Miguel Krassnoff Martchenko (born 15 February 1946 in Tyrol, Austria) is a Chilean military official involved in the 1973 putsch against president Salvador Allende. He held several high-ranking positions in the Pinochet regime, including in the Chilean intelligence agency, DINA. As such, he was responsible for the interrogation, torture, and disappearance of political prisoners at the detention center, Villa Grimaldi. After Pinochet's demise, Krassnoff was convicted by Chilean courts of Crimes Against Humanity.
Miguel Krasnov considers himself a relative of Pyotr Krasnov, a Don Cossack and White Russian military officer who fought in the Russian revolution. Krasnov subsequently emigrated to Germany and collaborated with the Nazi regime. Semyon Krasnov was a nephew (more precisely, second cousin once removed) of Pyotr Krasnov, his chief of staff and a Major-General in the German service. He is considered the father of Miguel Krasnoff. May 28, 1945, they were both repatriated to the Soviets in Lienz and sentenced to death by the Military Collegium of the Supreme Court of the USSR in 1947. Miguel Krasnoff was born on February 15, 1946 and in 1948 moved with his mother and grandmother to Chile. Miguel Krassnoff grew up speaking Russian at home, and learned about the experiences of his ancestors. He believed that it was his fate to fight against communism, although denies that he ever acted in the name of family revenge.
Krassnoff was schooled at the school of the Americas, located at the time in Panama, before returning to Chile. Upon returning to Chile, Krassnoff served as Professor of Ethics at the Chilean Military Academy. On the 11 September 1973, whilst still serving his professorship, Krassnoff participated in the assault on the house of Chile's Socialist president, Salvador Allende, that culminated in the 1973 Chilean coup d'état.
Following the coup, he was appointed to the Chilean secret police (DINA), under Manuel Contreras. Krassnoff became director of the agency's two Halcón (Falcon) units, which were part of the Caupolicán Group. In turn, the group reported to the Brigada de Inteligencia Metropolitana (BIM). The BIM was ultimately responsible for suppressing political opposition in the Santiago region and the operation of detention camps in the region, including the Villa Grimaldi. The fate of the prisoners was decided by the group commanders, which were then passed on to the DINA head quarters via the BIM.
In 1979, after the dissolution of DINA, Krassnoff was assigned to Defence Intelligence. He later regretted that he was barred from becoming military attaché to Russia or securing a promotion to the rank of General due to his previous involvement in DINA.
Crimes against humanity and convictionEdit
Krasnoff was one of the army officers involved in planning and administering Villa Grimaldi, the detention camp implicated in the torture of Chilean citizens under the Pinochet regime. He is referenced several times in the testimonies of Luz Arce, prisoner and torture victim at Villa Grimaldi and later collaborator with the regime. In 2006, Krassnoff was sentenced to 144 years in jail for over 20 counts of crimes against humanity. In 2016, he was also sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for the 1974 abduction of José Ramírez Rosales.
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- Wyndham, M., & Read, P. (2014). The disappearing museum. Rethinking History, 18(2), 165-180.