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 craigmurray.org.uk. We hope that craigmurray.co.uk 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 co.uk 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.