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815 days have passed since the Salisbury incident - no credible information or response from the British authorities                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     807 days have passed since the death of Nikolay Glushkov on British soil - no credible information or response from the British authorities

SPEECHES, INTERVIEWS, ARTICLES

03.08.2015

Russian Embassy comment on the "Financial Times" editorial on the Litvinenko case

Dear Sir,

I find outrageous your editorial on the Litvinenko public inquiry (3 August). It proceeds from the assumption that the inquiry is up to the standards of due process and a competitive scrutiny of evidence it provides for. It is far from that. In the first place, there is nothing public in the inquiry, which will consider the British special services' evidence in secret. It was the main reason, why Russia's Investigative Committee, participating in the Coroner's inquest (now suspended), decided not to be party to the public inquiry.

It is notable that one line of evidence in the public inquiry is totally absent. I mean the fact of finding traces of polonium in the restaurant Abracadabra in Jermyn Street two days before Alexander Litvinenko was presumably poisoned in the Millennium Hotel. The owner David West was killed later on and his restaurant closed. Then another crucial witness Boris Berezovsky died under the circumstances, not established by the Coroner's inquest, which ended in an open verdict. Not to mention that any evidence, including his intention to return to Russia, was pushed aside to ensure that suicide version had no credible alternative.

You rightly admit that the Home Secretary's decision to hold this public inquiry was subject to political conjuncture and the Government changed its mind after the Malaysian airliner tragedy last July.

You tend, however, to give the benefit of the doubt to your own Government and broader establishment, rocked by scandals over the past few years. Why so much blind trust in your own? Of course, it is easier to tell the SNP what to do in Westminster and the major emerging economies to blame themselves for their woes rather than impending decision by the Feds. Why not, then, find something intrinsically Prussian, in terms of political culture, in the present German diktat to the Greeks?

Why not mind your British business thoroughly and ask why nobody has been until now held responsible for the British dead in the War in Iraq? The Chilcot Inquiry, by the way, equally lacks transparency. Is it because the establishment always knows better?

John Je Carre was famously quoted in your Lunch with FT: "intelligence services are a spiritual home of British political elite". This remark is highly relevant in Litvinenko's case. Why not to dispose of this case earlier, why secrecy, which more often than not serves as a cover-up for institutional incompetence and outright stupidity? If everything is all right, why not go public?

Unfortunately, it looks like a selective justice and the one that is not being seen done. In that it is akin to Stalin's open trials, when people were charged with espionage as a function of their deviation from the Party's General line. Here, too, the prosecution says that the Russian state had reasons to wish Litvinenko dead. Is it a good enough reason to make out the British case?

Samuel Johnson was famous, inter alia, in the Soviet Union for his aphorism "patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel". Though it is to be regretted that his Dictionary became a source of estrangement with Lord Chesterfield. But still, why not urge bringing your own scoundrels to account. It is no minor matter that the wrong War in Iraq has led to an explosive mix of Islamic fanaticism and brains and guts of Iraqi Baathists and disbanded officer corps, which became a crucial factor in radicalization of British Muslims. The present migrant crisis in Calais and the Mediterranean has the same sources of flawed interventions and strategies in the Middle East and North Africa.

What comes to mind is the hounding by the jingoistic press of Sidney Herbert at the time of the Crimean War. Indeed, he was a grandson of Russian Ambassador Semyon Vorontsov. Though the Herberts and Sidneys have a lot to do with the Shakespearean authorship mystery/mystification, which for no obvious reason doesn't attract the English inquisitive mind.

I hope that the present day British media, including "FT", will do better not only for the sake of common decency, but also in the enlightened self-interest of Britain and its place in the world.

Yours truly,

 

Alexander Kramarenko
Minister-Counsellor of the Russian Embassy




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