants' car very close to the spot where the attack took place. Investigators said they took the mats as evidence and showed them to vendors selling mats at a nearby roadside marketplace. There, according to an investigator's testimony, they found a Tajik vendor who not only recognized the evidence, but he also remembered who he had sold the mats to and, what's more, the exact license plate number of the assailants' car.
Who is Kvachkov after all? He is a Russian Orthodox version of a Wahhabi extremist. Kvachkov claims that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is a "Gauleiter" leading an "occupational force" of Western sympathizers who have seized control of the country. Kvachkov, the argument goes, is not guilty of a crime because attempting to kill Chubais -- one of the country's worst traitors -- is not a crime.
The jury members spoke not with the voice of the law, but with the voice of the people, and Kvachkov was cleared of all charges.
Even after Kvachkov's acquittal, the problem is that the case remains just as unbelievable as ever. What about the amazing Tajik car mat salesman who had photographic memory of license plate numbers? This is all very hard to believe, but one explanation is that a Federal Security Service agent had come to the market with his colleagues and bought the mats as part of a setup.
Why would Kvachkov, an old hand in espionage matters, drive to the crime scene along a busy street in his wife's Saab? Only because he is a truly honest and selfless idealist -- qualities that befit a Russian Orthodox Wahhabi. He didn't even have enough money to buy another car for the hit.
Why is it that everybody who opposes the siloviki runs into trouble? Former Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak and General Alexander Bulbov, a senior officer with the Federal Drug Control Service, are both in jail, and Chubais was nearly gunned down.
If Chubais had been killed, the siloviki would have taken control of Unified Energy System. Kvachkov would have succeeded in obtaining a multibillion-dollar prize for delivering a serious blow to the occupational forces of pro-Western jackals and Gauleiters. But Chubais survived the attack and is attempting to prove to the intelligentsia that Putin is the lesser evil compared with the ultranationalist siloviki patriots.
And where does Kvachkov figure into all of this? He was manipulated as an Orthodox Wahhabi pawn, but this is nothing new. In Dagestan, for example, the highest-ranking officials often use their Wahhabi militants as cheap hired killers to settle scores with rivals.
We hear all the time that Russians ardently and unanimously support Putin. But this doesn't jibe with the Kvachkov acquittal. How could the majority of jurors dismiss charges against someone who so blasphemously called Putin a Gauleiter and his regime an occupational force?
Yulia Latynina hosts a political talk show on Ekho Moskvy radio.