Berlin killer Krasikov served in special forces of FSB Vympel

Vadim Krasikov, also known as Vadim Sokolov, was arrested in Germany for the murder of Zelimkhan Hangoshvili
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He served in the FSB Vympel special forces and, together with two Vympel partners, participated in at least one more contract kill, in addition to the shooting of a businessman in Moscow, which we wrote about in the previous part of the investigation. The main version of the motive of the Berlin assassination is revenge for the participation of Khangoshvili in the Georgian war. And this is not the first time that the Russian special services arrange extrajudicial executions of participants in the Georgian war at the hands of criminals.

First kill. Open and closed

On April 4, 2007, at 11 pm in the small Karelian town of Kostomuksha, Alexander Kozlov came home from work to his brother Yuri, a 44-year-old entrepreneur and deputy of the city council. He didn’t find Yuri at the dacha, his car too, and at the place where she was usually parked, blood stains and traces of strangers were visible. Yuri’s phone didn’t answer. Alexander immediately went to the police. The next day, in the area of ​​the railway station, Yuri's car was found with signs of fighting and blood stains. A nearby witness claimed to have heard several shots. Further searches were unsuccessful and only on July 21, mushroom pickers discovered a body in a forest 15 km from the city towards the Finnish border. Relatives of Yuri Kozlov were able to identify him.

The motives for the murder were probably related to entrepreneurial activity, but the investigation officially failed to find out. But on April 19 - even before they found the remains - the investigators went on the trail of the killer. On this day, they requested information from the Ministry of Internal Affairs on Vadim Nikolaevich Krasikov.

It is noteworthy that now the information on this criminal case has been deleted from the IBD-R (integrated regional level data bank), it is only known that this was a case under Art. 105 of the Criminal Code (murder).

On November 20, 2014, two suspects were detained in this case. Here is what the brother of the murdered, Alexander Kozlov, tells about this:

“Of the three suspects in 2014, two were arrested - Oleg Vladimirovich Ivanov (born July 23, 1976, Pskov Region) and Vladimir Viktorovich Fomenko (born June 23, 1976, Voronezh Region). Krasikov was not found and put on the wanted list.

According to Ivanov and Fomenko, a trial began in Petrozavodsk on November 23, 2014, I attended the meetings, but the accused were released for lack of evidence. In 2015, they answered me that the case was taken away by the Department for Investigation of Particularly Important Cases of the Main Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of Russia, headed by Igor Viktorov, and then the case was suspended. True, I hope that in connection with the newly discovered circumstances, the case will be resumed.

At the trial, the defendants admitted that they came to Kostomuksha from Moscow, lived in a hotel and left, but did not admit that they had participated in the murder. The motives for the crime are also not officially established, but I think that it was related to the entrepreneurial activity of my brother.

They spoke little about Krasikov in court, since he was not detained. And the other two were united by the fact that they served in the FSB Vympel. I think that Krasikov was their colleague. Ivanov and Fomenko were awarded many awards - for courage, for valor and so on. Vympela veterans stood up for them at the trial and were ready to make a pledge to be released on bail.
In the court decision, it was written, for example, “Fomenko is a well-deserved defender of the fatherland, awarded many state awards, including the Order of Courage, the medal for the Order of Merit to the Fatherland” with swords, the medal “For Courage”, the Suvorov Medal, and the insignia “ For courage ”, the jubilee badge“ 30 years to the Vympel group ”, and was also awarded the nominal weapon - the Glock-100 pistol by the President of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan.

Why were they arrested only in 2014? My version: because they retired and turned into just veterans.

I am interested in the question of why Krasikov was removed from the wanted list. Now, in connection with his arrest in Berlin, I want to send a corresponding request to the UK. ”

The materials of the trial, which was attended by Alexander Kozlov, were to be posted on the website of the Petrozavodsk City Court. But neither by the number of the case, nor by the names of the accused, he can be found there.

And here is the most interesting coincidence: on June 26, 2015, Krasikov was officially removed from the federal wanted list and from the Interpol base, and after two and a few months, in September, he receives a national passport in the name of Vadim Sokolov.

The response, which the IC sent to Alexander Kozlov, says that the murder in Kostomuksha takes place as an episode in the criminal case of the murder committed by Krasikov in Moscow (about which The Insider has already written), and it was during the investigation of the Moscow case that Ivanov and Fomenko were arrested. This indicates that Krasikov was nevertheless detained in 2014 during the investigation of the murder in Moscow and probably began to testify about his other crimes (we know about Kostomuksha, but how many such episodes are unknown). One way or another, even for two murders he was threatened with life imprisonment. The motivation to collaborate with the authorities was high.

The fact that Krasikov served in Vympel along with two other accomplices in the Kostomyksh murder is indirectly confirmed by the fact that among his few flights there are trips to Kyrgyzstan, where Ivanov and Fomenko received their awards.

Killers in the public service

The case of Krasikov is not unique. We know at least one more example where the special services used a similar scheme for the recruitment of murderers, using law enforcement officers caught up in crimes.

In April 2019, the car of a military intelligence officer exploded. The officer was lucky - the bomb exploded in the hands of the killer, trying to install it. Both hands were torn off, but he survived. A self-detonation was recorded by a video camera (the fate of the dog that the killer led with him for cover is unknown):

The unsuccessful killer arrived in Ukraine according to documents addressed to Alexei Lomako, the passport indicated that he was born in 1983 in Kyrgyzstan.

As Bellingcat was able to find out, a person with that name never existed, in reality the killer was called Alexei Komarichev and he was a Russian citizen born in 1978 (a coincidence - and Krasikov had a fake identity 5 years older).

Komarichev began his career as an employee of the Federal Drug Control Service, but was caught on a bribe. The court decision was unusual - in addition to the prison term, he had to pay a fine of 48 million rubles. This is also quite a significant motivation for cooperation with the authorities.

On Komarichev’s phone, investigators found information about another “Kyrgyz”, which, as they soon established, was still in Ukraine. By the face, he managed to establish his real name - Timur Dzortov, a former commando from Dagestan who managed to work as the former personal guard of Yevkurov and ex-deputy head of the Ingushetia administration Timur Dzortov (the video of his confession The Insider has already published).

So the Dagestan Ruslan Dzortov turned into the Kyrgyz of Ruslan Kirik

According to Dzortov’s testimony, he, like Komarichev, was recruited by the GRU in 2017, who conducted several trainings with them on handling weapons, sabotage and the manufacture of explosives. Trainings took place in Moscow, Rostov and Donetsk. The task of both was the elimination of military counterintelligence officers. Before they tried to mount the explosives under the car, other methods of attack were planned - with a knife on the street (to make it look like an episode of street crime) and a gun kill. The GRU refused this plan when it became clear that it would not be easy to approach the target at the distance of the shot. The choice fell on the explosives under the machine.

It is curious that the information about Dzortov and Komarichev was also deleted from Russian databases, as happened with Krasikov.

Revenge for Georgia without statute of limitations

In a recent investigation, The New York Times described several more cases of murders that Russian intelligence services committed by criminals. In 2015, a Russian citizen Oleg Smorodinov with a criminal record and experience of participating in hostilities in the Donbass was recruited by Russian special services when he tried to join the Wagner PMC and go to Syria. Smorodinov did not get to Syria, instead he was sent to the Ukrainian city of Rivne, where he tracked down and killed an employee of the State Penetration Service.

Killer successfully left the country and returned to Russia to take a reward and get the next task, and everything could have ended well for him if he had not decided to make a sudden visit to Ukraine with his girlfriend to congratulate her on her birthday. Apparently, he himself told her about the murder - one way or another, she warned the police. When Smorodinov was arrested, he was found to have a list of 6 people and instructions for decrypting the messages he received from Moscow.

At first glance, all 6 people looked like random people. Nevertheless, they had one thing in common - they were consultants or volunteers in the Georgian army during the 2008 war.

As was the case with Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, even many years later, the Russian authorities continue to take revenge on citizens who somehow participated in the war on the side of Georgia. Moreover, in addition to the absence of a statute of limitations, this vendetta has one more peculiarity - extrajudicial executions are carried out by the hands of criminals.