Grigory Pasko: My work with Yushenkov had just started, when he was killed

Publish date: April 23, 2003

Written by: Rashid Alimov

Sergey Yushenkov, one of Russia's most prominent liberal opposition figures and a State Duma member, was shot dead in Moscow on April 17th. His colleagues condemned the murder as an apparent political assassination.

Today a letter written by Sergey Yushenkov in April 2002 was made public in London. The letter, sent to the UK Home Office in support of a Russian asylum seeker, pertained to dangers of physical reprisals, which is posed by Russian security police, or FSB.

In this letter, speaking about FSB’s tyranny, Yushenkov mentioned the Pasko case: "environmental activist Grigory Pasko was prosecuted and sentenced to a prison term for publication data about illegal dumping of radioactive materials. This case was wholly documented by international organizations for human rights," — wrote Yushenkov to UK’s Home Office.

In the end of February 2003, convicted as a spy and later released on parole military journalist Pasko became an aide of Duma member Yushenkov. Sergey Yushenkov claimed then that Pasko would prepare expert evaluations and bills on mass-media, environment, military and court reforms.

Pasko on Yushenkov
In a telephone interview with Bellona Web from Vladivostok Grigory Pasko said the following:

— That’s a pity, we’ve not worked together much. I became his aide on February 25th. We met several times in the State Duma and at TV-shows… We discussed the amendments, which could be made to the Law On the State Secrets. And our position was that an end should be put to the Russian military justice, at least, in its current form.

Our work with Yushenkov had just started. While in Vladivostok I received only one instruction from him: to visit Zvezda shipyard in the town of Bolshoy Kamen in the Russian Far East. A meeting on radiation safety in Russia was to be held on September 9th, and I was collecting documents for it.

I went to Zvezda on April 11th and my goal was to meet its manager and to get from him a confirmation that a facility for unloading spent fuel from nuclear submarines was launched and would really function. But manager’s secretary took Yushenkov’s letter, I was let to visit the shipyard, but nothing more. I didn’t see the manager. And I think, I should visit Zvezda again.

Who killed Yushenkov? I’d like to mention, that during recording of a TV-show called Poedinok Sparring on the TVS channel, FSB Major-General Alexander Mikhailov made apparent threats to Yushenkov with physical reprisal. "We’ll pay you back, Yushenkov, later," — he said. Not only me, but all the tv–audience saw this Yushenkov was conducting a public investigation of flat blocks explosions in Russia, which were allegedly linked to the FSB, but officially claimed to be the actions of Chechen separatists.

The assassination happened the day when Liberal Russia party was officially registered by the Ministry of Justice. Yushenkov, being a co-chair of the party, claimed Liberal Russia even hopes to get a good result in the upcoming Duma elections.

I had an impression that Liberal Russia would have got a good position at the elections because of its co-chairs, Sergey Yushenkov and Victor Pokhmelkin. I doubt the party could have such pretensions if not for its leaders. Even if the party failed at the elections, I’m sure Yushenkov would have claimed victory from any candidate in his election district. I felt that party finances were not bad, though Berezovsky’s funding ceased, as it is known…

Everything Yushenkov and his party did, was open. He was not a discrete politician. For him, politics was public by definition. He never had selfish ends…