Anatoly Trofimov, a former Colonel-General who headed the FSB’s Moscow region during the Yeltsin presidency, was assassinated on Sunday. His wife died in hospital today of her injuries.
The most widely circulated motivation for his killing is his business dealings – he controlled a number of security firms, a notably dangerous industry in Russia today.
Some, though, believe that former FSB Generals are too influential to be killed over mere business feuds, and that higher forces were at work.
A former top FSB officer, Alexander Litvinenko, was quoted as saying the killing must have been political.
"In today’s Russia, not one businessman under any
circumstances would raise their hand against a general of the FSB,"
said Mr Litvinenko, quoted by the Associated Press.
I’m not entirely convinced by this argument, I have to say. Trofimov didn’t retire – he was fired from his job in 1997. Although he probably still had many powerful friends within the FSB, times are changing rapidly. Today’s FSB owes little loyalty to a man fired almost a decade ago.
That isn’t to say, however, that political motivations weren’t behind the killing. (Oh, I do love to sit on the fence!) Who knows what information he picked up during his tenure in the FSB. I simply don’t think that people will be that intimidated by the prospect of killing a former FSB general if they think that the financial rewards are high enough. And, of course, if they think they can get away with it!
(Hat tip: Jarrod of East is East, West is West)