Chubais assassination attempt: inside job?

The March 17 attempted assassination of Anatoly Chubais, head of Russia’s state energy monopoly, Unified Energy Systems (EES), and architect of the highly unpopular post-Soviet crash privatization program, has rocked Russia’s political elite. Although Chubais is one of the most hated people in Russia—blamed for turning the entire economy over to a handful of corrupt "oligarchs" in the 1990’s—the paramilitary-style attack was unprecedented, even by the standards of the notoriously violent post-Soviet era. Chubais escaped unhurt when assailants hidden in trees detonated a roadside bomb and sprayed his convoy with automatic fire as he drove to work on the Minsk Highway. On the evening of the attack, police detained one Vladimir Kvachkov in connection with the case. Although the Defense Ministry denied it, Kommersant-Daily reported that Kvachkov is a retired colonel in Russian military intelligence (GRU). According to the daily, Kvachkov commanded a special-forces unit in Afghanistan during the Soviet Union’s war there, and RTR Radio identified him as an explosives expert. (RFE, March 18)