WSJ: Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lobbied to exchange Navalnyi for FSB officer Krasikov

Liza Brovko

Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lobbied the White House for international negotiations on the exchange of Russian politician Aleksei Navalnyi for Russian FSB officer Vadim Krasikov, who is serving a life sentence in Germany for the murder of Chechen field commander Zelimkhan Khangoshvili.

This is stated in an investigation by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

According to the newspaperʼs sources among current and former officials from the USA, Europe and Russia, Hillary Clinton responded to the request of investigative journalist Christo Grozev, who was a friend of Aleksei Navalnyi. He proposed to include the imprisoned Russian politician in negotiations on the exchange for Vadim Krasikov.

Since Krasikov is serving his sentence in Germany, Navalnyiʼs wife Yulia unofficially appealed to the German authorities, but opinions were divided there: Foreign Minister Annalena Burbok was against any deal involving the man convicted of murdering an FSB officer.

At the same time, during a trip to Washington, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz secretly discussed the possible exchange of Navalnyi, because in Germany he is considered an influential opposition figure, which could reduce public indignation in the case of Vadim Krasikovʼs transfer to Russia. However, at the time of Navalnyiʼs death, there was no final agreement between the countries, no official proposal was sent to Moscow, details of a possible exchange were brought to it through a private intermediary. Presumably, he was the Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich.

The Wall Street Journal explains that they wanted to exchange Navalnyi for Krasikov because there are no people in American prisons whom Putin would like to return.

Navalnyiʼs associates and his wife hoped that a breakthrough in the negotiations would take place at a meeting of representatives of the security forces in Munich. Yulia Navalna came there. However, during the summit, it became known about the death of the politician.

Initially, the agreement concerned the exchange of the American journalist of The Wall Street Journal Evan Gershkovich, who is being held in prison in the Russian Federation on charges of espionage, for Krasikov. And only then did Hillary Clinton put forward the idea of adding Navalny to the list.

The former host of the American Fox News TV channel Tucker Carlson was also in favor of Evan Gershkovichʼs release — he planned to press Putin during his visit to Moscow for an interview with the head of the Kremlin. According to Carlson, Putin rejected the idea of a release, but suggested that Gershkovich could be exchanged for an unnamed prisoner who matched Krasikovʼs description.

Navalnyiʼs death

On February 16, 2024, the Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia for the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District reported that Aleksei Navalnyi died in correctional colony No. 3. The service writes that allegedly during the walk, Navalnyi felt sick, he fainted. Medics arrived at the scene, but it was not possible to save him — 47-year-old Navalnyi died. The leaders of Western countries unanimously put the responsibility for Navalnyiʼs death on Putinʼs regime.

On February 24, 2024, Navalnyiʼs body was given to his mother Lyudmila.

The head of Ukrainian intelligence (known as GUR) Kyrylo Budanov said that Navalnyi died due to a ruptured blood clot, as Russian propaganda and Kremlin representatives said.

Who is Vadim Krasikov?

On August 23, 2019, former Chechen field commander Zelimkhan Khangoshvili was shot dead in Berlin. A Russian with a passport named Vadim Sokolov, his real name is Vadim Nikolaevich Krasikov, was accused of his murder. He may be involved in a contract killing in Moscow in 2013 and is also connected to FSB. Germanyʼs federal prosecutorʼs office charged the Russian government with the contract killing of Khangoshvili, but Russia (as usual) denied involvement.

In December 2021, Vadim Krasikov was sentenced to life imprisonment. The court concluded that “Vympel” FSB special forces officer Vadim Krasikov shot Khangoshvili on the instructions of an unspecified Russian state body. The order came from the Russian authorities.

Who is Evan Gershkovich?

The American Wall Street Journal journalist Evan Gershkovich was detained in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg on March 30, 2023. He is charged with espionage and collecting information about a secret enterprise, for which he faces from 10 to 20 years in prison. FSB says that he filmed one of the enterprises of the military-industrial complex, which is a state secret. Gershkovich is being held in a pre-trial detention center.