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‘Bellingcat’ lead investigator publishes database on travel history of FSB operatives implicated in Navalny poisoning

Evgeny Feldman for “Meduza”

Just weeks after the release of his team’s bombshell joint investigation linking Alexey Navalny’s poisoning to Russian intelligence operatives, Bellingcat’s lead researcher Christo Grozev has published a database of information on the travel history of the FSB agents implicated in the assassination attempt. In the hours after the database was made public, journalists began identifying possible leads. Grozev also noted that two trips have been redacted from the database, so as not to affect already ongoing investigations.

Christo Grozev, the lead investigator for the website Bellingcat, has released a database of information on the travel history of the alleged FSB operatives implicated in the poisoning of Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny. The spreadsheet, which was made public on Thursday, December 31, is available on Google Sheets.

The database includes information on dates of travel, departure and arrival locations, as well as flight and train numbers. All total, it contains the travel history of ten people, eight of whom appeared in Bellingcat and The Insider’s original joint investigation into Navalny’s poisoning. The other two individuals are employees of the FSB Criminalistics Institute: Vasily Kalashnikov (who federal agent Konstantin Kudryavtsev mentioned among the participants in the operation during his conversation with Navalny) and Dmitry Lazarevich (whose alleged role in the poisoning is not specified). 

In total, the database contains information on 565 trips, most of which (158) were made by FSB operative Ivan Osipov, a medical doctor by training who also uses the cover name Ivan “Spiridonov.” 

Grozev announced his plans to release the database on Wednesday, December 30, noting that data on two trips that are currently the subject of an ongoing investigation would be redacted from the file. Grozev explained that disclosing this information early could jeopardize ongoing work.

Immediately after the database was made public, photojournalist Evgeny Feldman wrote on Twitter that he had found at least 10 trips that FSB officers had made to cities where Navalny was campaigning in 2017. According to Feldman, who was a photographer for Navalny’s presidential campaign at the time, the FSB operatives were in these cities on the same days as the opposition figure during the period from January to December of that year.

Christo Grozev was the lead researcher in the joint investigation into Navalny’s poisoning that was conducted by Bellingcat, The Insider, CNN, and Der Spiegel. The journalistic investigation implicated operatives from a special FSB sub-unit linked to the agency’s Criminalistics Institute in attempting to kill Navalny with a Novichok-type nerve agent. The journalists behind the investigation identified the federal agents involved by analyzing call metadata and flight records. 

Navalny later shared a video revealing that he himself had managed to fool one of the federal agents identified in the “Bellingcat” investigation into detailing the Kremlin’s poisoning operation.

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