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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bykov Flies In Secrecy To Siberia, Awaits Trial




KRASNOYARSK, Western Siberia -- Anatoly Bykov, the former chief of the enormous KrAZ aluminum plant, was secretly flown in from Moscow over the weekend, and Governor Alexander Lebed has vowed to see his arch enemy put on trial.


Bykov has been charged with murder and money laundering, and he was extradited back to Russia last week from Hungary, where he had taken refuge.


Lebed and Bykov were once allies. But they quickly soured on each other after Lebed's May 1998 election as governor, and soon they were exchanging mutual accusations and insults.


Among the Krasnoyarsk political-business elite, some still side with Bykov. He is popular here as a local boy who made good - someone who may or may not have been a bandit in his day, but who either way has been magnanimous with his money.


"Bykov is perceived in a dual way," said sociologist Irina Muratova, who runs the Krasnoyarsk office of the Public Opinion Foundation.


"On the one hand, people say there are crimes behind any big money. On the other hand, he has contributed more than anyone to charitable causes in the region, and the effort has dried up after he left."


Governor Lebed, in turn, is seen in some Krasnoyarsk circles as an outsider - someone who has filled local government with his own people from Moscow and Transdnestr.


Vyacheslav Novikov, a local politician and the director of a think tank called the Center for Strategic Projects, said that Bykov's "deportation" to Krasnoyarsk was a "victory" for Lebed.


But Novikov also said that it will be difficult to prove that Bykov organized the murder of local businessman Oleg Gubin and that he laundered money. Local authorities pin their hopes on a suspected killer, Vladimir Tatarinov, who is under arrest in Greece and who in March released a videotape accusing Bykov of organizing various contract killings.


In Moscow last week, Lebed said it was a matter of honor for him to see Bykov on trial in Siberia.


"I need to bring him here to remove his Robin Hood mask. There are dozens of corpses behind it," Lebed was quoted as saying by Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper last week. "We definitely need Bykov alive. I will guard him like a brother, around the clock, so that not a single hair falls from his head."


Bykov was brought to Krasnoyarsk under a cloak of secrecy, apparently to protect him from would-be assassins.


Local media had been tipped off that he might arrive Saturday. But when the expected plane landed, Lebed stepped out instead, and said he did not know how Bykov was slated to arrive.


Acting Regional Prosecutor Yury Antipov told a news conference here Monday that Bykov had arrived on Saturday on a regular flight from Moscow, but he refused to elaborate further.


Vadim Bostrov, general director of the pro-Bykov TVK television company, said he doubted Bykov's case would reach the courts. He said he saw it more as part of an under-the-table negotiation over the roughly 30 percent of KrAZ owned by Bykov.