One thing most people who spent any time in post Perestroika, post 1998 Rouble collapse Russia can broadly agree on is that the situation there was pretty shit.
Moscow had a Dodge City air about the place, policemen weren’t being paid, human life was cheap, and the only people who appeared to have money in their pocket, a lot of money, were sleazy gangsters and people working for carpetbagging Western businesses, including me, who would find themselves sitting next to some rather ‘colourful’ characters in bars and restaurants.
Outside of Moscow, life was even more shit and ordinary people took to drinking wood chip alcohol hoping that it would all go away. And for many it did.
No, it wasn’t nice at all.
And, sitting on top of this whorehouse of corruption and despair were the Oligarchs.
An unsavoury bunch of fuckers who had looted Russia blind whilst Yeltsin was too drunk to notice or care.
And then Putin came to power.
Or rather Putin was given power by the Oligarchs, who seemed to be labouring under the impression that he was a mate of theirs.
And then, for reasons only known to Putin, he turned around and reamed them.
And it comes as absolutely no surprise that the number one exile destination for those reamed, sleazy, corrupt, gangster Oligarch fuckers was London.
Welcome to my city boys, we love ya!
Yes, London, a place where a man who has looted billions from his countrymen and is wanted for murder, theft and fraud in his home country can walk tall, shop in Bond Street, buy a football team and generally carry on as if his farts smell of rose petals.
Curiously, the Oligarchs are the one group of asylum seekers who often receive pretty sympathetic treatment in the British Press.
However, as fine a time as these Oligarchs are having here in Blighty some of them still have a score to settle with Putin and there’s also the small issue of all that lovely oil and gas the Russians are sitting on top of not being managed by the right sort of people who understand how the World works.
Which gets me onto the subject of fugu and a story that’s being splashed all over the mainstream media today
A former Russian KGB colonel living in Britain and poisoned by the toxic chemical thallium has returned to intensive care, doctors have said.
Alexander Litvinenko, 43 - a vocal critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin - fell ill on 1 November after a meeting at a London sushi bar
(As an aside, Litvinenko is co-author of the book 'Blowing Up Russia - Terror from Within' which accuses the Russian intelligence services of staging false-flag Muslim terrorist bombings in the late 1990's - not many of the reports covering his alleged poisoning get round to that)
About five seconds of research connects Litvinenko with a guy called Alex Goldfarb and an organisation called the International Foundation for Civil Liberties – both of which are bankrolled by Boris Berezovsky.
A very sleazy oligarch indeed
Boris is the man who
- cheated thousands of ordinary Russians out of their life savings
- benefited from one or two conveniently-timed and unsolved murders
- is wanted in Russia for fraud and corruption
- bought all those matching orange flags and t shirts and a couple of newspapers used in the spontaneous popular uprisings in the Ukraine (that would be the spontaneous popular uprising triggered by another alleged botched FSB poisoining – fuck me, those guys really have to find some better poisons)
- then tried to spark an incident between Russia and the Ukraine by putting in for a Ukrainian residence visa from the newly bought government
- tried a similar stunt in Latvia by turning up with his business partner Neil Bush (George’s brother) and prancing around Riga then bottling out just before the Russians sent a few boys over in helicopters to arrest him
- has spent a healthy amount of money buying entire newspapers in the East and individual journalists in the West with a view to portraying (democratically elected) Putin as a vicious despot and (far from democratically elected) Berezovsky as a fearless campaigner for democracy and civil rights
and so on and so on
Now the question is this - How is it that little old me sitting in my poxy flat in Lambeth can make a direct, and I believe rational, connection between the alleged poisoning in London and a sleazy billionaire douchebag fixer who’s obsessed with overthrowing the existing Russian government and going back to the Good Old Days and none of the newspapers can?
I'm not sure what pisses me off most. The fact that my country, my government, has given haven to Berezovsky, his mates and, more to the point, all that stolen money or the fact that its so easy to jerk us all off through the media. I think it's probably a draw.
(file under - People who write about this bloke get shot)