Wednesday, November 26, 2014
 
Follow sptimesonline on Facebook Follow sptimesonline on Twitter Follow sptimesonline on RSS Download APP
MOST READ



PARTNER NEWS



BLOGS



OPINION



WHERE TO GO?

19th Century Portraits

History of St. Petersburg Museum: Rumyantsev Mansion

 

  Print this article Print this article

Too Many Exceptions to Be a Rule

Published: December 29, 2006 (Issue # 1234)


The authorities in the Chita Region are investigating the murder of Federal Security Service, or FSB, Captain Alexander Ovsyannikov. Truth is, there is nothing to investigate: Men involved in illegal logging beat Ovsyannikov to death after he arrived at their site in his own car and demanded they produce the necessary documents for their timber.

After they had killed him, the lumberjacks took his body to the village of Zhimbiry and burned it in a haystack. They then went home. Two days later, they were detained and Ovsyannikovs pistol and car were found in their possession.

What is unclear about these otherwise run-of-the-mill events is why Ovsyannikov would drive to the site alone, and in his own car?

This is not how you go about catching criminals. In these situations you get a warrant and arrive in a group of security personnel in official vehicles.

If Ovsyannikov arrived alone in his own car, but carrying his badge, then he was most likely on private business: He was either running a protection racket at the logging site or was trying to cut in on somebody elses. Something must have gone wrong in his conversation with the drunken lumberjacks.

If this is the case, it is also, unfortunately, a pretty run-of-the-mill occurrence.

On the morning of Sept. 1, 2004, police officer Sultan Gurazhev stopped a tanker truck on a country road near the North Ossetian village of Khurikau. According to prosecutors, Gurazhev stopped the truck to check the drivers documents. In the vehicle, as we now know, were terrorists on their way to Beslan. They purportedly disarmed Gurazhev and shoved him back into his car, forcing him to drive ahead of the truck to provide safe passage.

But why did Gurazhev approach the truck in the first place? Did he think there were terrorists inside? Was he planning to collar them single-handedly? Did he suppose they were transporting illegal oil?

It is not standard practice for a single officer to stop a tanker truck. The only thing he could do in such an instance was to ask for a bribe. Many of the villagers saw Gurazhev and the truck drive directly past Khurikau. Gurazhevs family was not alarmed to see him escorting the truck. There is only one possible explanation: They thought he was doing something ordinary, providing an escort for a truck transporting something.

Two months after the murder of Paul Klebnikov, the editor of Forbes magazines Russian edition, Moscow Police Chief Vladimir Pronin reported a breakthrough in the case. According to Pronin, two Chechens Aslan Sagayev and Kazbek Elmurzayev were involved in the murder. The two were arrested later, after they took Dagestani policeman turned businessman Akhmed-Pasha Aliyev hostage. Aliyev had apparently run up a huge debt to the pair. Police operatives listening in on the hostage takers telephone conversations concluded that Aliyev was in danger and rescued him.

Everything would have been fine were it not for the freed mans testimony. According to Aliyev, he was abducted not by Chechens, but by three FSB officers, Roman Slivkin, Oleg Sachkov and Dmitry Frolov. The three sold some land to Aliyev, and then abducted him when he failed to pay off his debt. They then sold Aliyev to the Chechens, with whom they were already acquainted.

Slivkin even ended up in court, but the charges were dismissed in November. Apparently the abduction and sale of a human being is not a crime.

Ovsyannikov, Gurazhev and Slivkin all got some unlucky breaks, running up against drunken criminals, Beslan terrorists and a former police officer who didnt like being taken hostage, respectively.

All of these cases appear to be exceptions to the rule. But when the exceptions get to be this common, you have to start wondering what the rule is in the first place.

Yulia Latynina is host of a political talk show on Ekho Moskvy radio.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Nov. 26


AmChams Public Relations Committee will meet this afternoon in their office in the New St. Isaacs Office Center on Ulitsa Yakubovicha at 4 p.m.


Zoosphere, an international exhibition focusing on the pet industry, opens today at the Lenexpo convention center on Vasilievsky Island. Not only will items such as toys, terrariums and accessories be available for purchase, but animal enthusiasts can also learn about the latest in veterinary medicine and behavioral training thanks to the conferences and presentations that are part of the event.



Thursday, Nov. 27


The Customs and Transportation Committee for AmCham meets this morning at 9 a.m. in their office on Ulitsa Yakubovicha.


Tickets are still available for local KHL team SKA St. Petersburgs showdown with Siberian club Metallurg Novokuznetsk tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the Ice Palace outside the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. Tickets can be purchased on the teams website, at the arena box office or in their merchandise store on Nevsky Prospekt.


Celebrate one of Russian literatures most tragic figures during Blok Days, a two-day celebration of the 134th anniversary of the poets birthday. The tragic tenors work, which led to writer Maxim Gorky to hail him as Russias greatest living poet before his death in 1921, will be recited and meetings and discussions about his contributions to the Silver Age of literature in St. Petersburg will be discussed in the confines of his former residence.



Friday, Nov. 28


Join table game aficionados at the British Book Centers Board Game Evening. Held every Friday at 5 p.m., aficionados and amateurs alike can come take part in a variety of different games that test ones intellect and cunning.



Saturday, Nov. 29


Cats, dogs, birds, rodents and reptiles are just some of the things that will walk and crawl at Lenexpo convention center this weekend as part of Zooshow, a two-day exhibition featuring not only mans best friends but a four-legged fashion show, as well as a food fair that will help pet owners find out more about which kibbles are best for their hungry pets.



Sunday, Nov. 30


Remember the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Russo-Finnish war in 1939 during todays reenactment titled Winter War: How it Was. More than 200 people will take part in recreating the opening salvoes of the battle for the north in Kamenka, a small village situated between Vyborg and St. Petersburg, using authentic equipment and vintage vehicles from the era. The faux battle begins at 2 p.m.



Monday, Dec. 1


Serbia filmmaker Emir Kusturica is the featured guest this evening at the Lensovet Palace of Culture the Petrograd Side. Fans of the director will get the chance to watch his movie Black Cat, White Cat, as well as ask questions about his award-winning filmography. Tickets for the event, which starts at 7 p.m., start at 2,000 rubles ($42.50).



Tuesday, Dec. 2


Today is the final day of Takoy Festival, a three-week program of plays based on the works of Dostoevsky, Remarque and other famed European writers, whose work is transcribed for theatrical performances. Tonights festival finale is Fathers and Sons, a two-act drama staged by the Novosibirsk Academic Drama Theater based on Turgenevs classic about familial relations.



Times Talk