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Transcript of the audio recording of the conversation between businessmen who sound like Anton Surikov (AS), Vladimir Filin (VF), and Alexei Likhvintsev (AL) with the man named Sergei (S). 1 The conversation took place in Vienna in the hotel Bristol on September 27, 2003.

Originally published in Russian at compromat.ru 07.04.2004

Translation and comments by burtsev.ru. We'll be adding and expanding our glosses on this document. 2 

Recording begins

S. – Salute, Comrades Narcos!

VF. – Salute, Serge! You’re still just kidding, or have some business to talk about?

S. – Well, didn’t Igor call you?

AL. – I just don’t get it. We fulfill our responsibilities. What’s the problem? What [expletive] should we come here for across the whole Europe? To see your face?

S. – Well, there is something to talk about. Where is Anton?

VF. – He’s in his room. Should I invite him?

S. –Please.

VF. – Hello, Anton… Taking your blood pressure? … Right, very much so… No, later. Could you please come down here. There is no way Serge can [talk] without you… Come on, we’re waiting for you….

AL. – OK, you can start.

S. – Well, there are some questions for you.

AL. – Who has questions?

S. – Well, Igor does, and Gennady Nikolaevich.

AL. – If so we’ll answer to them.

VF. – Why Gena [Gennady] didn’t [ask me] himself? We live in the same neighborhood.

S. – Well, they asked me since it’s the same topic anyway…

VF. – Sergie, what [expletive] you have to do with all this? The less you know the longer you live. It’s folk wisdom. Our people are intelligent, kind, should be respected…

S.— So what’s the deal?

AL. – What do you mean?

S.—Well, there are some doubts. You say one thing to Igor. Yakov Abramovich [Kosman] says to Gennady something different. Your bosses, they think about something else. So there are doubts that you indeed are giving your business.

AL. –Why? We agreed to pay two [million] euros per month until May, didn’t we? You received the money from us for August and September. Next. By the New Year you will decide who and what we should transfer to. During the May holidays we’ll give you everything. You can get it earlier, we are ready.

S.—Yes, but…

AL.—What’s [expletive] the matter?

S.—Well, in 1994 too you were going to give the business. But somehow it didn’t turn out this way.

AL.—And what in the world do you know about that?

S.—Well, could you explain then?

AL.—All right, I will.

S.—Wait, let me get my organizer…

VF.—What are you doing?

S.—Well, I’ll just outline…

VF.—Look at him [expletive], he outlines.

AS.—What’s the problem?.

VF.—Oh, Anton, dear, take a seat, just look at dear Sergei and enjoy. Rarely we have nowadays such a pleasure…

AL.—Anton, we’re talking about 1994. So that’s how it was. In the summer the Western Army Group ceased to exist. Ditto n the Baltic. In Lithuania people were changed, there were nobody to work with. In Kandahar came the Talibs, also in the summer. No contacts. In Ichkeria [Chechnya] [expletive] war began. So what are you talking about? Isn’t it clear…

VF.—Serge, it was not us who started the war, who withdrew from Germany and the Baltic. The Grandpa [Yeltsin] did all this. We did not invent the Taliban.

AL.—Who [expletive] can blame us?

S.—Wait a moment, here it is. Tell me where did those two tons go from your installation near Shali [Chechen town]? To Abkhazia? Didn’t you [kill] Imaev because of this…

AL.—Don’t say this. Usman [Imaev] disappeared two years later. You don’t know [expletive] nothing how it really was. 3 

S.—And what about Sergachev, the Captain, who together with Anton [went] to the installation…

AS.---In fact, Sergachev was done by the Chechens later around Bamut. As to him being a fool and not in the know, it was I who solved the situation. By the way, it was not [expletive] easy, Pasha [Pavel Grachev] personally made the decision. Nobody was even thinking to evacuate anything from there. During the reconnaissance they found only twenty Chechens in that place. A platoon of spetsnaz could have done the job. Actually, Sergach proposed to do exactly this. But I insisted on the Air Force and they bombed [expletive] out of that place, everything.

S.—Everything? But Imaev was able to get the drugs out of their, didn’t he? He had the time to. You, Anton, gave him three days. 4 

VF.—That’s a bull talk, Serge.

S.—Well, why did Lunev [killed] the Tajiks back then?

AL.—What Tajiks?

S.—Well, Safarov, Saidov, Lyosha the Hunchback? 5 

AL.—What are you talking about [expletive]? The decision on Sangak [Safarov] and Faizullah [Saidov] was made in 1993. It was purely political, not by the minister even, but Borka [Boris Yeltsin] himself. He sent in that pederast, Stankevich. 6 As to the Hunchback, it was also politics. Makhmadsaid [Ubaidulloev] 7  drove Pasha [Grachev] completely nuts, Pasha bugged Lunev. As to the closing of Pamir, this is not our fault.

S.—Well, what about those leaks through Baranov, the “Feliks group,” the fabrication about the ferry “Estonia”? I must say, Anton, everyone is fed up with this.  8 

AS.—It was the message to them to leave us alone, not to [expletive] with us. They did [expletive] with us, didn’t they. As soon as Pasha was fired, they did.

S.—But you didn’t become poorer because of this, didn’t you?

AL.—We [expletive] don’t need this anyway. We’re not bums to stick our neck for someone else’s ass. Just look how they milked Volodya [Vladimir]Ganeev, when he and Mirzo Zieev were moving around those [expletive] containers in Afghanistan.  9  And now he’s in the can so that they can have a better hold of Shoigu. 10 

AS.—Bosses [expletive] change as in the kaleidoscope. Everyone is hungry [expletive], scooping up [money] with a shovel. No risk for them -- we have to stick [expletive] our neck out.

VF.—Yes, Sergie, we are humble people. Here’s Anton—a prominent political scientist. And who are you [expletive]? You recall Sergach [expletive], Usman, [expletive] dope for Abkhazia. Just think, the republic was in a blockade, one can say, with hunger’s bony arms around it. Shame on you!

S.—Stop making fool of himself! Are you now selling this business because of “objective reasons” too?

AL.—What do you mean?

VF.—Choose your words carefully, Sergie.

S.—Don’t pretend. Look here, you just sold Ruslan half of the re-export, didn’t you?  11 

AL.—It’s because they’re leaving Kosovo, Slatina, everything goes. It’s not us. This is President's decision. So it’s all over. On the other hand, Ruslan can move it through Novorossysk all right. By the way, the leadership have authorized this.

S.—And who authorized [what’s going on] in Georgia? What is Butkevicius doing there? What sort of games he plays with Patarkatsishvili?

AS.—It’s pure commerce between Audrius and Badri. It’s also time to put the plug on Edik [Edward Shevarnadze]—I’ve been waiting [expletive] for this ten years. I still regret we didn’t waste this obscene bitch back then in Sukhumi. It was so [expletive] easy. Pasha [expletive] [didn’t let us].

S.—So it’s a revanche. And what will happen there?

AS.—Nothing. They will bugger Edik for a while, divide Soros’ dough and split.

S.—And what about Adhzaria?

AS.—Everything is fine there [expletive].

S.—We’ll see. Next. What about Gafur the Grey-Haired?

AL.—Valera [Lunev] is in Dushanbe now, ok. So it’ll be through him with Makhmadsaid. Anyway, the men who are now with Fakhim will have to be recalled. There is nothing [expletive] left to do in Afghanistan.

S.—But you were not on good terms with Ubaidulloev, I thought. 12 

VF.—Sergie, from hate to love is like from [obscenity] to [obscenity].

S.—Well, so it’s my understanding that you are selling everything.

VF.—Transferring , Sergie, as authorized by the leadership.

S.—And what will be left?

AL.—A lot [expletive]. Take it from the 201st [Division] to the MVO [Moscow Military Region] [expletive].

S.—This will last for another two-three years and then the troops will be out. This is what you and Nazarov want, eh? And what about container shipments… ah, never mind. What kind of dealings you have with the Wahhabites in [Naberezhnye] Chelny, in Nizhnekamsk?

AS.—One has to split from Izhevsk anyway. You, guys, can’t restrain Kinder, he pokes his nose everywhere, spoils everything for Volkov. 13 Tartars are prepared. There is a hub in Agryz, airport in Begishevo, they fly where needed, the situation is under control.

S.—But your Tatars, they are from Saudi Arabia, some of them are even from the Talibs, they are clear-cut secret agents.

AL.—So what? You were told that these people had experience. We can’t sent Azeris to military bases, they are not Ruslan. 14  With their mugs they will run into the KVR at once [expletive]. 15 

S.—OK, so it is my understanding that you selling everything.

AL.—We [expletive] don’t care what your understanding is.

VF.—Do you know what Papa teaches us in his encyclical? 16 We should struggle against dope, it’s a national security threat, right? All of us, to a man, will stand on its way.

S.—This is what you want me to tell them?

VF.—Do, Sergie. What else do you have?

S.—Let’s talk about politics. The President has been squashing the communists and you’ve been giving them money.

AS.—Don’t say this! Bolsheviks are pederasts, we are not giving them dough.

S.—And what about Lugovskoy? It was you, Anton, who brought him in. He has already transferred two lemons [two million] to Vidmanov through the office of “Agroprombank” in Cyprus. 17 

AS.—This was discussed with the Administration.

S.—And what about him being a Belize citizen? When the President had learned about this… In short, they have already summoned Ziuganov over the wall [to the Kremlin] to take him off the ballot.

AS.—And what happened?

S.—Ziuganov shitted in his pants, saying “they will kill me. Surikov threatened me through Prokhanov, told me to triple my bodyguards.” So he asked them to do this by themselves, as if he had nothing to do with this.

AS.—I see.

S.—But this is not the only problem. You continue to play games with Yukos.

AS.—No games. With Kondaurov I have old relations. As to Khodorkovsky, Nevzlin and all their gang, I don’t give a piece of shit about these thieves [expletive].

S.—Well… I was told to tell you that Khodorkovsky will be in the box shortly. The question has been decided. Same with Shakhnovsky and Dubov. Voloshin will be removed before the elections. Surkov will follow him. 18 

AS.—I’m kinda sorry for Surkov. One shouldn’t be that rough with poets.  19 

AL.—And who will replace them?

S.—Either Patrushev, or Kozak; perhaps, Victor Ivanov or Medvedev, but it’s unlikely.

AL.—And why the President is against Khodorkovsky?

S.—Well, you know, it’s personal.

AL.—I though he was personal against Nevzlin.

S.—Well, Khodorkovsky too. He is now like Berezovsky for them. Another complaint against you concerns Pugachev. As early as back in February.

VF.—I don’t understand.

AS.—Volodya, this is what happened. First, last summer Ziuganov went to bed with Berezovsky. Vedmanov sold Berezovsky a resort, sort of sold him. They agreed that Bereza gives him three and a half, then they are finding another buyer and Vidmanov takes the difference. When they found a buyer who was giving five, Bereza soaked Vedmanov and took everything.

VF.—Good for Bereza! But what Pugachev has to do with this? Why [expletive] you are telling me this?

AS.—Because as soon as Vidmanov received those three and a half, they summoned Khodor(kovsky) over the wall and ordered him to get together with the Bolsheviks. Then Khinchagoshvili delicately told Ziuga(anov) not to sleep with Bereza. 20 In short, Yukos gave ten, and Kondaurov and I began demanding from Ziu(ganov) to take care of the electoral compaign, give “Pravda” to Tolya, and so on. 21 Prokhanov helped us. 22 And then this bitch went to Khinchagoshvili again and also to Abramov and sort of asked them for another sponsor.  23  They found him “Mezhprom.” 24 [Mezhprom] began testing waters. They just did not realize at first and by habit went to Kuptsov. And then Ziu(ganov) again sent Vidmanov to Bereza. You must remember, Alexey.

AL.—Is it when he went to London through Denmark?

AS.—Right, like a [expletive] guerrilla, the old fool, he will be 70 soon. Bereza sold him at once, before he even returned. Papa got angry, Pugachev jumped aside at once. 25 Later he again tried through Kuptsov, but those were small things, like putting Semyon [on the ballot].

VF.—What we have to do with this? I don’t [expletive] understand.

S.—Come on, don’t pretend. Bereza had nothing to do with this. It’s you, Anton, set up…

AS.—No [expletive], it was Bereza and Stas Belkovsky. I was not connected to this.

S.—As you wish, just keep in mind: they will continue squashing Yukos and the communists. You have been warned.

VF.—We’re for Papa, for expropriating all bloodsuckers and dividing the dough fairly, do you understand?

S.—I understood you long ago. OK, it’s time for me to go.

VF.—Sergie, take good care of yourself, be careful.

S.—You won’t give you this pleasure.

VF.--…Did you understand anything?

AL.—Wait until he leaves [expletive].

VF.—What did he want? To get a piece of the business? They [expletive] went unhinged over there, he will expose all of us.

AS.—This is some sort of rubbish. Alexey, I just don’t understand, how come you cannot come to an agreement with your former subordinate? 26 As to this assle, we should [expletive] waste him and take everything we gave them.

AL.—Yes, Sergei should be…

VF.—And long ago, Alexey. Your wife were right. 27 

AS.—Volodya, just…

VF.—We got to pack up and move faster. Let’s see again our deadlines. Anton, what’s up with Audrius? 28 

AS.—Edik will [go] before the New Year…

VF.—And what about Adzharia?

. – ?

AS.—Without Edik, as you understand, we’ll expose the trifles and it’s all over. We immediately switch everything to Ruslan.

VF.—Now, how much time you need for the Tatars, just give me the minimum.

AS.—We have agreed in principle, but so far without the sheiks. 29 Technically, all in all, it will take Farid six months, I think.

VF.—Now, Alexey, how much time Valera needs for the Tajiks? One year is too long, as you can see.

AL.—Minimum six months. But this is not the main thing. We need to connect Ruslan directly to Salim and Mekhmed. 30 

VF.—You know, Yakov and I are working on this. Alfonso too. But they do not trust each other [expletive], are afraid of a set up. They need guarantees from the top. You see, Anton?

AS.—I was thinking about this. Look, the Albanians get tribute from the KLA, a kind of tax. And the KLA is with the Americans. So in this case we’ll have to do it through Fritz… 31 

AL.—But how are you going to connect Ruslan? ThroughArabs?

AS.—This is the problem. The arrangement is too complex and can [expletive] fail at some point.

VF.—Nothing complex [expletive]. Anyway, this must be negotiated with the sheiks and them to finalize with the Americans. In terms of guarantees, the scheme as follows: Ruslan—the Saudis—the Americans—KLA—Salim. And the only one who can really make the decision there is Turki. 32 OK, enough, anyway, nothing else can be done. Anton, make contact with Turki and discuss everything in principle. Anyway, the Tatars won’t do anything without OK from there.

AL.—Yes, I guess there is no any other way [expletive].

VF.—Go-go, take the American and go with him to Riyadh. This has to be done already in October. Meanwhile, Alexey and I will go to our fathers-commanding officers in Moscow, better this week. There we’ll decide on Sergei among other things. I really don’t like him.

AS.—Gentlemen, I just want to say that you discuss things once again over there. It’s election time. My boss will be reelected for sure. In other words, I can’t do it any longer. I wish I were in Lausanne. You see, I am all sick, I need treatment, fresh air…

VF.—It’s useless talk , Anton. As long as Kasyanov and his apparatus are [in the government] they [expletive] won’t let you go. Then there are the comics [communists]. Even Alexei can be drafted [into the state service?] under Igor.

AS.—I am [expletive] fed up.

AL.—This government will last till May at the latest. As to the communists, no one knows for how long they will continue to agonize.

VF.—By the way, about the comics [i.e., the communists]. Too bad if they swindle Lugovskoi.We promised Yakov [expletive].

AS.—That’s true. This bitch 33  already swindled Kondaurov, Alexander Nagorny, Mikhail Delyagin, Batchikov. He will drop Nikolai [Lugovskoi.] just like that. Should we waste this assle right on the podium when he is [expletive] talking about the anti-national regime, say, in some shitty Bashkiria or some place further to the south?

AL.—Nothing can be simpler [expletive], just takes some plastid [expletive]

AS.—Right and we’ll tell the Chechens did it [expletive].

VF.—[expletive] great idea! Headlines[expletive] saying: “Red Shahid Gennady Ziuganov!” Ratings will shoot through the roof, the victory of communism will be assured. Anton will become the General Secretary. I will take the administrative functions. Alexei, you’ll be in a constructive opposition.


AL.—OK,let’s [expletive] get out of here, the restaurant is open, see Tolya is wavering to us.  34 

VF. – He will be in charge of Yukos, instead of Khodor(kovsky).

AS.—Go, I’ll be right away…

The End


1  Sergei Petrov, alias Serge Rodin, former officer of the Ukrainian military intelligence, later lobbyist and middleman based in Vienna, Austria, was killed in Cape Town, SA in January 2004.

2  According to Petrov, he recorded this conversation in the end of September 1999. It is the first ofthe three transcripts which were published only in April-March 2004, apparently through Petrov's wife Tamara after she returned to Switzerland and accused Filin and Surikov in the murder of her husband. Since their conversation was conducted largely in the criminal jargon stylistically the translation is a weak copy of the original, but it conveys the essential meaning of what the transcript says.

3  Usman Imaev. Under Dudaev Director of the Chechen National Bank, later Prosecutor General. Left politics after he was accused in ties with Russian secret services. Disappeared in 1996.

4  Petrov's account of the Shali episode is consistent with what Evgenii Loginov—then the State Duma deputy and a member of the committee on state security--revealed in his Moscow press-conference in October 30 2002. Says Loginov: “From January 5 to January 11 1995, the Air Force delivered missile and bomb strikes at the territory of the Shali heroin factory. But the Spetsnaz unit, which entered that territory stated that before the factory was destroyed all its equipment had been removed and shipped somewhere.” http://www.duma.gov.ru/search/kmpage/80200016/arc3/deputat/loginov/13.htm

5  Sangak Safarov and Faizullah Saidov - powerful leaders of the People’s Front , the largest pro-government paramilitary organization during the civil war in Tajikistan. Supposedly, killed each other in a shoot-out under unclear circumstances in March 1993. See this episode mentioned in the useful overview the civil war in Tajikistan by Sergei Gretsky:http://www.eisenhowerinstitute.org/programs/globalpartnerships/securityandterrorism/coalition/regionalrelations/ConflictBook/Gretsky.htmLyosha the Hunchback, drug lord in Pamir.

6  Likhvintsev 's information suggests that Yeltsin ordered the liquidation of Safarov and Saidov because they were openly pro-communist. The leader of the People's Front Sangak Safarov spent over twenty years in Soviet prison, but according to people who knew him he was a passionate believer in socialism. Cf. S. Kozlov et al. Spetsnaz GRU. Moskva, Panorama, 2000. S. 305.

7  Makhmadsaid Ubaidulloev, head of the Tajikistan Parliament and the mayor of Dushanbe. On the assassination attempt against Ubaidulloev in February 2000 see: http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGEUR600042001?open&of=ENG-TJK

8  Anatoly Baranov, Surikov’s associate: journalist, owns Pravda.info, recently became member of the Far West Ltd board of directors. The “Feliks” research group is one of the mystifications used by Surikov and his partners to disseminate disinformation. The fabrication was successfully planted in the West during Surikov’s 1994 stay at the London Center for Defense Studies at King’s College. See his two papers published by Brassey’s for the Center in 1995: “Crime in Russia: the international implications” and Crisis for Estonia? Russia, Estonia and a Post-Chechen Cold War” (co-authored with Graeme Herd and Ene Rongelep). Another fake creation of Surikov is the group “Eitingon.” E.g., the Russian original of Surikov’s article “Did Berezovsky Buy Off Communists for US Intelligence?” (Pravda.info) was signed “Eitingon.” For the “Feliks” group and the sinking of “Estonia” see http://jamestown.org/publications_details.php?volume_id=14&issue_id=690&article_id=5034 ,http://heiwaco.tripod.com/e7del6.htm

9  Lieutenant General Vladimir Ganeev, former security head of the Russian Ministry for Emergency Situations. Arrested and indicted in 2003 on charges of organizing a criminal group, abuse of office, and illegally trafficking in precious stones. Mirzo Zieev, powerful Tajik warlord, Tajikistan Minister for Emergency Situations.

10  Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu, a potential presidential candidate in 2008.

11  Ruslan Saidov, alias Hungar Mekhmet, Ret. Major of GRU, thought to be a representative of Muslim Brotherhood in the former USSR. Long-time associate of Abu Valid, Khattab, Basaev, Nukhaev, Sadulaev and other luminaries of Islamist terrorism.

12  Cf. . " ". , 05.2001: http://flb.ru/info/2449.html ; : ? Pravda.ru, 07.30.2001: http://pravda.ru/cis/2001/07/30/30172.html

13  Nickname of Sergei Kirienko, former premier under Yeltsin, now Plenipotentiary of Russia's President in the Near-Volga Federal District that includes Udmurtia. Alexander Volkov, President of Udmurtia.

14  Ruslan Saidov.

15  Military counterintelligence, a part of the FSB.

16  I.e., President Putin

17  Nikolay Lugovskoy, former deputy general director of the Kremlvovsky department store, close associate of Yakov Kosman. It is believed that Kosman was behind Lugovskoy’s nomination for the CPRF electoral ballot in 2004 Duma elections. Citizen of Belize.

18  Vasily Shakhnovsky, head of Yukos-Moscow. Vladimir Dubov, one of major shareholders of Yukos, Duma deputy and the head of the Duma Budget Committee. Both are billionairs.

19  Vyacheslav Surkov, Deputy Chief of the Russian Presidential Staff.

20  Vladimir Khinchagoshvili, high-ranking official in the Administration, supervises political organizations, Surkov’s associate.

21  Anatoly Baranov. According to the deal between Yucos and Ziuganov, Baranov was to become the chief editor of “Pravda.”

22  Alexander Prokhanov, sometimes referred to as “the nightingale of the General Staff,” nationalist writer and chief editor of weekly “Zavtra.” According to some sources, at the time “Zavtra” was financed by Yukos through Alexey Kondaurov: http://www.compromat.ru/main/kprf/zapiska.htm.

23  Alexander Abramov, aid to the President, the secretary of the State Council, Surkov’s associate.

24  Mezhprombank.

25  Sergei Pugachev, oligarch, owner of Mezhprombank.

26  Apparently Igor Sechin, Deputy Chief of the Russian Presidential Staff, Likhvintsev’s former subordinate in Angola.

27  Liudmila Rozkina, former secret agent of the GRU, co-founder and board member of Far West Ltd.

28  Audrius Butkevicius, former Lithuanian minister of defense, resides in Georgia.

29  I.e., the Saudis.

30  Former KLA militants, run the Kosovo Albanian heroin network in Western Europe.

31  Possibly Fritz Ermarth, former chairman of the National Intelligence Committee and member of the National Security Council.

32  Prince Turki al-Faisal, former head of the Saudi General Intelligence Directorate, ambassador to Britain.

33  Ziuganov is meant.

34  Anatoly Baranov, journalist, owner of Pravda.info, member of the FWL board of directors.

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