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Politkovskaya Killer Reportedly Pressured to Implicate Putin Critic Berezovsky

Former police officer Sergei Khadzhikurbanov seen in a glass cage during a hearing in the Moscow City Court. Mikhail Pochuyev / AP

Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) pressured the killer of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya to implicate one of Putin's most notorious critics in her death, according to a report by  the Mediazona news outlet on Monday.

FSB agents asked Sergei Khadzhikurbanov to testify against the late oligarch Boris Berezovsky, claimed Khadzhikurbanov's lawyer, Andrei Vikanov.

A vocal critic of President Vladimir Putin, Berezovsky was granted political asylum in Britain in 2003. He died a decade later, having been convicted in absentia of fraud and embezzlement in Russia.

Unidentified government employees visited Khadzhikurbanov in September and asked him to name Berezovsky as the mastermind behind Politkovskaya's murder, Vikanov said, Mediazona reported.

It is not the first time that Berezovsky has been accused of playing a role in the journalist's death.

One former senior official for Russia's Investigative Committee, Dmitry Dovgy, accused Berezovsky of ordering the murder in 2008. The businessman denied the claims, maintaining that they were designed to distract from the hunt for Politkovskaya's real killers.

Iconic Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya was killed in her Moscow apartment building a decade ago. An outspoken critic of the Kremlin and a human rights activist, Politkovskaya built her reputation reporting on the conflict in Chechnya for Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta. Five men, including Khadzhikurbanov, were charged with her murder in 2014, but the person who ordered the hit has never been brought to justice.

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