Russian ex-spy found guilty of coup plot

Moscow, Feb 8 (IANS/RIA Novosti) A court in Moscow Friday found former military intelligence officer Vladimir Kvachkov guilty of masterminding an armed coup and sentenced him to 13 years in prison.

Prosecutors had demanded 14 years in a high security prison for Kvachkov, a retired colonel from the Chief Intelligence Directorate (or GRU), the Russian Armed Forces' spy service.

Kvachkov has denied any wrongdoing, and claimed the charges against him were groundless.

Prosecutors alleged Kvachkov, as leader of a public militia group called the People's Liberation Front of Russia, plotted to seize weapons from several military units and organise an armed march on Moscow for the forceful overthrow of the regime.

Kvachkov was previously twice acquitted after being accused of an assassination attempt in 2005 on former Unified Energy Systems head Anatoly Chubais, one of the key architects of market reform in Russia in the early 1990s.

Kvachkov was acquitted by the Supreme Court of the attack on Chubais in December 2010, but a court again sanctioned his arrest as part of investigations into the alleged coup attempt.

A career military officer, Kvachkov commanded a Special Forces unit in Afghanistan in 1983. In 1984, after sustaining a head injury, he was awarded the highly prestigious Order of the Red Star and later received the Order of Courage.

--IANS/RIA Novosti



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