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Who screwed up? Russia appoints a decorated investigator to head the probe into December's shootout at the FSB, where friendly fire may have cost a life

Source: Meduza
Emin Dzhafarov / Kommersant

General Uladi Uladiev has been placed in charge of the investigation into last month’s shootout at Lubyanka Square

Investigative Committee head Alexander Bastrykin has reportedly appointed Uladi Uladiev, a veteran of the agency, to head the team now studying the shootout outside the Federal Security Service’s Moscow headquarters on December 19, 2019. A source familiar with the probe and another individual inside the Investigative Committee confirmed this information to Meduza. A major crimes investigator, Uladiev reports directly to Bastrykin.

This is Uladi Uladiev’s first case since he was promoted to general. Uladiev was made a major general of justice only recently, on December 12, 2019. Before the promotion, he spent roughly 18 months as a senior major crimes investigator under Bastrykin (just 20 or so investigators in this position are made generals and listed in the agency’s special management as staff who are trusted to oversee the most complicated and high-profile cases). In July 2018, Uladiev was awarded the Order “For Merit to the Fatherland,” II class.

Uladiev’s past investigations include the case against former Komi Governor Vyacheslav Gaizer, who was arrested in 2015 on corruption charges. A year later, he oversaw the probe into the deaths of 14 children who died at Lake Syamozero when a storm hit their summer camp. In October 2018, Uladiev charged Interior Ministry investigator Anton Khodko with embezzling 52 million rubles ($846,560) from assets seized from one of the suspects in the “Spetsstroy” case. In 2015, Uladiev led the investigative team in one of the cases against the neo-Nazi Maxim Martsinkevich, known by his nickname “Hatchet” (Tesak). 

Investigators are tasked with figuring out who exactly killed one of the slain FSB officers

Agents from the FSB’s anti-terrorism department are also part of the investigation into the December 19 shootout, a source in law enforcement told Meduza. At the same time, the case hasn’t been classified as a terrorist attack, and the authorities are still treating it as an attempt on the lives of law-enforcement officers. 

The website Fontanka previously reported that Evgeny Manyurov (the gunman’s suspected identity) may have been a member of an ultra-right group. According to the neo-Nazi Dmitry “Schultz” Bobrov, FSB agents came to his home on December 20 and asked questions about the “Ethnic National Association” and its supposed ties to Manyurov. The nationalist group has denied any connections to the shooter. The newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets says Manyurov is also being investigated for involvement in the bombing of a vegetable store in Podolsk, where he lived. When searching Manyurov’s home, the authorities found paraphernalia from the pro-Kremlin “National Liberation Movement.”

Based on footage from the December 19 shootout, Meduza concluded that at least one of the two people killed and five people wounded in the gunfire was shot after Manyurov was killed. A source in law enforcement told Meduza that the friendly-fire victim was a man in civilian clothes who later succumbed to his injuries. According to Moskovsky Komsomolets, both fatalities were FSB agents. One of these men served in the FSB’s headquarters and was posted in a traffic police officer’s uniform, and the other exited the HQ building on the day of the shooting. A source told Meduza that this latter individual worked in the third service of the agency’s Internal Security Directorate, which oversees operations at regional FSB branches.

The FSB has suspended the agents whose leaked video footage helped Meduza partially reconstruct the events of December 19, and these officers will likely lose their jobs, according to sources in the FSB. The disciplinary action concerns the two best-known videos of the shooting: one recorded by officers in the FSB’s “Department P” Economic Security Service, and another by staff who were inside the FSB’s Border Service building. The latter footage shows a man being injured by gunfire and falling to the ground after the FSB’s shooter was killed.

Eyewitness videos from the Lubyanka Square shooting as analyzed by Meduza. Two of the videos were taken from the Telegram-based news outlet Baza, and the third is from the YouTube channel Linia Oborony (Line of Defense).
Meduza Project

Based on the video, before his death, the man was separated from a group of armed individuals dressed in black and left under the overhang of the building on Furasovsky Lane across from the FSB HQ main compound. Judging by the footage from the “Department P” agents and their off-screen commentary, it was these men in black who opened fire on the shooter.

Journalists have accused the FSB of violating their rights. So far, the agency has ignored these complaints entirely. Baza correspondent Anna Nikitina has filed a report with the Investigative Committee, alleging that she was attacked by one of the officers who searched the shooter’s apartment. She supposedly upset a team of FSB agents by beating them to Manyurov’s home, where he lived together with his mother. At the scene of the shootout, a day later, an unidentified plainclothes police officer verbally assaulted Kommersant correspondent Roman Dorofeev, before the reporter was arrested.

Story by Maxim Solopov

Translation by Kevin Rothrock

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