Vlad, You Naughty, Naughty Man….

| October 9, 2018 | 12 Comments

It appears that Vlad Putin, the guy who is really in charge of everything Russian, has two more spy guys who have recently been arrested for attempted murder in March 2018 of the 67-year-old defected Russian spy, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter Yulia, through the use of a Novichok nerve agent known as A-234.  They were trades in a spy swap several years ago.

If you will recall, in 2006, Alexander Litvinenko was poisoned and murdered by dropping polonium-210 into his tea.  https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-19647226

This most recent attempt to destroy ex-spies who defected to the West seems to be a continuing story.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/second-spy-poisoning-suspect-identified-as-russian-military-doctor-1539069356

From the article:  A London-based investigative journalism group said it has learned that one of the men accused of poisoning a former Russian spy in Britain earlier this year is a medical doctor and veteran of Russia’s military intelligence service.

The group, Bellingcat, reported on its website Monday evening that the man identified and charged by U.K. authorities as Alexander Petrov is actually Alexander Mishkin, a highly decorated member of Russia’s military intelligence service, commonly known as the GRU.

Bellingcat used documents including a passport to identify Mr. Mishkin, it said.

The announcement came two weeks after Bellingcat and investigative website Insider reported that Ruslan Boshirov, identified by U.K. authorities as Petrov’s partner in the alleged assassination attempt, was actually Anatoliy Chepiga, a GRU colonel of high rank.

Bellingcat said it used “multiple open sources, testimony from people familiar with the person, as well as copies of personally identifying documents,” including a scanned copy of Mr. Mishkin’s passport to prove that he wasn’t in fact Petrov.

Last month, British prosecutors charged two Russian men—named in court proceedings as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov—with four offenses related to the poisoning of 67-year-old defected Russian spy Sergei Skripal, who has lived in Britain since a 2010 spy swap with Moscow. His daughter Yulia was also poisoned, and like her father, left critically ill following the attack.

Western allies expelled dozens of Russian diplomats as punishment for Moscow’s alleged role in the Skripals’ poisoning. In August, the U.S. unveiled a new series of sanctions and threatened additional stronger measures in November if Moscow fails to comply with certain criteria. — WSJ article

The two Russians who were arrested and charged with attempted murder insist that they were in Salisbury simply to see the cathedral. I’ve been there myself. It is quite old and quite impressive in that it took so long to complete building the cathedral that it includes both Gothic and Romanesque structures and windows. It is a quiet place, with scars from the swords of Oliver Cromwell’s army when they entered the cathedral and tried to destroy some of the tombs.  It’s not far on a daytrip bus tour from Stonehenge.

These episodes of murder and attempted murder of people who either defected or were trades for others clashes with Vlad’s efforts to build Russia into a major power, when he engages in this extremely petty and nasty stuff. If they were trades in a spy swap, why would you have them murdered? Yeah, I know – they defected afterwards, which is embarrassing, but they just don’t like you, Vlad. Revenge is just a dumb thing to do. If they had any info, it’s already in the hands of “others”.

Read the linked articles, especially the one about Litivinenko. Nobody believed him at first, until it was literally too late.

 

 

Category: Reality Check

Comments (12)

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  1. AW1Ed says:

    All is not rosy in Putin Land.

    Carnegie News Link

    Why Putin’s Approval Ratings Are Declining Sharply

    Andrei Kolesnikov

    Russia’s annexation of Crimea, in March 2014, was a boon for Putin’s approval ratings. Hovering around 61 to 65 percent before the seizure, they climbed to dizzying heights of above 80 percent thereafter. For many Russians, Putin’s territorial grab restored the country’s national greatness, and for that they rewarded him with increased support.

    In the last few months, however, rising public frustrations over domestic policy and a government proposal to weaken the social safety net have led to a sharp decline in Putin’s popularity.

    Putin’s recent fall in approval ratings has been steep. According to data collated by the Levada Center, an independent Russian polling organization, only 67 percent of Russians polled said that they approved of his activities in July 2018, compared to 82 percent in April and 79 percent in May. Other Levada data show that Putin’s trust rating declined from 60 percent in January 2018 to 48 percent in June. Some of Russia’s most popular officials have seen similar downturns: over the same six-month period, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu’s trust rating declined from 31 percent to 19 percent and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s fell from 25 percent to 14 percent.

    Pretty soon they’ll have polling numbers to rival the US Congress.

  2. David says:

    Looking up at the spire of Salisbury Cathedral from the ground is awesome… I seem to recall it being over 430 feet? Gorgeous…

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      When you go inside, you can see how old some of the stones in the flooring are, partly by the dates chiseled into them as tombstones, and partly by the wear and tear from people walking over them.

  3. Hondo says:

    I would not characterize this as “revenge”, Ex-PH2. Rather, I’d characterize this as both “warning” and “deterrence”.

    Putin knows full well that anything any defector knows has likely already been divulged. However, taking out any defectors he can has the advantage of making the next potential defector think twice – particularly if they have a historical “batting average” of over .500 in doing so.

    The Tsarist/Soviet/Russian intelligence services have always been quite competent. Best I can tell, they only rarely waste their time on operations whose objective is revenge. Even Stalin’s elimination of Trotsky was more to eliminate a potential future ideological rival than due to any desire for revenge.

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      That’s a good point, Hondo. It seems like revenge to the average (me) person, because they’d have nothing left to cough up to the West.

      Unfortunately, this time, neither Sergei Skripal nor his daughter died of the nerve agent poisoning.

      There was a Soviet spy who defected to the West in the 20th century – don’t remember his name offhand, might have been Yurchenko – who managed to survive, but Yurchenko defected back to the USSR/KGB.

      • Hondo says:

        I think you can bet long odds that any Soviet “defector” who later re-defected to the USSR and survived afterwards was a sent agent vice a defector. The Soviets were quite ruthless in their treatment of turncoats and other “enemies of State Socialism”.

  4. NHSparky says:

    Not sure of the Russian equivalent, but, “Pour encourager les autres,” sure seems to fit here.

  5. rgr769 says:

    I did a little research on the link you provided and some other sites. It appears there were 4 Russian agents detained and then expelled from the Netherlands. They appear to have had electronic equipment to hack or intercept communications of a chemical weapons compliance/investigative org in Holland. None of them have actually been verified to be the Russians the Brits claim were the nerve agent assassins. But the media is spinning the story to report that they are some of the Russian purported cyber-spies that hacked the DNC emails and are defendants in Mulear’s bogus Russian show indictment. Which is merely media bunk and wishful thinking, as the Dutch don’t even know their true identities.

    • rgr769 says:

      The two Ruskies the Brits claim are the Novachuk assassins (who were not among those four briefly detained in Holland) are still in Russia and will never be prosecuted for the poisonings.

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      ” But the media is spinning the story to report that they are some of the Russian purported cyber-spies that hacked the DNC emails…”

      Now, THAT alone is fascinating, the way the media peeps make stuff up. I’ll have to see what I can find on that. Thanks for the tip!

  6. Docduracoat says:

    Bellingcat is a fascinating web site.
    It is amazing what is available through open source internet search and image matching.
    They found the passport numbers, differing in only one number of these two agents.
    With the phone number of the GRU spy agency as a number on the passports.
    Along with automobile registrations using their real names and the GRU address and phone number as the registered address.
    There is also an interesting discussion thread about manufacturing Sarin and is it possible for Syrian rebels to do it.
    (Like the Japanese cult did in the subway attack)
    Lots of great stuff there.

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