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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Strange Case of Nikolai Glushkov

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At last the authorities would seem to have Boris Berezovsky red-handed. It would appear that this heinous criminal (to hear the prosecutors talk) and his right-hand man, Badri Patarkatsishvili, tried to steal former Aeroflot director Nikolai Glushkov right out from under the noses of the police.

Although it is not hard to believe that Berezovsky would want to so brazenly spit in the faces of the authorities, there are still three strange things about the Glushkov incident.

For one thing, on Wednesday the court was set to hear a request to release Glushkov on his own recognizance. He may well have gotten it, since he has been granted the status of a group-2 invalid since being imprisoned. It would have made a lot more sense to steal him after the 18th.

The second strange thing was that they never showed us any film of how Glushkov was caught in the act. "If the detectives had really caught him trying to escape, they would have filmed everything," one expert told me. "They caught him at the airport and not on the territory of the hospital. Either they botched the job or there is something fishy."

Of course, it isn't possible to overestimate the capacity for our detectives to botch such a job. But, on the other hand, we can't overlook the surreal forms of interaction between the police and their prisoners these days. Glushkov had been in the hospital for several months and had developed normal relations with his guards. He had been allowed to go home several times and had always returned. It would not be hard to think of a dozen excuses the guards could have used to get him out of his room. "Hey, get dressed and go into the garden. Your driver wants to give you some papers."

But it is worth recalling that the Aeroflot case has the same roots as Pavel Borodin's Mabetex case: the government of former Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov.

However, while most analysts seem to think that the case against Borodin is pretty watertight, the Aeroflot case is far less clear. As I've written before, Aeroflot made increasing profits under Glushkov's management. Its passenger numbers were up, as was the value of its shares. Although the practice of running Aeroflot's money through the Swiss company Andava seems strange to Western businessmen, such mechanisms are widespread in Russia as a way of minimizing tax exposure.

And so on the very day when the criminal Glushkov — who oversaw Aeroflot's growth from $7 per share to $185 — tries to escape from the police, Pavel Borodin returns from Switzerland thanks to $3 million of taxpayer money. The case is crystal clear, according to our incredibly naive prosecutor.

You see, Borodin — unlike Berezovsky — never declared war on the regime. On the contrary, Borodin is the heart and soul of the regime. He built the Kremlin and now he plans to build the Parliamentary Center in St. Petersburg, for the paltry sum of $2 billion.

And one more strange thing. They say that another of Berezovsky's one-time disciples, Roman Abramovich, hates Glushkov. They say that when Abramovich bought Sibneft, some of the documents were a bit strange and Glushkov was in charge of checking them. Naive fellow that he is, instead of just shrugging and saying, "What strange documents," Glushkov went straight to Berezovsky. "Look here, Borya. Roma is trying to screw you. …"

Yulia Latynina is a journalist for ORT.