Archive for April 3rd, 2012


Assassination attempts, Chechnya, Odessa the EU and oil prices

April 3, 2012

Well it seems that attempted assassinations of Russians and Chechens in London are making the news over in Blighty.

Not so long ago I wrote about the attempted assassination of German Gorbuntsov at Canary Wharf and now it seems MI5 are struggling to remove a Chechen of extremely dubious and nefarious background from London, who they believe is likely to be involved in a plot to assassinate Ahkmed Zakayev, (the self-appointed Prime Minister of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria) who has claimed asylum in London.

The MI5 court documents show the bizarre situation where two Chechen (Russian Federation) citizens have claimed asylum in London and one is believed to be involved in a plot to assassinate another.  It is extremely rare that MI5 court documents reach the public domain, so click on the link and have a read.  You will see once again Article 8 of the ECfHR is going head to head with national security concerns.  This time however, it is not a radical Islamic cleric who stands to benefit but a would-be conspirator in an assassination plot on UK soil.

Less we forget, not so very long ago two Chechens and a Russian either died or were detained in Odessa when they managed to blow up an apartment they were renting in the city.  Speculation about a would-be plot to assassinate Mr Putin emanates from Russia, Odessa authorities believe they were here to assassinate a high-flier from Odessa.

What is not in dispute is their nationalities, the explosion at their rented apartment in Odessa, the death of one in that explosion and the capture of two others, regardless of their intended target.

All of these things draws our attention to a more active Chechen insurgency with a growing inclination to act outside both Chechnya and the Russian Federation.  A cause for concern indeed but not one to get overly carried away with unless you happen to be a likely target.

However, I do wonder how long it will be before there is a change of tactics once again and these people decide that economic targeting will produce far more publicity and far more devastating results, that will incur far less loss of life (if any) but equally prove to have far less chance of detection and being caught at the time of any act or thereafter.

I am talking about huge sections of pipelines carrying oil and gas from Russia, across Ukraine and serving the EU.

Not only would ad hoc sabotage of these pipelines cause Russia and the EU major headaches if they were carried out often enough as far as energy supply is concerned (not to mention environmental damage), but it would also apply a huge amount of market pressure on Russian economics when market confidence becomes rattled.

Market confidence is a global issue when it comes to oil and thus nobody would escape the aftereffects should this ever happen.  The markets would expect strong and decisive action from Russia in Chechnya, humanitarian groups would be desperately waving the red warning flags over human rights when an undoubted crackdown came from Russia, but where the EU and US leaderships would sit is far harder to determine.  For certain national interests would far outweigh and human rights concerns when it comes to energy and oil.  Interests verses values once again (or realpolitik if you prefer).

Now we may all have our own thoughts about the effectiveness of Russian policy towards Chechen and other separatists regions in the Caucasus,  but this year alone there have now been at least 3 high profile nefarious incidents not only outside Chechnya but also outside the Russian Federation, so the policy of those who carry out such acts, either as a result of Russian policy or as a result of a change of policy by their own processes, would seem to have resulted in an expansion of high profile activity outside the traditionally reported theatre.

If policy is indeed changing, one wonders how long before acts against Russian economics and energy take precedents over current targeting methodology and what effects that will have on the EU and Ukraine in the process.  One hopes that the policy makers, spooks and international policing organisations whilst having a watchful eye on assassinations are also looking at the possibilities that can effect the larger picture.

A difficult situation for Russia and the Caucasus already.  A difficult situation for a much larger geographical area if both modus operandi, targeting and geographical theatres begin to change.

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