Sorry, the public-inquiry report only says that the 2006 murder was ‘probably’ approved by Putin. Now there’s a surprise.
‘Probably’ means we aren’t sure, there exist other possibilities worth considering. I struggle to think what they might be, but hey, God didn’t give man creative imagination for nothing.
Exercising mine, I propose that Litvinenko’s death might have been suicide. He was so overcome by guilt over his anti-Putin activities that life became unbearable.
First he exposed in a series of articles Putin’s profitable links with organised crime, which are so intimate that it’s no longer possible to see where the Mafia ends and Russia’s government begins.
Then, in his book Blowing Up Russia, he accused Putin of having bombs planted in Russian blocks of flats to lay the blame on the Chechens, thereby kicking off the second Chechen war and tightening his hold on power.
And then, as the last straw, Litivinenko began to gather a dossier documenting Putin’s career in the KGB that, according to some of the documents, slowed down at some point following some homosexual shenanigans.
Litivnenko took stock of what he had done, and the enormity of it all dawned upon him. There he was, besmirching the limpid reputation of a man so admired by the right, the left and Peter Hitchens. The strong, traditionally Christian leader, respected by Nigel Farage and Marine Le Pen – the kind of leader Hitchens, Booker and Corbyn wished we had in Britain.
That was too much shame to bear. Even a quick bullet through the head was too easy a punishment for such calumny, decided Litvinenko. Hence he had that last cup of tea with his two Russian friends and former KGB colleagues Lugovoi and Kovtun, went to a local chemist’s, bought some OTC polonium-200, swallowed it and died, having first endured inhuman agony for three weeks.
A likely story? No? Wait, I have others up my sleeve. Two Martians… no, that doesn’t work. Upon mature deliberation, nothing does.
There is no ‘probably’ about it, chaps. Alexander Litvinenko was murdered on Putin’s orders by Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitry Kovtun, the first now a ‘parliamentarian’, the second a ‘businessman’. (The quotation commas, in case you’re wondering, are there to say that there’s no real parliament in Russia, and precious little business outside the governing KGB-Mafia junta.)
Let’s not be surprised about it either. What if a zoological inquiry established that lions devour weaker animals and adders sting those they don’t like? We wouldn’t be surprised then, would we?
Russia, ladies and gentlemen, is governed by the KGB, the most murderous organisation in history. There are more KGB officers in the Russian government (85 per cent) than there are lawyers in the US Congress (43 per cent). Russia’s KGB rule is even more pervasive than the rule of law is in America.
And murder is encoded into the KGB’s DNA as indelibly as carnivorism is encoded into the DNA of predatory animals. For Putin, murdering Litvinenko wasn’t a likely reaction, nor a probable one. It was the most – nay, the only – natural thing to do.
The response to the report on the part of some of our media is well-nigh emetic. One detects the fear that by calling a murderer a murderer we risk losing Putin’s invaluable support in Syria.
One would have thought that even in our reduced circumstances we have sufficient capability to bomb Syrian villages flat, which is exactly what Putin is doing in the good tradition of his sponsoring organisation. Russian bombs have killed more Syrian civilians than ISIS has managed – a task to which the combined might of Nato is deemed to be inadequate.
The Foreign Office is scared of souring Britain’s relations with Russia. Perish the thought. What, spoil our friendship with a regime that regularly threatens the West with nuclear annihilation and, by way of foretaste, commits nuclear terrorism in the middle of London to murder a British subject? Who would ever want to be so unfriendly?
The only sensible way of dealing with the first kleptofascist regime in history is introducing a quarantine to limit its toxic influence on the West. Any prospective Russian visitor must be vetted and have his visa denied if there is any suspicion of any links with either the ‘klepto’ or the ‘fascist’ part.
Any Russian with KGB associations must be banned from entry as a matter of course – regardless of his current position in business or government.
Our foreign policy must proceed from the same principle on a larger scale. Rather than meekly submitting to the nuclear blackmail that has been the linchpin of Russia’s foreign policy since she was ruled by Stalin, Putin’s idol, we must build up our military muscle and confront the blackmailer with stern resolve.
In trade, we must impose a total boycott on Russian goods and persuade our transatlantic and European partners to do the same. A country must be civilised to be part of a civilised world – and Russia isn’t.
None of this is going to happen of course. We’ll make some indignant noises, perhaps impose sanctions on a few Russian officials, complain to the UN. In short, we’ll act with the same craven spinelessness we’ve always displayed towards Russia.
One does wonder though what Putin’s Western champions think of him now. What they’ve always thought, would be my guess.