Safronov & Rogozin: People of Contrasts

  • The court declined Pavlov's motion to have an open hearing and to allow Safronov to be released under house arrest.
  • Safronov's boss, Dmitry Rogozin, has a very interesting history.
  • Safronov will be a Kremlin fall boy.

Ivan Sofranov, a former journalist, was charged with treason on July 7th by Russia. He was remanded in custody for the next two months. Prior to his arrest, Sofranov worked as an advisor to the head of Roscosmos. He only worked at Roscosmos for two months. Currently, he is under arrest, and will remain in custody for the next two months in Moscow.

Ivan Safronov was a Russian journalist and columnist who covered military affairs for the daily newspaper Kommersant. He died after falling from the fifth floor of his Moscow apartment building. His son Ivan Safronov, who has also worked as a high-profile journalist, was arrested in July 2020 on charges of treason.

On July 16th, the Moscow Court held a closed session. An attorney representing Safranov, Ivan Pavlov, filed an appeal regarding his remand in custody. According to the lawyer, Sofranov lost 10 lbs. in one week, while being held in the Lefortovo jail.

Lefortovo is for the most dangerous Russian political criminals, many of whom have been held here for decades. The classified information within the walls of a prison will remain as such for man years to come.

After the hearing, Pavlov revealed information pertaining the case. It is an unprecedented move. In the majority of cases, the lawyer has an opportunity to review the disclosure. At the same time, there are no public leaks in classified cases. It is plausible the lawyer could be in possible legal trouble himself with the FSB.

To note, the Moscow City court upheld the decision to remand Safronov in custody until September 6th. Safronov was present in the court room during the hearing. However, there is a publication ban on the case.

The court declined Pavlov’s motion to have an open hearing and to allow Safronov to be released under house arrest. Pavlov did not attend the hearing himself, but head the members of his legal team in attendance.  He provided an update about the hearing himself to the media.

According to Pavlov, the FSB received the information about the charge of treason of the adviser to the head of Roscosmos, and the journalist, Ivan Safronov, from the General of the SVR— the Foreign Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation.

Additionally, the information about Safronov’s transfer of secret information to the Czech Republic was received by the FSB in a message signed by an SVR General. The name of the general is not in the disclosure. Interestingly, there are ten FSB investigators involved in the Sofranov treason case.

Pavlov also mentioned that the case has seven volumes, “stitched and numbered, with crusts,” and the events of the case cover eight years. The allegation is that Safronov was recruited in 2012 by the Czech security services.

The Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities (ROSCOSMOS) is a state corporation responsible for the wide range and types of space flights and cosmonautics programs for the Russian Federation.

However, Safronov’s boss, Dmitry Rogozin, has a very interesting history, and the reason why he had a direct hand in this. Both Rogozin and Safranov are born in the families of the security officers. Rogozin’s father, Lieutenant General Oleg Rogozin, introduced his son to Tatyana Serebryakova, the daughter of a KGB PSU officer, which opened the door for Rogozin Jr.’s career in foreign intelligence.

However, having served in the 1990’s in front of his former chief of the SVR, Yevgeny Primakov, Rogozin, on the eve of the change of power in the Russian Federation, namely, the arrival of Vladimir Putin, the representative of the FSB, sharply changed his patronage.

Rogozin’s career skyrocketed, due to the Colonel-General Sergei Chemezov, who is a close friend of General Sergei Sobeski, Dmitry Rogozin. There is also a past scandal that was associated with Rogozin. He was responsible for the social engineering propaganda campaign relating to the defection of the Oleg Smolenkov, who is a former SVR employee.

Safronov will be a Kremlin fall boy. How likely he actually passed the information is unknowable. There are only allegations at this time. It could be that Safronov was afraid of the Russian political system, and could have been in fear and was planning to defect in the future. He also could have stumbled on the information that made him too dangerous.

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Christina Kitova

I spent most of my professional life in finance, insurance risk management litigation.

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