Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) was after the assassination of former Chechen field commander Zelimkhan Hangoshvili in August 2019, Bellingcat, The Insider, and Der Spiegel claim in their investigation. As reported earlier, an alleged performer was arrested.
According to the journalists, 54-year-old Russian citizen Vadim Krasikov, who came to Berlin under an alias (Vadim Sokolov) and killed Hangoshvili, had been trained at the bases of FSB special forces. In addition, he stayed in touch with the veterans of the FSB unit Vympel.
Between March and August, Krasikov had repeatedly called some members of the Vympel veteran association, including its director Eduard Bendersky. The latter is believed to be a person within the circle of Alexander Tikhonov, Head of the FSB Special Forces Centre
In February-August, Krasikov visited the Centre’s base (military unit Nr 35690) eight times.
“He trained in the territory of the unit on August, 8 last, i.e. just a few days before being sent to Europe and committing the murder,” the investigative report reads.
Moreover, Krasikov was spotted in the headquarters of the FSB Anti-Terrorism Centre.
“There is every indication that the murder was orchestrated from the very centre; it was authorised by at least top FSB officials; more than likely, the Kremlin also gave their approval,” Bellingcat analyst Khristo Grozev told RFE/RL.
In December, Germany expelled two Russian ambassadors claiming the duo might have had some connection to the crime. The German authorities laid the blame on Moscow for not providing any assistance in the investigation of the crime. In turn, the Russian Foreign Ministry considers the accusations to be ‘groundless’.