Aleksei Rakitin

Aleksei Rakitin was born in 1964 as the son of a military man. He has lived in St. Petersburg (formerly Leningrad) since 1979, went to school there, completed his training as a mechanic at the city’s military academy and worked in a “secret” engineering department within the Ministry of Mechanical Engineering up until Perestroika. Following 1989 his sound physical constitution enabled a move to a private security company. Up until the mid-2000s he was bodyguard to Russian and international VIPs visiting St. Petersburg, during the course of which he was injured several times. During one of his convalescence periods he started the "Unsolved Crimes of the Past" internet project together with a group of like-minded individuals. His secret service contacts continue to be of use for his research. On the side, Rakitin began writing thrillers based on true crimes from the 19th century. Rakitin has no passport, gives no interviews and does not appear in public. He lives in St. Petersburg.

Oleg Kashin was born in Kaliningrad in 1980. He is Russia’s best known investigative journalist. As a journalist with the newspaper Kommersant he is repeated critic of democracy deficits in Russia. Kashin was attacked by unknown assailants and seriously injured outside his home in Moscow on 6 November 2010. For further details on the author see

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Czech Republic/ Dobrovsky
Germany/ btb