Earlier last week, Shabtai Kalmanovitch, an Israeli immigrant from the former Soviet Union who had served prison time for spying for the KGB was shot to death while driving in a Mercedes in downtown Moscow.
The car that he was riding in was attacked by a passing vehicle, carrying men with semi-automatic weapons. Kalmanovitch’s driver, Fyotor Tomnov was also wounded and is currently being hospitalized in critical condition.
Shabtai Kalmanovitch immigrated to Israel in 1972, then a young man. As an agent he had an assignment to get information about Nativ, a Zionist immigration and liaison agency in the former Soviet Union. Moscow had always been suspicious of Nativ, as an anti-Soviet Union organization.
At one point Kalmonovitch attempted to land a position in the Israeli Prime Minister’s bureau, during the tenure of Golda Meir. In spite of this he did work for Samuel Flatto-Sharon and Yigal Hurvitz, a former Knesset member.
Flatto-Sharon and Kalmanovitch had ties with an East German lawyer named Wolfgang Vogel. Vogel was famous for his involvement in the negotiating of a prisoner release of Israeli, Miron Marcus, who was kidnapped by Mozambique rebels, when his plane was forced to make an emergency landing in that country.
The details behind Kalmanovitch’s murder are still foggy at best. Police suspect that the murder was related to a business dispute between Kalmanovitch and another former agent of the KGB.