From Kivelidi to Navalni, 25 years of murder with chemical weapons in Russia

He modus operandi to eliminate uncomfortable characters for the Kremlin with chemical agents as Novichok has not changed since it was used for the first time against the banker Ivan Kivelidi in 1995 and for the last time against the opposition Alexei Navalni in 2020, according to the lawyer Boris Kuznetsov, persecuted by the Russian secret services.

“The secret services eliminate people undesirable to the regime. Kivelidi was dangerous. The same happened with (double agent Sergei) Skripal and now with Navalni“Kuznetsov, exiled in Latvia, told Efe.

Kuznetsov knows what he is talking about, since he has in his possession the toxicological material of the first known case of Novichok use in Russian territory, a story that he has captured in one of the chapters of a still unpublished book that he sent to Efe.

Navalni, a link in the same chain

That’s why, as soon as he found out about Navalni’s poisoning, the first thing he did was contact the Charité clinic in Berlin where the opponent was admitted after slipping into a coma last August in Siberia.

“To begin with, I handed over the documents to the Charité doctors because I thought they could help cure Navalni,” said the lawyer, who defended the main defendant against the banker’s poisoning.

Son 17 documents with forensic, medical, chemical and toxicological expertise about the symptoms of Kivelidi disease, the sequelae in the victim’s body and even the chemical formula of Novichok.

Against Navalni they used a perfected Novichok. Well, he wasn’t called Novichok then, that name was only known in 2018 when Skripal was poisoned, “he explains.

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Precisely, after the attack on Skripal in Salisbury (southern England), Kuznetsov contacted one of the Soviet chemists who participated in the development of Novichok, Vil Mirzayánov, who confirmed from his exile in the US that the substance used against Kivelidi and the former agent was the same.

Alliance FBS and organized crime

Kuznetsov, who also represented the interests of the murdered Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya at the hands of a Chechen commando, believes that all these operations are related and lead to the Federal Security Service (FSB, former KGB).

“The alliance between the secret services, organized crime and the Chechens has been strengthened in recent years,” he says.

The lawyer recalls that Skripal collaborated with the Spanish authorities in the framework of the investigation of criminal groups from St. Petersburg and other Russian cities.

“AND Litvinenko also collaborated with Spanish researchers, although with him they did not use Novichok, but Polonio “, it indicates, on the murder in 2006 in London of the old spy of the KGB.

According to the lawyer, one of those implicated in Kivelidi’s murder served in the same KGB department as Andrei Lugovoi, the main suspect in Litvinenko’s murder.

“Nothing surprises me anymore. I worked for 20 years in the Russian penal system. Now there is no doubt that criminals are sitting in front of the country and the methods they use are also criminal, “he said.

Novichok’s Original Sin

The murder of Kivelidi, one of the pioneers of free enterprise in this country, was, according to Kuznetsov and the independent Russian press, “the first use case of Novichok against a person in the history of Russia.”

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He was a very influential person among Russian businessmen and bankers. He could influence the authorities of that time against criminals, “he highlights.

The liberal Kivelidi, who had political ambitions, turned to then-president Boris Yeltsin to crack down on the growing influence of organized crime, and threatened a private bank strike.

The chemist “Leonid Rink confirmed during interrogation that a military toxic agent was used against Kivelidi on the basis of phosphorus that influences the nervous system, “he pointed out.

Rink, whom the lawyer considers a collaborator of the FSB, was sentenced to a suspended sentence for, according to the lawyer, “synthesizing” the Novichok coinciding with the disintegration of the Soviet Union (1991) and selling it to the banker’s assassins.

“He should be in prison. He synthesized the Novichok with which Kivelidi was poisoned. It was established by the courts, “underlines Kuznetsov, who highlights that the official Russian press uses Rink as an expert to refute all accusations about the mere existence of Novichok – which Moscow insistently denies – and the use of chemical agents against the enemies of the Kremlin. .

Kuznetsov, who maintains that Putin has it sworn to him since he defended the sailors killed in the sinking of the atomic submarine Kursk (2000), denounces in his book that, despite having promised to eliminate its chemical arsenal, Russia continued to develop “Novichok” after the fall of the USSR.

In addition, it warns that since then hundreds of doses of said “weapon of mass destruction” have ended up in the hands of criminal groups.

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