Back and Unbowed 22

It is good to be blogging again. Many thanks to everyone for your tremendous support while I was down, and especially all those bloggers who protested against this censorship, achieved just by the layout of cash, with nothing being tested in court. I have still had no contact at any time from Usmanov or the shysters of Schillings.

We are back on We hope that will be back too very soon. I have a plan for dealing with Usmanov and getting this matter into court, but am holding fire for a couple of days until we get the address back, where most people look for me. Meanwhile anyone remember this?

Alisher Usmanov, potential Arsenal* chairman, is a Vicious Thug,

Criminal, Racketeer, Heroin Trafficker and Accused Rapist

by Craig Murray

I thought I should make my views on Alisher Usmanov quite plain to you.

You are unlikely to see much plain talking on Usmanov elsewhere in the

media becuase he has already used his billions and his lawyers in a

pre-emptive strike. They have written to all major UK newspapers,

including the latter:

“Mr Usmanov was imprisoned for various offences under the old Soviet

regime. We wish to make it clear our client did not commit any of the

offences with which he was charged. He was fully pardoned after

President Mikhail Gorbachev took office. All references to these

matters have now been expunged from police records . . . Mr Usmanov

does not have any criminal record.”

Let me make it quite clear that Alisher Usmanov is a criminal. He was

in no sense a political prisoner, but a gangster and racketeer who

rightly did six years in jail. The lawyers cunningly evoke “Gorbachev”,

a name respected in the West, to make us think that justice prevailed.

That is completely untrue.

Usmanov’s pardon was nothing to do with Gorbachev. It was achieved

through the growing autonomy of another thug, President Karimov, at

first President of the Uzbek Soviet Socilist Republic and from 1991

President of Uzbekistan. Karimov ordered the “Pardon” because of his

alliance with Usmanov’s mentor, Uzbek mafia boss and major

international heroin overlord Gafur Rakimov. Far from being on

Gorbachev’s side, Karimov was one of the Politburo hardliners who had

Gorbachev arrested in the attempted coup that was thwarted by Yeltsin

standing on the tanks outside the White House.

Usmanov is just a criminal whose gangster connections with one of the

World’s most corrupt regimes got him out of jail. He then plunged into

the “privatisation” process at a time when gangster muscle was used to

secure physical control of assets, and the alliance between the Russian

Mafia and Russian security services was being formed.

Usmanov has two key alliances. he is very close indeed to President

Karimov, and especially to his daughter Gulnara. It was Usmanov who

engineered the 2005 diplomatic reversal in which the United States was

kicked out of its airbase in Uzbekistan and Gazprom took over the

country’s natural gas assets. Usmanov, as chairman of Gazprom

Investholdings paid a bribe of $88 million to Gulnara Karimova to

secure this. This is set out on page 366 of Murder in Samarkand.

Alisher Usmanov had risen to chair of Gazprom Investholdings because of

his close personal friendship with Putin, He had accessed Putin through

Putin’s long time secretary and now chef de cabinet, Piotr Jastrzebski.

Usmanov and Jastrzebski were roommates at college.

Gazprominvestholdings is the group that handles Gazproms interests

outside Russia, Usmanov’s role is, in effect, to handle Gazprom’s

bribery and sleaze on the international arena, and the use of gas

supply cuts as a threat to uncooperative satellite states.

Gazprom has also been the tool which Putin has used to attack internal

democracy and close down the independent media in Russia. Gazprom has

bought out – with the owners having no choice – the only independent

national TV station and numerous rgional TV stations, several radio

stations and two formerly independent national newspapers. These have

been changed into slavish adulation of Putin. Usmanov helped accomplish

this through Gazprom. The major financial newspaper, Kommersant, he

bought personally. He immediately replaced the editor-in-chief with a

pro-Putin hack, and three months later the long-serving campaigning

defence correspondent, Ivan Safronov, mysteriously fell to his death

from a window.

All this, both on Gazprom and the journalist’s death, is set out in

great detail here:

Usmanov is also dogged by the widespread belief in Uzbekistan that he

was guilty of a particularly atrocious rape, which was covered up and

the victim and others in the know disappeared. The sad thing is that

this is not particularly remarkable. Rape by the powerful is an

everyday hazard in Uzbekistan, again as outlined in Murder in Samarkand

page 120. If anyone has more detail on the specific case involving

Usmanov please add a comment.

I reported back in 2002 or 2003 in an Ambassadorial top secret telegram

to the Foreign Office that Usmanov was the most likely favoured

successor of President Karimov as totalitarian leader of Uzbekistan. I

also outlined the Gazprom deal (before it happened) and the present by

Usmanov to Putin (though in Jastrzebski’s name) of half of Mapobank, a

Russian commercial bank owned by Usmanov. I will never forget the

priceless reply from our Embassy in Moscow. They said that they had

never even heard of Alisher Usmanov, and that Jastrzebski was a jolly

nice friend of the Ambassador who would never do anything crooked.

Sadly, I expect the football authorities will be as purblind. Football

now is about nothing but money, and even Arsenal supporters – as

tight-knit and homespun a football community as any – can be heard

saying they don’t care where the money comes from as long as they can

compete with Chelsea*.

I fear that is very wrong. Letting as diseased a figure as Alisher

Usmanov into your club can only do harm in the long term.

* I withdraw this – the majority of Arsenal fans turn out to have values that shame supporters at many other clubs.

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22 thoughts on “Back and Unbowed

  • Rupert Read

    Craig; these new blogposts are as honest (and often as wonderfully funny) as ever; thanks; and 'see you around!'.


    (Cllr. Rupert Read, Norwich)

  • Jherad

    Welcome back Craig. Poetic that the sad efforts of Schillings have resulted in much greater publicity of your article than it would otherwise received. Good job!

  • Davide Simonetti

    Hi Craig,

    It's great to see you back on line and it's fantastic that the deplorable tactics of Usmanov and his team of shysters backfired so spectacularly. Well done to all the bloggers who helped.

  • arseblogger

    * I withdraw this – the majority of Arsenal fans turn out to have values that shame supporters at many other clubs.

    Excellent. Welcome back.

  • Trat Urug

    Also, you are the only individual who makes these claims that have been unfounded by many. It appears your claims are down to an axe you have to grind, like against Jack Straw and the Uzbekistan Government due to your removal.

  • Jherad

    @Trat Urug,

    If Craig is just someone with an 'axe to grind', Usmanov and his cronies will have no problem dealing with this openly in court, rather than threatening ISPs (instead of authors) in order to make the allegations disappear then right?

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Yes, most emphatically, it's great news that your site is up and running again – good on you – and disconcerting (to put it mildly) that a site can just be taken down in that manner. I'm not sure if it's connected in any way, maybe not, but my own site went down at the same time as yours and was down for around one week. I couldn't get access, the guy who set it up and who updates it for me couldn't either. Odd. As far as I know it's not on the same server, so there should be no connection. But it's never gone down before in the five or six years it's been up. It's probably coincidence, but when I found out that other sites had gone down, it got me thinking cyber-wise…

    Anyway, best wishes and glad you're back in virtuality!!


  • Trat Urug

    There is nothing to deal with in court because all Craig Murray has done, and I am sure he knows this, is write something that has defaming and demeaning information with no background.

    On most legal ground there is nothing to fight in court on this basis because it is just someone else shouting on the internet, so nobody will waste their time fighting a case against an article on the internet.

    I think Craig Murray should:

    a) offer evidence regarding this material he states which nobody else has stated. Only Craig Murray has stated.

    b) be objective about the Arsenal board. If he wishes to damn Usmanov with a baseless evidenceless past, he should do this against all board, members in this country including Abramovich, the Glazers, every board member in the UK.

    c) Write articles that do not have the cheek to insult arsenal fans.

    d) If he wishes to write articles that play on the sensitivies of individuals, as he has done with muslims, Arsenal fans in this case and in the past with individuals of Amnesty international, give us evidence rather than using a cloak and dagger and smoke and mirrors technique.

    I don't believe any of it and I think Craig Murray just wants a large number of people, who are sensitive, to fight his own problems as those he appears to have personally created in the Middle East.

  • Expathos

    A) Asking Craig to provide evidence prior to any legal proceedings is ridiculous (as is most of this pathetic drivel posing as a 'comment'). One – some of the sources could be sensitive. Remember Murray was the U.K. Ambassador to Uzbekistan and had access to the intelligence on the country and all its players. Why should he have to provide it to you? To satisfy your little comment rant? Secondly – then I suppose you feel that all journalists should have to give up their sources before anything should be published in the press. Well… sadly Saadi, that's not going to happen. There would not be a healthy press without some measure of protection and anonymity for whistleblowers and sources.

    B)I don't think this is even worth a response but here we go. You mean Craig should analyze and critique EVERY board and Every board member in the U.K.? Well why not make it every board member of every football team in Europe? Or the World? Or even better, Murray should be expected to interview every footballer (or even aspiring ones like me) in order to create a large enough research palate to satisfy you. Get real. He's the expert on Uzbekistan. He's got more on Usmanov than probably anyone. And I dare say – most courts would recognize Murray as an expert witness on the region and its players.

    c)Oh it's all about the club. Boo Hoo. He insulted me… Waahh…

    d)And now comes more ad Hominem – with claims that Murray is somehow insensitive to Muslims. Right – like he does not mind if the US and UK used Uzbekistan as a proxy torture zone and pit stop for them to gleefully torture muslims shipped in by the planeload by the CIA and not say anything about it. By the way have you read Murder in Samarkand?

  • arseblogger

    Trat Urug = Arsenal Muse/contributor to Arsenal Mailing List who has been staunchly defending Usmanov for weeks.

    Go read his site and if you can make any sense of it you get a gold star.

  • Merlin

    Dear Craig

    Good to see you back!

    It's unfortunate that some of the commentators here seem to have a limited understanding of the issues: when the super-rich can threaten neutral third parties to remove content while being unwilling to face down accusations in open court that is a direct threat to free speech, which is something we are supposed to enjoy here in the UK.

    Good luck!

  • JCS

    Great that the site is back. The older ones amongst us may remember someone else who took an interest in football clubs, and used the threat of the British laws on defamation to quell criticism. I'm referring to the late Robert Maxwell – maybe if that criticism could have got through more widely he would not have been able to get away with dubious financial transactions for so long. Don't forget the laws on defamation only protect the super rich (since they can afford the lawyers). I hope whatever Craig has in mind works out.

  • johnf

    Robert Maxwell.

    And wouldn't it be worth pointing out to all fans of Russian nomenklatura getting mixed up with English soccer – where Oxford United presently are in the league?

  • underblog

    Welcome back Craig.

    I would just like to say in this public forum that Alisher Usmanov has a chronic testicle deficiency.

    Note to Schillings: Figuratively speaking, of course. Hiding behind sabre-rattling but ultimately incompetent lawyers surely signals a lack of what George W. Bush calls "cohones".

  • Bananas in the Falkl

    I do hope your supplier dumped (your old hoster) and moved to a better provider (somebody with a backbone).

    I don't like censorship and while usually not into diplomatic tales I read your book from the library – fascinating.

    Bananas in the Falklands.

  • Moses

    To: Mr Murray

    from: Moses

    subject: Alisher Usmonov

    Hi, my name is Muzaffar, i'm Uzbek and I have a comment on your views about ALisher Usmanov.

    Being a BSW(social work) student and most of all, a resident of Uzbekitan, I strongly disagree with most of your points since they're all biased and even fabricated, you don't seem to have any credible arguments or facts agains Mr Usmanov. NOW, Just think about it – the whole world is just like that, i mean everything is all about business, take the US 4xample; the war in Iraq is all about geopolitical influence and oil in the first place. And DO YOU KNOW that some of the HUGE US corporation leaders have always had ties with MAFIA, they still do, and will always influence US policies overseas, right. Chelsea for example, is now of the finest world clubs due to Russian investments. Every other UK resident wants to greet Mr. Abramamovich in person. As for our country however, we have had tremendous changes by now brought about by foreign investments and particularly due to Alisher Usmonov's policies. The situation is way better since the time you, SIR, were kicked out of this country because of your immoral behaviour with Uzbekistani prostitutes. how can you claim he is a criminal if you can't even prove his guilt, what you said above are just nothing but rumors.

    You, Mr. Murray, are the one to be refered to as criminal and charged with SEXUAL DEPRAVITY or even a harrasment since you were hanging out with underage non adult females at Tashkent nightclubs, namely SKY CLUB, while you were working as a British ambassador in Uzbekistan. You organized round table with bunch of idiots whose minds you could easily manipulate with your democracy propoganda and lost your job as a result. why don't you think broadly about Central Asia from now on. P.S. life never stays the same and people like Alisher Usmanov are the ones to make a REAL DIFFERENCE, but never people like you SIR !!!!

    Happy New year once again

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