On Monday, the leader of the Russian opposition Alexei Navalny posted a phone call had with FSB agent Konstantin Kudryavtsev, who was allegedly part of the FSB team, who poisoned Navalny in August while traveling to Siberia.
Navalny survived after the plane he fell ill on was diverted to a nearby airport and he received quick medical attention. He called Kudryavtsev from Germany last week, pretending to be an assistant to a senior FSB official.
Below is an edited transcript. The dialogue is in bold.
Navalny: Konstantin Borisovich?
Kudryavtsev: Yes, yes!
N: This is Ustinov Maxim Sergeevich, Nikolay Platonovich Patrushev’s assistant [former FSB chief]. I got your number from Vladimir Mikhailovich Bogdanov [head of the FSB’s special technology centre]. I apologize for the early hour, but I urgently need 10 minutes of your time.
“Maxim” explains that he has been told to investigate what went wrong in the operation to poison Navalny. He says he has to ask Kudryavtsev and other members of his FSB unit some questions, including why the plot failed.
K: There are always nuances, there are always nuances in every job. The whole situation turned out, so to speak, on one side … well, I don’t know how to put it correctly here …
K: .. Well, they landed [the plane], and the situation developed in a way that … Not in our favor, I think. If it had been a little more, I think the situation could have been different.
N: A little more of what, Konstantin Borisovich?
north: Fly a little more?
K: Well maybe, yes, if he had flown a little more and they hadn’t landed him abruptly somehow and so on, maybe everything would have been different. That is, if it had not been for the quick work of the doctors, the paramedics on the airstrip, etc.
Kudryavtsev said he traveled to Omsk on August 25, five days after the poisoning, as part of a clean-up operation. His job was to remove traces of the novichok nerve agent from Navalny’s clothing.
K: They treated it with solutions, which was not … ohhhh … how to put it … they treated it so there were no marks there, nothing like that.
N: Were all things treated?
K: No, not all at first. First there were the basics: suits, briefs, all that. As we were going they brought another box, everything, everything had already been processed there last time.
N: About things, is there any chance that Navalny’s wife, or someone at the hospital, cut a garment and put on …
N: Is there no such possibility?
K: No. Everything was in one piece. There were no traces of cuts, etc.
N: In your opinion, how did the Germans finally find out?
K: Well, they involved the Bundeswehr. They have military chemists working there. They may have some detection methods.
During the 49-minute conversation, “Maxim” pressures Kudryavtsev for details on how Navalny was poisoned.
N: And what piece of cloth did you focus on? Which garment had the highest risk factor?
K: The underpants.
N: The underpants.
K: A risk factor in what sense?
N: Where concentration [of novichok] could it be higher?
K: Well, the underpants.
N: Do you mean from the inside or from the outside? …
K: Well, we were processing the inner side. That is what we were doing.
N: Well imagine some underpants in front of you, which part did you process?
K: The inside, where the groin is.
N: The groin?
K: Well, the crotch, as they call it. There is some kind of seam there, next to the seams.
N: Wait, this is important. Who gave you the order to process the underwear fly?
K: We realized this on our own. They told us to work on the inside of the underwear.
N: I am writing it. The inner side. Ok… Do you remember the color of the underwear?
K: Blue. But I’m not sure..
N: And they are complete, I mean theoretically we [FSB] could you return them? We are not going to do this, but they are not damaged and everything is fine with them.
K: Yes, everything is clear.
N: Visually, nothing would be discovered? No stains, nothing?
K: No, no. Everything is fine, they are in good condition, clean.
N: Do you think the administration method was a mistake?
K: Well, this is not my decision.
N: What is your opinion?
K: This is what my superiors have decided, therefore it is probably correct. The method is good.
N: Well, it’s still alive, therefore it’s not that good. Understand what I say?
K: Well, I already said that the circumstances developed in a way so that the situation was as it is. There was contact, therefore the penetration was good enough. Those decisions depend on the situation and experience.
Digsmak is a news publisher with over 12 years of reporting experiance; and have published in many industry leading publications and news sites.