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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Naming FSB Sources And Measuring Trust

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In response to "The Jason Bourne of Russia," a column by Yulia Latynina on April 29.


I can't help but respond to Latynina's vitriolic attack in her Moscow Times column regarding my article that appeared in The Independent. She takes issue with a long story I published the previous week about an Interior Ministry operative and a Russian-British playwright. As the last sentence of my story admits, "the case throws up far more questions than it answers."

Several months of investigation and interviews, a trip to the courthouse and long nights reading court documents led me to draw some tentative conclusions and offer up some possible questions. Latynina, on the other hand, is happy to rely on "a story told to me by acquaintances from Makhachkala 1 1/2 years ago" that apparently completely destroys my story and sets the fact straight.

When Latynina quotes a passage from my story, she inserts words that were never there and omits the clause "It is impossible to know" at the beginning of one quoted sentence, giving it the opposite meaning to my original.

Finally, she also writes that the Interior Ministry operative was an "FSB major." According to the court documents, a stamped and signed letter from his former employer, the information given to me by his friends and his testimony, he worked not for the FSB but for the Interior Ministry. Presumably, Latynina's acquaintances in Makhachkala are better informed.

Shaun Walker

People Still Trust Putin

In response to "Over Half Of Russians Slam State's Direction," a Moscow Times article on May 4.


The Moscow Times wrote that the number of Russians thinking that the country is moving in a positive direction fell to 43 percent in April, down from 59 percent last May. It also hints at a significant loss of trust in the president and prime minister.

But I would note that the 43 percent who think that the country is following a positive direction is still larger than the 36 percent who think that it is following a negative one.

Second, the lower ratings for President Dimitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin are in line with their historical norms. Their slight fall over the past months was probably a result of the cooling down of fervor after the Georgia war in August rather than any underlying loss of trust.

Anatoly Karlin
San Francisco