A chance for a jailed reporter. Putin wants the secret squad killer back

A chance for a jailed reporter. Putin wants the secret squad killer back
A chance for a jailed reporter. Putin wants the secret squad killer back
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Krasikov, a Russian citizen with ties to the Russian FSB security service, was arrested by German troops in Berlin in 2019. On Putin’s orders, he murdered the exiled Chechen commander Zelimkhan Changoshvili on a bicycle and with a silenced weapon in a busy park there. He then threw the pistol into the Spree River near the seat of the German Parliament.

When the police caught the bomber, they found a passport with the name Vadim Sokolov. But the authorities quickly came to the conclusion that the real name of the arrested person is Vadim Krasikov and he is the main suspect in the 2013 murder of the owner of a restaurant in Moscow. At that time, he allegedly killed the victim in a similar way, when he shot the victim twice with a pistol and fled the scene on a bicycle.

According to the BBC, in a recent interview with American journalist Tucker Carlson, Russian President Putin confirmed that the Kremlin is seeking the release of “patriot” Krasikov. And in exchange for him, he should offer the American Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who was detained in Russia last year on charges of espionage, but which he and the American government reject.

Gershkovich is not the only American in a Russian prison detained by Moscow on politically motivated charges. He names, for example, former US Marine Paul Whelan and US-Russian citizen Alsa Kurmasheva. Allegedly, even according to earlier information, they could also play a role in the exchange for Krasikov.

According to the BBC, which refers to an ally of the late Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, the plans for the exchange of prisoners included the name of the imprisoned Navalny. After the Russian presidential election, Putin reportedly said he agreed to exchange Navalny for “some people” detained in the West. However, according to the White House, there was never any such exchange.

If Putin’s plan to exchange detained Americans for the “Berlin killer” Krasikov goes ahead, he will seek the cooperation of the US, Germany and Russia.

Why Krasikov is important

According to German investigators, Vadim Krasikov belonged to the highly classified Vympel unit of the Russian secret service FSB, whose official mission is counter-terrorist operations at home, but carries out sabotage and murder abroad.

Although the Kremlin has denied involvement in the Berlin murder, for which a life sentence was imposed, according to the German prosecutor’s office, the involvement is clear. This is evidenced, for example, by the withdrawal of the arrest warrant for the Moscow murder in 2015 and the mysterious disappearance of Krasikov’s identity.

Vadim Sokolov, Krasikov’s new identity, received a passport in the same year and a tax identification number four years later. According to the German court, this could only happen with the consecration of the Kremlin.

According to Western observers, the murder of Chechen rebel commander Khangoshvili was part of a series of Moscow-ordered murders of Chechen exiles in Europe and the Middle East. Of course, Putin rejected this as a politically motivated claim, but he clearly stands very strongly for Krasikov’s return home.

The article is in Czech

Tags: chance jailed reporter Putin secret squad killer

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