Silencing Russia's critics
Russians Suspected in Shooting of Kremlin Critic Near D.C.
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One year ago, Kremlin critic Paul Joyal was gunned down in the driveway of his suburban Maryland home. The case remains unsolved — but some see the hand of Russia in the shooting.
Joyal, 53, is the former chief of security for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and a former business partner of retired Soviet KGB Gen. Oleg Kalugin.
In February 2007, Joyal appeared on NBC’s “Dateline” and accused the Kremlin of seeking to silence its critics abroad.
Joyal said he suspected the regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin was involved in the assassination of dissident former Russian intelligence agent Alexander Litvinenko, who died from a dose of the rare radioactive Isotope polonium-210 in London in 2006.
On March 1, 2007, four days after his “Dateline” appearance, Joyal was returning to his home in Adelphi, Md., after meeting with Kalugin in Washington, D.C. As he stepped out of his car in his driveway, two men jumped out of nearby bushes. One grabbed him from behind, and Joyal was shot in the abdomen.
He spent the next 20 days in an induced coma and underwent five operations to repair the damage to his intestines, Congressional Quarterly reports.
Prince George County police considered the shooting a random street crime.
But Karl Milligan, a retired Prince George County police detective who knows Joyal, thinks otherwise.
For one thing, Milligan noted that Joyal’s home is located in a remote subdivision with no drive-through traffic.
“It’s so secluded you’d hardly know anybody lived there,” Milligan, who spent decades in homicide before becoming chief of the intelligence unit, told CQ.
“Crime was very low there and still is. There were no [violent] incidents prior” to the attack and none since.
What’s more, Joyal’s assailants ran off after the shooting without taking his wallet, computer, briefcase or car.
Kalugin told CG: “Why were they waiting for him? That’s not how robbers act. There are dozens of houses in the neighborhood. Why would they pick his? And why would they wait for him in the bushes at the house?”
The day after Joyal was shot, Russian journalist Ivan Safronov fell to his death from his 5th-story window in Moscow.
“A military correspondent for the daily Kommersant, Safronov was working on a story about the Kremlin’s furtive sale of anti-aircraft missiles to Iran and jet fighters to Syria,” said journalist Alex Shoumatoff.
The FBI was briefly involved in the Joyal case, but did not pursue it for long.
Paul Goble, a U.S. government specialist on Soviet and post-Soviet states, told CG:
“If the Russians were behind the attack on Paul Joyal, then they crossed a line that they had not [crossed] earlier even in Soviet times — attacking a native-born American citizen on American territory.”