Friday, August 31, 2007

Craig Murray on Alisher Usmanov: not nice reading.

Craig Murray was formerly British ambassador to Uzbekistan and knows a thing or two about the current state of Russian and Central Asian politics.

In this article (unfortunately published in the Daily Mail) he talks about the growing reliance of the UK on Russian energy. However, the bits I have cut out the portions that should interest gooners the most:

Putin signed an agreement with Turkmenistan to expand a pipeline and massively increase the transit of Central Asian gas through Russia.

Key to this triumph has been Alisher Usmanov and his Gazprominvest Holdings. This subsidiary is the channel for massive slush funds. In November 2004, for example, a payment of £44million to Gulnara, the daughter of President Karimov of Uzbekistan, secured that country’s gas contracts for Gazprom from under the noses of the US.

In return for the cash, Putin instructed Karimov to kick out a US military base that dominated Central Asia, and Gazprom secured the strategic kingpin to dominate the Central Asian and Caucasus gas reserves.

Usmanov has become close to former German Chancellor Schröder through the Nordstream project. Analysts believe this has sparked a determined drive by the Schroeder’s political allies to persuade the EU to remove sanctions against Uzbekistan.

These sanctions were imposed following the Andijan massacre in which 700 pro-democracy demonstrators were killed by Karimov’s troops in May 2005. It also appears to explain a waning of German support for the rival Caucasus pipeline project.

I ask Kuprianov what precisely are the roles of Schroeder and Alisher Usmanov within Gazprom. Again, he is surprisingly candid.

‘Herr Schröder is chairman of Nordstream. His role is to use his influence with European governments to persuade them to support the Nordstream project and to remove political difficulties. Alisher Usmanov is not connected to Gazprom, but to a subsidiary, Gazprominvest Holdings. Mr Usmanov’s skills as a financier are well known. He devises vehicles for handling our most difficult and sensitive financial transactions.’

I had known from my own intelligence sources while British Ambassador in Uzbekistan that Usmanov was in charge of Gazprom bribery and slush funds. I had not expected Kuprianov to come so close to saying it straight out.

Usmanov is therefore a link between Putin and Karimov. Karimov has been 'president' of Uzbekistan since 1991, and in that time has been repeatedly criticised for human rights violations.

Usmanov is, it would seem, a supporter of a tyrant and has been extensively involved in bribery and slush funds.

Thank you again David Dein. You have clearly been meticulous in choosing who to invest in our club.


Unknown said...

Karimov is known for enforcing his dictatorship against his largely Muslim population (88%). The call in that region is for a resumption of the Islamic way of life known as a Caliphate (in Arabic 'Khilafah').

This is what happens to those who peacefully call for it in Uzbekistan:


Goonerboy said...

If you don't want to use the Daily Mail site, go to

Anonymous said...

It's very unsettling reading. It is also the reality of the 21st century under the Uk's current laws. It also moves Arsenal closer to the Berlusconis and Abramavichs and Cheneys of the world - oligarchs who play dirty to win, trampling all over human rights, rights of self-determination, the rule of law -- at times seemingly the whole edifice of post-Enlightment Western reason, and do so in the name of their own profits. So how should right thinking people respond?

I will never ever support the modus operandi of the Russian oligarchy. Nor will I be able to say that as long as he's doing good things for Arsenal, then what's in the past is in the past, or ignore what he gets up to in the future. But of course I am committed to Arsenal.

What might happen is that the more wordly, politicized and progressive Arsenal fans will find ways to protest the actions of their own shareholder, should he abuse his power, calling it to the atention of the media, and thereby making it uncomfortable for Usamanov. This way, as the up and coming oligrachs of the developing nations intrude into our clubs, and our FA, then we can use their intrusion to make them more accountable to us and our standards for respecting civil liberties and human rights and the rule of law.

Grassroots protest works -- It couldn't keep the UK out of Iraq, but Tony Blair left office earlier than he intended partly b/c his foray into Iraq was hurting his own political party; Alberto Gonzalez was forced out partly by grassroots pressure on ranking democrats to persue his impeachment, etc., etc.

If Walmart tries to come to Finsbury Park or Holloway then Arsenal fans should be protesting in full force, not least b/c Stan Kroeke is part of that evil empire (he actually chose to marry into it!):

Anonymous said...

How much better does nice even-keeled Kroenke seem now? I don't think I can support Arsenal with people like this behind them. Anybody else feel the same?

Anonymous said...

Free loadin aren't you, anonymous 3.31pm? I think you should go away you are not an Arsenal fan.

Anonymous said...

Becoming quite an anti-Arsenal magnet aren't you, Goonerboy?

Goonerboy said...

What anon 3.40?

I'm trying to protect the club by showing people what our new investors are really like.

Anonymous said...

Empiezo en este mes de Septiembre un nuevo proyecto, un nuevo proyecto que espero, junto a vosotros, que sea un exito, la perdida de perarnau, buen amigo mio, hizo un hueco en todos nosotoros asi que os presento mi blog, con la intencion de llenar ese hueco.

Muchas gracias.

Anonymous said...

Empiezo en este mes de Septiembre un nuevo proyecto, un nuevo proyecto que espero, junto a vosotros, que sea un exito, la perdida de perarnau, buen amigo mio, hizo un hueco en todos nosotoros asi que os presento mi blog, con la intencion de llenar ese hueco. Linkearme en vuestras webs, y, yo os linkeo en la mia.

Muchas gracias.

Goonerboy said...

Sorry Pablo mate, I don't speak Spanish!


Tom said...

Craig's put up a whole post on his blog warning us off Mr. Usmanov and his blood money. Essential reading, just take a copy in case lawyers get called in.

Anonymous said...

Funny how I haven't seen a "Dein is going to save the club" post anywhere since we found out the truth behind our new shareholder. I trust the board and hope they are able to keep control of the situation while Arsene turns our team into title winners.

However you have got to credit Dein for getting the manager to sign a new contract, all him, in no way the board's work... Dein should let go while he still has some dignity.

Anonymous said...

You're right. Dein is a genius who is single -handedly saving Arsenal and in fact should actually play as well as manage, organise, scout, build stadiums and clean the dishes.

Clearly without Dein Aresenal would be nothing. Like all Gooners, I salute him!

Anonymous said...

It says on Craig's site that his main post on Alisher has been removed due to lawyers threatening the hosting company. However, it can be found on:

gunnertilldeath said...

Anonymous said...

Vital Football have been talking about this for a few days,A remove Dein And Usmanov campain has already started.
Short cut to petition,please sign and get others to do the same