RUSSIA (OBSERVATORY) – By now, Russia has put forward more than 30 versions of Sergey Skripal’s poisoning. This is a classic example of a disinformation technique that has remained since Stalin’s times, which is called masking and which aims to sow confusion and uncertainty.
The UK version, on the other hand, remains extremely simple: Russia organized and carried out this assassination attempt using the “Novice” poison agent, which was developed in Russia. “Only Russia has the technical means, practical experience and motive for an attempt on the Violins … The likelihood that the Russian state is responsible for it is very large,” wrote Sir Mark Sedwill, British adviser on national security issues, his letter to NATO.
However, behind a completely logical assumption of Russia’s guilt lies a whole series of other probabilities and questions that remain unanswered. Who exactly put the poison? Who of the representatives of the Kremlin ordered this attack? And why did it happen just now?
On March 12, a week after the poisoning, Theresa May proposed only two versions of the events: “Either it was a direct act of the Russian state against our country, or, which is quite possible, the Russian government has lost control of this potentially catastrophically dangerous nerve poisonous substance, and it fell into the wrong hands. ”
But between these two versions there is a whole series of probabilities within which Russia – in an as yet undefined degree – could indulge, assist, prompt, arm, nudge or protect the killers. There are several reasons why this assassination attempt does not look like a typical Russian “wet deal”, that is, a state-sanctioned murder. First, the attempt was unsuccessful, and it was carried out remarkably carelessly. Applied poison was very easy to identify and associate with Russia. One of the victims was a member of the family of a former spy, and Russian (and Soviet) killers usually tried to avoid it.
The version that Vladimir Putin ordered the attempt on the Skripal, to further strengthen its position on the eve of the presidential elections, is far-fetched. From the very beginning it was clear that he would win a confident victory. Moreover, there is always a risk that a specific order will be traced to the very top, and Putin has always been able to avoid this.
This poisoning seriously damaged the work of its global intelligence network, because in response to it, Western countries sent a total of 153 Russian diplomats suspected of espionage, which was the largest collective expulsion of Russian spies in history. It will take Russia several years to rebuild its reconnaissance network. It is unlikely that Putin wanted to achieve this.
Compared to the version of direct order, a much more plausible version seems to be an explanation in the spirit of Henry II: who will save me from these naughty spies? At some point in the past, perhaps even quite a long time ago, the Kremlin probably made it clear – directly or covertly – that the hunting season for “traitors” is open; that the murders of double spies will not only not be punished, but even, perhaps, will be encouraged. Perhaps, as in the case of the murder of Thomas Becket, Putin did not care who committed the murder, how and even whom he would kill, and he kept aloof, creating a political atmosphere in which others do their dirty work. But who?
The Ukrainian thread. Pro-Russian separatists in the east of Ukraine, enjoying the support of Moscow, are interested in driving a wedge between Moscow and the West. There were some signs, though rather vague, that Putin was considering the possibility of some kind of compromise in the Ukrainian conflict. Now this scenario seems almost impossible because of the diplomatic consequences of the poisoning of the Violins, and this is exactly what the pro-Russian separatists needed.
Donbass is very far from Salisbury, but the consequences of this episode are a continuation of the Ukrainian conflict.
Syrian thread. Even if the pro-Russian militiamen in the east of Ukraine can benefit from the consequences of the attempt at the Violins, then Bashar al-Assad should be even more satisfied. This incident further strengthened the wicked union of Syria and Russia, and under conditions of sizzling criticism from the West, Putin emphatically confirmed his readiness to support the Syrian regime.
Syria is an expert on the murder of people with the help of chemicals, which was once again confirmed by the attack in the Duma. The connections between Damascus and Moscow in the military sphere are close and in the course of time they become even closer. At the time when Russia was developing the “Beginner” in the early 1980s, Bashar Hafez’s father used chemical weapons to crush the Sunni uprising in Hama. If anyone could get chemical weapons from Russia without asking questions, then this is Syria.
Was this attempt somehow connected with Syria? Was it implemented in order to appease Putin and thereby strengthen the alliance on which the fate of the Assad regime depends?
Military thread. The violin was not just a spy. He was a spy who worked simultaneously on and against the Russian military machine. He was a paratrooper, a veteran of the Soviet war in Afghanistan, a career officer in the GRU. The people he betrayed, collaborating with MI6, were his GRU comrades, and he continued to work for British intelligence even after retiring when he began working in a regional government – his former commander helped him get that position.
Like all the other veterans, the people who served in Afghanistan were connected by a very strong connection, established for the 10 terrible years they had in Afghanistan. Russian veterans of the war in Afghanistan refer to it in much the same way as American veterans refer to the war in Vietnam: it was a failed military company that claimed many lives, during which strong comradely relations were established between people, and civilians simply can not understand this. The violinist did not just betray his country. From the perspective of his comrades in Afghanistan, he betrayed the sacred bonds that bind him to his brothers in arms. The “novice” was designed for military purposes, and, perhaps, the military and applied it against Skripal.
The victims of the murders usually know their killers, and the main drawback of the plan of the murderers of Skripal was that he survived. As soon as he regains consciousness, this Russian spy will be filled with questions that, in essence, will be reduced to one: who did it?