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Update on Investigation of Kholodov/Listyev Murders

(CPJ/IFEX) - Russian authorities have arrested a second suspect in the
October 1994
murder of investigative reporter Dmitry Kholodov and announced that they are
close to solving the March 1995 killing of Vladislav Listyev, a prominent
Russian Public Television (ORT) executive.

**Updates IFEX alerts of 20 February 1998, 3 May 1995 and 18 October 1994 -
for the Kholodov case; and 26 January 1996 and 2 March 1995 - for the
Listyev case**

On 26 February 1998, Russian prosecutors charged Major Vladimir Morozov, a
paratrooper, with plotting Kholodov's assassination, together with Col.
Pavel Popovskikh, a former intelligence chief for Russia's Airborne Troops,
who was arrested on 12 February 1998.

The 27-year-old Kholodov, who wrote extensively about high-level corruption
in the military for the popular daily "Moskovsky Komsomolets", was killed
when he opened a booby-trapped briefcase. He had received the briefcase from
a source who told him that the case contained secret documents exposing
corruption of Russia's top military brass.

On 2 March 1998, Prosecutor General Yuri Skuratov announced that
investigators had
made significant progress in their probe of another high-profile murder of a
journalist, Vladimir Listyev, who was fatally shot in front of his apartment
building on 1 March 1995. Skuratov spoke to journalists after reporting his
latest findings in the case to President Boris Yeltsin, who only days before
publicly criticized Skuratov for failing to solve the murders of Kholodov
and Listyev. Skuratov said investigators had found evidence abroad that
links the murder to Listyev's business activities rather than his
journalism. It was
widely believed by many of Listyev's colleagues that his alleged contract
killing was tied to his decision as executive director of the newly
reorganized ORT to reevaluate the company's policies on advertising a highly
lucrative, competitive and often corrupt industry in Russia.

Skuratov gave no details about the new evidence, gathered by his
investigators in Switzerland and 10 other countries, but he said it was of a
"criminal character" and that it "shed light on the mechanisms of business
that could have become motives for the murder." He also warned journalists
against drawing comparisons and analogies between Listyev's and Kholodov's

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