The face of many of Russia's highest-profile criminal probes, Vladimir Markin, has been making headlines again.
Russian media was widely reporting on September 14 that the chief spokesman for the country's Investigative Committee was stepping down from the position. And although the anonymously sourced reports could not be confirmed, and Markin himself was not commenting, the news prompted speculation about where he could be headed.
He has always been a source for commentary -- sometimes incendiary, sometimes head-scratching, always colorful -- on subjects ranging from relations with the West, Russian soccer fans, the Olympic doping scandals, and many other issues.
Here are a few of the more eyebrow-raising quotations during his nine-year tenure with the Investigative Committee:
* On the investigation into the murder of opposition activist Boris Nemtsov, who was shot while walking on a bridge near the Kremlin on February 27, 2015:
"In this case the results of the accumulated evidence fully confirm the selfish motives of the accused in committing Nemtsov's murder; that is, a promised reward totaling at least 15 million rubles."
* On the need for an international investigation into the circumstances surrounding the U.S. landings on the moon, and the rock specimens of materials brought back to Earth, some of which were lost (Markin made this argument in the course of commenting on U.S. prosecutors conducting a criminal investigation into bribery at soccer's world governing body, FIFA):
"We are not contending that they did not fly [to the moon] and simply made a film about it. But all of these scientific, or perhaps cultural, artifacts are part of the legacy of humanity, and their disappearance without a trace is our common loss. An investigation will show what happened."
* On what he perceives to be a persistent international bias against Russia:
"Russophobia is like AIDS, an illness that is untreatable and fatal. You can only buy more time with painkillers and military psychosis stimulants, but the result is always the same -- self-destruction and shameful death."
* On the decision by world sporting authorities to bar scores of Russian athletes from competing in the Rio Olympic Games, and on the victories garnered by the Russians who were allowed to participate (Markin also coined a snarky Russian neologism aimed at the West by tweaking the term "Anglo-Saxon" to make it "Naglo-Saxon," which translates roughly as "Impudent-Saxon"):
"On the question of who won or lost in Rio, the answer is clear: Russia did not lose and showed character, while across the ocean, the initiators of this large-scale provocation lost the last vestiges of respect and trust, lost what is most important in the modern world -- their reputation."
* On French police's reaction to Russian soccer hooligans who attacked fans attending a Euro-2016 match in Marseille, France:
"A proper man as he's meant to be comes as an amazement to them [the police]. They're used to seeing the 'men' at gay parades...."
* On the arrest of former Kirov region Governor Nikita Belykh for allegedly receiving millions in bribes:
"They steal like adults and they [try to] explain like children. You get handed a bribe in front of witnesses: you should say: 'I have sinned. I will bear the consequences with utmost rigor.'"