Vladimir Putin, David Cameron, Alexander Litvinenko, namely: the triangle of death, including the alleged instigator and the victim. The conclusions of the investigation on the death of the former Russian intelligence officer who became an opponent of the Kremlin, then a fugitive in the United Kingdom, poisoned with a lethal dose of radioactive polonium-210 in a London hotel in 2006, has become a diplomatic incident.
The accusation of having “probably approved” that ‘execution’ containbed in the final report written by the former judge Robert Owen against the then head of the Russian FSB (heir to the Soviet KGB), Nikolai Patrushev, and especially against President Putin himself, weighs a ton.
The accusations pronounced by the British prime minister and by other members of the government (“dreadful state murder”, “unacceptable violation of international law and of the security of the British people”, “state terrorism”) are not enough to mask the lack of new concrete measures towards Moscow. At least for now.
The convocation of the Russian Ambassador Aleksandr Iakovenko is only one of the diplomatic rituals. And the freeze announced by Interior Minister Theresa May of the assets belonging to the two alleged perpetrators (Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitri Kovtun), put on Interpol’s wanted list, but safe and sound at home, seems to be rather insignificant. Especially because ‘Lugovoi himself appears boldly on BBC to say that the charges against him are “nonsensical” that the British investigation is fueled by a cascade of “probably” and “possibly”, with no ” tangible evidence”, and – to conclude – that Sir Robert Owen “must have gone crazy.”
The major newspapers of the kingdom, from the conservatory Times and Daily Telegraph to the progressivist Guardian, do not like the whole story. The government’s response to the inquiry it commissioned itself in 2014 – after much hesitation and almost eight years after the events had happened –is unanimously considered timid.
“Moscow has to pay a price,” the Guardian and the Times sentence in unison. While the Telegraph insists on the idea of a broad ’round-up’ of diplomats (London limited itself to dismiss four officers after Litvinenko had been killed), claiming that “the network of Russian spies in London is as vast as it used to be at the time” of the Soviet Union .
Cameron is pressured also by Marina Litvinenko, the unyielding protagonist of the battle for justice. Along with her young son Anatoli, ‘Sasha’ Litvinenko’s widow has become a symbol character in the kingdom. She has signed an article on the Times, in which “targeted economic sanctions” against Russian individuals or institutions are invoked again. She also asks to ban Vladimir Putin from entering Britain.