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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Investigator Criticizes Former Boss After Firing

A senior Investigative Committee official fired last month has accused his former boss, committee head Alexander Bastrykin, of opening high-profile criminal cases with little regard for the law.

In an interview published Friday in Moskovsky Komsomolets, Dmitry Dovgy, former head of the committee's main investigative directorate, said Bastrykin demanded that he open criminal cases against Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak and senior Federal Drug Control Service officer Alexander Bulbov.

Both cases are widely seen as closely connected to a battle for influence between powerful, competing clans close to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

It was the first time that Dovgy, who is pursuing legal action to win back his job, had publicly accused Bastrykin of misconduct. He said Bastrykin, acting on information fed to him by security services, ordered him to open the investigations into Storchak and Bulbov, despite Dovgy's insistence that the two men were innocent.

Dovgy, 42, had worked under Bastrykin at the Prosecutor General's Office since 2001 and risen to the rank of general major. He oversaw most of the committee's priority investigations, including the 2006 murder of investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya.

Dovgy was suspended from his job in March following an internal investigation in which he was suspected of demanding multimillion-dollar bribes from two businessmen in exchange for closing two criminal probes against them.

He was dismissed in April for purportedly disclosing confidential information about the Politkovskaya investigation to the media.

The Investigative Committee's press office declined to comment on Dovgy's interview Friday.

Analysts said publication of the interview could be either an attempt by Dovgy to protect himself from possible criminal charges following the probe into his purported bribe-taking.

In a less likely scenario, Dovgy's accusations could also signal that Bastrykin, a former university classmate of Putin, is on his way out, analysts said.

Andrei Soldatov, an expert on the security services with the Agentura think tank, said Bastrykin is on poor terms with President Dmitry Medvedev, who does not belong to the siloviki -- former security and law enforcement officers promoted to top government posts during Putin's presidency. Recent legislation pushed by Bastrykin and aimed at granting further powers to the Investigative Committee and weaken the influence of the Prosecutor General's Office has been stalled on its way to the State Duma after Medvedev's election in March, Soldatov said.