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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Protecting Our Own

A jury last week acquitted Konstantin Bratchikov and Stanislav Tyurin. They are the St. Petersburg businessmen who were accused of ordering the killing of Igor Klimov, the general director of anti-aircraft system producer Almaz-Antei. This company became the first example of so-called vertically integrated defense companies

Viktor Ivanov, who at that time was the all-powerful deputy chief of presidential staff, became Almaz-Antei's chairman of the board of directors. Ivanov's good acquaintance, Klimov -- who, to no one's surprise, is also from St. Petersburg -- became the company's general director.

Shortly after being appointed, Klimov was killed. In light of the authorities' vertical power structure, this killing looks like a provocation aimed at the Kremlin. It would seem that Ivanov and the FSB should have nailed the killer, but as time passed, the investigation was getting nowhere.

Then suddenly, a year later, an ordinary killer, who was in a Ryazan prison for another crime, confessed to a prison informant that he rubbed out Klimov.

What does all of this mean? There is the law and there is justice. There is also the primordial feeling of camaraderie: We protect our own.

In the United States, when a police officer is murdered, the killer is brought to justice. Everything is done to show that killing a police officer will not go unpunished. In Russia, however, things are handled differently because the siloviki are running the show. Their code of honor demands that "we protect our own."

The Andrei Lugovoi matter illustrates this principle. But when the authorities protect Lugovoi, they are really only protecting themselves -- especially after Lugovoi became a public figure holding news conferences and interviews, shouting, "Here I am!" Had he remained a little-known figure, who knows what would have happened to him?

And they betray with pleasure those who are considered disposable. Ex-FSB General Anatoly Trofimov was killed, but the investigation died away on its own. Roman Tsepov, President Vladimir Putin's former head of security in St. Petersburg, was poisoned and the investigation into this crime also faded into oblivion. And after Klimov -- one of their own -- was killed, the reaction was, "We don't give a damn."

What happened here? Maybe the people in charge of the Klimov affair did not want to be overly distracted by the investigation. Time is money, after all, and everyone has to make some dough. Who gives a damn if the whole case falls apart in court?

The siloviki's code of honor is much like the Chechens' code of honor -- the unconditional protection of their own and the manipulation of others if it is necessary. They save their own but betray and frame agents who are recruited with the help of dirty tricks and money.

Considering the current psychology of the siloviki, who are busy with their own business affairs and tricking or framing others, the concept of "our own" has shrunk to mean one person -- oneself. Everybody else falls into the category of "disposable agents," who can be tricked, framed or discarded.

Today there is no such thing as "our own" people. The concept of "our own" has relevance only for Swiss bank accounts, and everything else is expendable. The vermin think only about making a lot of money and don't care about great Russia, the power and influence of which they measure in direct proportion to the quantity of money stashed away in their private accounts.

In the end, the so-called Great Power Vertical wasn't able to catch Klimov's killers -- even when they fortuitously fell into the hands of the police. Nor was it able to carry out a criminal investigation professionally or present a convincing case to the jury.

Yulia Latynina hosts a political talk show on Ekho Moskvy radio.