I wonder if the “famous people always die in threes” applies in
One should say that FT didn’t come up with this all on its own. The Litvinenko connection is being fed to the press by Anatoly Chubais. “It is unquestionable for me that a mortal construction of Politkovskaya, Litvinenko and Gaidar, which did not come into being by miracle, would have been exceedingly attractive for supporters of unconstitutional scenarios envisioning a change of power in Russia by force,” Chubais noticed.
According to reports, Gaidar fell violently ill after eating breakfast at a
“I rushed after him and found him lying on the floor, unconscious. He was vomiting blood and also bleeding from the nose for about 35 minutes,” Ms Genieva [who organized the Dublin conference Gaidar was scheduled to attend] said. Mr Gaidar was taken to
James Connolly Memorial Hospitalin Blanchardstown, where he was treated overnight. The following morning, Mr Gaidar had asked to be discharged and, after a visit to the Russian embassy, was put on a flight back to Moscow.
Gaidar declined to comment on whether his illness is the result of any nefarious wrongdoing.
I’m surprised that Suleiman Kerimov’s, (who happens to be a Russian businessman and the 72nd richest person in the world) wrapping his Ferrari around a tree in
Update: It seems that the conspiracy laded shit storm is already starting.
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By Sean — 10 years ago
The Russians are evil and pose a clear and present danger to Britain. That’s at least what being spewed in the British press. Recent days have been a reminder of the frozen relations between Britain and Russia.
First there was the short but tense meeting between British PM Gordon Brown and Russian President Medvedev at the G8. The latter gave the former “short shrift” reports the Financial Times,
Mr Medvedev was in no mood to give ground in the hour-long talks, believing that Mr Brown had deliberately soured the atmosphere by raising the issues, instead of looking exclusively to the future. Russian diplomats were also furious at reports in the British press last week which suggested London was awash with Russian spies. Moscow believes the leak came from MI5, the British security service.
Then there is the belief among the British security service that Russia presents the third greatest threat to British security. The Slavic nation follows Al-Qaeda and Iran. Always a bridesmaid and never a bride. Oh, how we wish for the days of the Cold War. Or are the British suggesting an new Axis of Evil?
Well, one could ignore the British report and the Medvedev-Brown tiff as business as usual. That is if it wasn’t followed by some outlandish assertions regarding the Litvinenko Affair and the FSB’s apparent love for poison.
The BBC’s Mark Urban is claiming that a senior British security official believes that “the Litvinenko case to have had some state involvement; there are very strong indications that it was a state action.” Also thanks to MI5’s deftness, an assassination attempt against Boris Berezovsky was thwarted last June. The supposed assassin, a certain “Mr. A,” was arrested and deported on 21 June 2007. Berezovsky told Newsnight that Mr. A wasn’t put on trial because “British intelligence did not want to reveal the source who had warned them that Mr A was traveling to London.” Ian Flemming couldn’t have plotted it better.
True, the Litvinenko story went beyond sense months ago. So much so, I wouldn’t be surprised if Berezovsky digs up Litvinenko’s radioactive corpse and starts wheeling it around a la Weekend at Bernie’s just to squeeze more press out of it.
Litvinenko is back in the funny papers just in time to draw interest in Andrei Nekrasov’s anti-Putin diatribe, Poisoned by Polonium. I saw the film a few weeks ago and I have to say that it was two of the most excruciating hours I’ve spent in a long time.
The plot is simple. Here we have good matured Sasha Litvinenko, who after becoming disillusioned by the FSB’s brutality in Chechnya and corruption among his colleagues, dedicates his life exposing its corruption and criminality. Conspiracy theory after conspiracy theory follows. The FSB blew up those Moscow apartments in 1999. The FSB conspired to take over the Russian state. The FSB engaged in all sorts of smuggling, extortion and mafiaesque acts. The film clearly uses Litvinenko’s book Blowing Up Russia: The Secret Plot to Bring Back KGB Terror as its Bible and like any biblical tale is full of folklore and prophecy.
The problem with Nekrasov’s portrayal of power, corruption, and brutality in Russia’s secret police is that he lumps the real with the fiction. Real conspiracy with its theoretical musing. There is no doubt in my mind that FSB agents, especially in the 1990s had links to organized crime. Just like I believe that there are elements in the FSB who continue to do so. But to equate the completely outlandish with the probable and then have no evidence to actually prove either makes the viewer walk away thinking that the only nuts in the celluloid jar are Nekrasov and Litvinenko.
Moreover, the film isn’t really about Litvinenko’s poisoning at all. It is merely the cherry on top of a decade long plot by Putin and his gang. Images of a bald, feeble Sasha doesn’t appear until the last 15 minutes or so. Most of the time we see a fit Sasha incessantly rattling away at his ideas. So the viewer learns little about Litvinenko’s actual poisoning. The perpetrator, Putin through his FSB proxy, is merely a logical conclusion of a long string of nefarious deeds. Chief suspect Andrei Lugovoi does makes a short appearance where he speaks nonsense. His presence, however, allows for the film’s only intentional comedic moment. At one point he offers Nekrasov a cup of tea. The filmmaker politely declines.
There are some notable people missing. Sure Berezovsky is there and he always good for a few laughs. Surprisingly, BAB’s chief propagandist, Alexander Goldfarb, is absent. As is a single interview with a British or Russian investigator to corroborate any of Nekrasov’s or Litvinenko’s allegations. Nor is it ever explained how Litvinenko, who was never that high in the FSB hierarchy, was able to know so much. Perhaps what is most disturbing is that Anna Politkovskaya also comes off as a total nut. Not so much from what she says but the fact that she’s looks and moves like a crazy person.
If pressed to say one positive thing about Poisoned by Polonium, it would be that Nekrasov is a master visual propagandist. His film eye is excellent. He has a knack for angled shots that add drama and suspense. His editing of stock footage, news clips, and interviews makes for a visually interesting film even if the content is complete crap.
Even if Litvinenko has slid to the back pages, it seems that there might be another toxic corpse on the horizon to pin on the Russians. About a week ago, British super spook Alex Allan, who chairs Britain’s Government’s Joint Intelligence Committee, was found unconscious in his home covered in blood. He now lies in the hospital in a coma. Given Allan’s position, British investigators haven’t totally ruled out foul play. Such beliefs, whether they are true or not makes from some good kompromat. And if you’re looking for kompromat, look no forward than the Sun, Britain’s newspaper of nonsense.
“Top security expert” Chris Dobson told the Sun for sordid “Did Russians or al-Qaeda poison Britain’s top spy?” that Allen is a prime target simply by virtue of his job to oversee and coordinate “every aspect of [the British” intelligence community.” Dobson continued,
“The nature of his sudden illness, if it is an assassination attempt, points towards the FSB, successors of Russia’s KGB. They are the masters of assassination by poison.
“They were blamed by Britain for the death of Alexander Litvinenko by radioactive polonium poisoning in London in 2006. And anti-Russian Vicktor Yashenko was horribly disfigured by poison which almost killed him during the election which made him President of the Ukraine.
“So Mr Putin, the former KGB colonel who runs Russia, ‘has form’. And he has become increasingly aggressive towards Britain, accusing us of espionage plots against Russia. Al-Qaeda is another suspect.
They would see his death as a great victory, fulfilling Osama Bin Laden’s threat to strike at the heart of the ‘infidel enemy’. What better target than the man whose job is dedicated to wiping them out?”
“He is therefore a prime target. The nature of his sudden illness, if it is an assassination attempt, points towards the FSB, successors of Russia’s KGB. They are the masters of assassination by poison.”
So I guess it’s just a matter of picking your poison. Al-Qaeda or the FSB. Or maybe they are just working together! Now there’s a plot for Poisoned by Polonium II.Post Views: 160
By Sean — 11 years ago
Litvinenko mania continues. A web of personalities, events, investigations, analyses and conspiracy theories has been woven so intricately that it is difficult to make any sense of it all. I think it’s time to consult the tea leaves and chicken bones. Maybe the gods can tells us who killed Alexandr Litvinenko and why. But since the gods don’t seem to be answering their phones, or maybe my tea leaves and chicken bones are a bit too weathered, I suggest a few articles below to catch up (or is it confuse?) those interested (if there is anyone left!) on unfolding details on a story that seems will never die. One thing is for sure in all this mess, Litvinenko was clearly involved in some shady business that is not fitting for a fierce critic or saintly dissident many tried to paint him to be.
When one compares the path the investigation is taking to the original accusations and assumptions that Litvinenko’s death was part of a Kremlin plot, one can’t help wonder what, if anything, Western media knows about Russia. This is why I think what I wrote when the whole affair began still stands: “Litvinenko’s murder has little to do with Litvinenko. He is merely symbolic of a greater fear that many Westerners have of an ascendant Russia. And given the legacy of Cold War thinking about Russia, its ascendancy is cast in familiar, yet thoroughly misguided terms and assumptions.” But I digress . . .
Did the Russian Mafia Kill Alexandr Litvinenko?
by Justin Raimondo
They’re making a movie about the Litvinenko affair, but if Hollywood hews to the narrative dished out by the British tabloids, then I wouldn’t count on it being a box office hit. After all, the idea that the Kremlin would assassinate such an insignificant “dissident” by poisoning him with $10 million worth of rare polonium – and leaving a radioactive trail a mile wide back to the Kremlin’s doorstep – is so implausible that no one could possibly believe it. Unless, of course, it is presented as “news,” rather than entertainment – two categories that are often indistinguishable from each other, at least in the U.S.
The journalistic lynch mob that jumped on Vladimir Putin, tying him to the alleged murder of Alexander Litvinenko, is wiping egg off its collective face as new evidence comes to light. Not that this crowd needs much in the way of evidence to convince them of the Kremlin’s utter perfidy: in the case of Litvinenko’s bizarre poisoning with a radioactive substance, polonium-210, they didn’t need any. All they had to do was print press releases handed out by Boris Berezovsky’s slick public-relations operation and decry the supposed degeneration of Russian “democracy” from the good old days of Boris Yeltsin, when it was possible to steal entire industries without worrying about going to jail.
To really get a handle on the truth about this mysterious affair, what we have to do is look at what Charles Krauthammer and Max Boot are saying – and then draw the opposite conclusion. The two of them, naturally, accuse Putin of murdering Litvinenko, without – of course – bothering with such mundane details as the extremely odd method of utilizing such an unusual weapon, or what the Kremlin could possibly hope to gain. Their fact-free screeds are all supposition, and both evade the central reality of this case: as the Moscow Times points out, “The common thread linking all the players in Litvinenko’s death is that they have all worked for Berezovsky.”
Poisoned Russian ex-spy Alexander Litvinenko appears to have been involved in collecting information about Alexei Golubovich, a longtime associate of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, former head of the Russian oil company, Yukos. Khodorkovsky is in jail in Russia for tax evasion. Golubovich was a top official of Yukos from 1992 to 2000 and is under house arrest in Italy at the request of Russia which has charged him with fraud and embezzlement.
A woman living in London told the press that she sought out Litvinenko for “book research” and that he told her that he was planning to blackmail some Russian oligarchs who had been targeted by the Russian Federal Security Service because they had looted the country. She did not tell the press that she worked for Golubovich, who fit that description.
The story about the investigation of Golubovich has not been published before.
Litvinenko died in London Nov. 23 from a lethal dose of radioactive polonium-210. He had reportedly been building dossiers on corrupt Russian businessmen.
Leonid Nevzlin Gets Polonium and Mercury
By Nikolai Sergeev
Prosecutor General’s Office announced yesterday that it is investigating a possibility that former co-owner of YUKOS Leonid Nevzlin might be involved in the poisoning of former FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko with polonium-210, and an assassination attempt against his business partner Dmitry Kovtun in London. The Office claims that investigators established connection between this crime and a certain attempt at poisoning by means of mercury. The Office says that mercury vapors “were found in cars, apartments, country houses, and offices both in Moscow and in London”. It has already created an investigatory group to probe into those crimes. The Office intends to prepare documents soon and to “direct requests for legal help in the criminal cases under investigation to corresponding competent authorities, and to raise the question of extradition of several citizens charged with heavy crimes who are taking refuge abroad”.
The Office’s statements were transmitted to news agencies with “urgent” markings on them. Meanwhile, Russian Deputy Premier, Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov told Kommersant already a week ago that London’s polonium scandal may receive a most sudden continuation. “I admit that if the investigation goes on, — and I hope it will go on, for we are interested in it, — completely unexpected versions might appear, which are not considered now at all,” predicted Ivanov back then.
Apparently, a “new version” appeared after Leonid Nevzlin and his family traveled to the U.S. from Israel on December 24. Two days after their arrival to New Jersey, Interpol’s National Bureau in Russia said that Nevzlin encountered some problems. He was allegedly detained in the airport, but then they let him go, having informed Russian law-enforcement authorities about his current location. Russia’s Prosecutor General’s Office has been looking for Nevzlin abroad for two years already, due to secret accusations in organizing murders and assassination attempts. However, the Office received refusal to extradite Nevzlin from other countries. The U.S. also refused to give him out last year. Now the secret accusations have been reinforced by secret suspicions.Post Views: 99
By Sean — 7 years ago
DE RUEHMO #2429/01 1441227
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 241227Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0559
INFO RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 002429
EO 12958 DECL: 05/23/2017
TAGS PREL, PGOV, PINR, RS
SUBJECT: RUSSIAN REACTION TO LITVINENKO MURDER CHARGES
REF: LONDON 1997
Classified By: Ambassador William J. Burns. Reasons 1.4 (b and d).
1. (C) SUMMARY: The GOR is highly unlikely to extradite former FSB officer Andrey Lugovoy to Britain, citing constitutional and other legal prohibitions against the extradition of Russian citizens. Official and unofficial Russian reaction to the May 22 British announcement that Lugovoy would be charged with the murder of Aleksandr Litvinenko has been nearly uniform in rejecting the UK request that he stand trial in London. The MFA held out the prospect of further cooperation in the investigation, while citing the impossibility of extradition, but other Russian commentators were more categorical, suggesting that the British charges were politically motivated. A few opposition voices called for Lugovoy to voluntarily submit to British justice. The British Embassy expects a further worsening in the UK-Russia and EU-Russia relationships. We should continue to reinforce to the GOR the damaging consequences to Russia’s reputation should this case fail to reach trial. END SUMMARY.
2. (C) On May 22, the UK’s Crown Prosecution Service announced that it had sufficient evidence to request Lugovoy’s extradition and to charge him with the polonium poisoning of Litvinenko in November 2006. UK Ambassador Brenton told the Ambassador May 23 that the UK Embassy expected to receive the final warrant by the end of the week and would transmit it to the Procuracy shortly thereafter.
EXTRADITION: OBSTACLES AND OPTIONS
3. (SBU) Both the Russian Constitution and the Criminal Code prohibit the GOR from extraditing Russian citizens, as is the case in several other European countries whose legal systems have evolved from the Napoleonic code. Russia has a 2006 Memorandum of Understanding with the Crown Prosecution Service and is a signatory to the 1957 European Convention on Extradition. Both of these were mentioned in the Prosecution Service’s announcement of the charges, but neither of them would supersede the Russian Constitution and obligate Russia to extradite Lugovoy. There is a precedent for the GOR to prosecute Russian citizens in lieu of extradition. Three times it has done so at U.S. request — two murders and one money laundering case — but none of these cases led to a conviction, and the British are not apparently considering this option.
4. (SBU) In a May 22 statement on its website, the MFA reiterated its readiness to cooperate further in an objective investigation into Litvinenko’s death, but it emphasized that Russia’s legal prohibitions against extradition were well known and similar to those in place in other countries.
5. (SBU) Other official and unofficial Russian reaction was overwhelmingly against the British request. Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov said that the Russian parliament would uphold Russian law and not allow Lugovoy to be returned to Britain. International Affairs Committee Chairman Konstantin Kosachev warned that diplomatic relations with the UK would be negatively affected should the charges be politically motivated. Duma Deputy Viktor Ilyukhin, the vice chair of the Duma’s Security Committee, rhetorically asked why Russia should even consider Britain’s request when it ignored the GOR’s efforts to extradite Boris Berezovskiy and Chechen separatist emissary Akhmed Zakayev. LDPR Chairman Vladimir Zhironovskiy thought that Russian law enforcement might want to trade Lugovoy for Berezovskiy.
6. (SBU) Independent Duma Deputy Vladimir Ryzhkov was one of the few who suggested Russia’s international interests ought to take precedence over national law and expressed confidence in the results of the British investigation. Protecting Lugovoy would lead to extensive damage to Russia’s image abroad, he said. Likewise, LDPR Deputy Aleksey Mitrofonov publicly called on Lugovoy to return to London voluntarily. Mitrofonov said that Russia and Britain needed to resolve the issue or Russia faced the prospect of further deterioration in its relations with the West amid growing suspicions that the GOR was protecting Lugovoy. He suggested that “public” pressure on Lugovoy to voluntarily face British justice might be the best way out of an impasse.
BRITAIN’S NEXT STEPS
7. (C) Noting that the UK would be seeking an EU statement of support in urging Russia to agree to extradition (reftel), Brenton predicted that the failure to turn over Lugovoy would create serious problems in London’s bilateral relationship with Moscow, and potentially problems in the EU-Russian relationship as well. Failing any progress, he reiterated the UK may reassess whether it would support a new EU-Russia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement. The German and French missions have expressed to us their doubts about this approach, noting the similar constitutional restrictions on the extradition of nationals by some EU countries.
PUBLIC APATHY ABOVE ALL
8. (C) Ekho Moskvy’s Aleksey Venediktov told us separately there is little chance of a resolution soon, particularly given the rift in relations between Putin and Blair. Putin believes PM Blair betrayed him over the British refusal to extradite Berezovskiy, and Venediktov said that the GOR has now pinned its hopes for a better relationship with Britain on Brown. Venediktov said Russian public opinion is largely indifferent to the whole affair, based on responses to Ekho’s on-air discussions about Litvinenko’s death, and doubted it would be a factor in the GOR position. Demos Center’s Tanya Lokshina similarly questioned whether there would be anything other than public support for the GOR’s position and that the public was more likely to believe that the charge against Lugovoy was one more Western provocation.
9. (C) Comment. It is highly unlikely that the GOR will yield its constitutional principle on extradition. There is no indication that any Russian offer of cooperation short of extradition will satisfy the Crown Prosecution Service’s request. Given the sensational nature of the murder and the uncertainty over where the trial may lead beyond Lugovoy, there has been little official interest expressed in Lugovoy clearing his name in a UK court. Although we know of no other legal mechanisms that would trump the Russian constitution, we should continue to reinforce to the GOR the long-term damage to Russia’s reputation if this case fails to go to trial. BURNSPost Views: 126