The recent expulsion of four Russian diplomats from the UK by Gordon Brown, may well be seen as an indicator of strength and integrity in Britain’s new prime minister. After all, it’s hardly cricket for ex-Soviet spies to go around London poisoning other ex-Soviet spies at will, and Russia’s refusal to turn Andrei Lugovoi over to the British judicial system for the murder of Alexander Litvinenko can only be seen as the expected response of a dictatorial Soviet system.
At least, that’s what Mister Brown and his government would have us believe. The truth is, perhaps, a little more politically complex.
In the last few years, Russia has asked the UK for the extradition of twenty-one Soviet citizens wanted in their own country on various charges. Not least of these, is Boris Berezovsky. He is wanted on charges of embezzlement and fraud back in Russia, but is presently dividing his time between his luxurious “office” in London’s Mayfair district, and a $20,000,000 mansion in the affluent county of Surrey in southern England. This “pad” is equipped with bullet-proof windows, laser monitors, spy cameras, reinforced steel doors, and is guarded by ex-members of the elite French Foreign Legion.
Berezovsky has openly fomented revolution against the Russian government, stating violence is the only way to overthrow the Putin regime. It seems Boris Berezovsky is no stranger to violence.
In December 1996, a Russian journalist Paul Klebnikov wrote an article about Berezovsky in Forbes Magazine. It was entitled, “Godfather of the Kremlin?” In it, Klebnikov explains the methods that brought Berezovsky his millions, and names just a few who died in the process. Although Forbes was forced to recant the allegations when Berezovsky sued for libel, Klebnikov later expanded the article into a book of the same title. Berezovsky failed to sue Klebnikov on this occasion. Instead, the journalist was shot to death on a Russian street.
There seems to be a wealth of evidence suggesting Berezovsky’s involvement in many illegal matters, least of all the death of Paul Klebnikov, yet the British government refuses to deny him refugee status and allows him to live openly and freely in the UK.
Might it have something to do with his alliance to the Bush family of America? In 2003, the same year he was granted refugee status in Britain, Berezovsky became entwined with George W Bush’s younger brother, Neil, assisting in financing the educational software corporation, “Ignite! Learning” – the very same company that Barbara Bush, when she ungenerously donated to the Bush-Clinton Hurricane Katrina Fund, insisted her money be given to.
It would seem wherever he goes, Boris Berezovsky moves in the very highest of circles. By refusing extradition of just this one man alone, the British government has thumbed its nose at Vladimir Putin and shown its utter disrespect for a fellow member of the UN Security Council.
The expulsion of four Russian diplomats this week may be viewed by uninformed voters in the UK as the decision of a strong leader, but when the facts are uncovered it can also be seen as a sop veiling a weak government kowtowing to a rich and deadly criminal with good transatlantic connections.
NOTE: In late breaking news today, that king of British gutter-press newspapers, The Sun published an “Exclusive” story claiming Berezovsky was the near-victim of an assassination attempt by Russian agents at London’s Hilton Hotel recently. As yet, the story lacks both credibility and evidence to support it. Interestingly, The Sun is owned by News International, which in turn is owned by Rupert Murdoch, who just happens to be a longtime friend and business associate of Boris Berezovsky.
Filed under: Political corruption