Coalition of the Confused

Hosted by Jenifer (Zarknorph)

Confused malcontents swilling Chardonnay while awaiting the Zombie Apocalypse.

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Russia    The U.K and Europe

Started 3/28/18 by Jenifer (Zarknorph); 59027 views.
Jenifer (Zarknorph)

From: Jenifer (Zarknorph)


Vladimir Putin stands in the snow.

I've been meaning to cover this for weeks, but it's just a clusterfuck!

It starts here...

A former Russian spy is in critical condition after coming into contact with an "unknown substance", British media and sources say, in a case that immediately drew parallels to the poisoning of former Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko.

Key points:

  • Skripal was convicted in Russia in 2006 of spying for Britain
  • He was later freed in Cold War style spy swap
  • Two victims currently in intensive care

Authorities did not identify the man, saying only that he and a woman were found unconscious on Sunday afternoon on a bench in a shopping mall in Salisbury, an English city about 145 kilometres west of London.

But the Press Association and other British media identified him as Sergei Skripal, 66, who was convicted in Russia on charges of spying for Britain and sentenced in 2006 to 13 years in prison.

Skripal was freed in 2010 as part of a Cold War-style spy swap in Vienna.


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Jenifer (Zarknorph)

From: Jenifer (Zarknorph)


Then another one...

A Russian businessman who was associated with a prominent critic of the Kremlin has died in London, his lawyer has said.

Key points:

  • Nikolai Glushkov was close ally of Putin critic Boris Berezovsky
  • Police treating death as unexplained, have put counter-terrorism detectives in charge of case
  • Death came as Amber Rudd announced investigation into string of Russian deaths on UK soil

Police are treating the death as unexplained and have put counter-terrorism detectives in charge of the case.

But police said there was no evidence to suggest a link to the March 4 poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter.

Attorney Andrei Borovkov told Russian media outlets his client, Nikolai Glushkov, had died, but said he was unaware of the time and circumstances.

London's Metropolitan Police force said counter-terrorism detectives were leading the investigation, "as a precaution because of associations that the man is believed to have had".

Reports in British and Russian media said Mr Glushkov, who was in his late 60s, was found dead at his home in south-west London.

Police said officers were investigating the "unexplained" death of a man found at a house in the New Malden area late on Monday (local time).

It did not release his name, saying formal identification had yet to take place

Mr Glushkov was an associate of Boris Berezovsky, a Russian oligarch and Kremlin critic who died in London in 2013. An inquest failed to determine whether he had killed himself or died from foul play.


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Jenifer (Zarknorph)

From: Jenifer (Zarknorph)


Then people started to look at other enemies of Putin...

The FSB defector

Poisoned: The condition of Alexander Litvinenko has worsened.

Sergei Skripal has not exactly become a household name in his adopted homeland of England, but the news of his apparent poisoning invokes a sense of deja vu for the British because how closely his story resembles that of the targeted assassination of Alexander Litvinenko.

Litvinenko had been an officer in Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB), the successor to the KGB, before he too was arrested after exposing a plot to assassinate a Russian tycoon.

After a nine-month incarceration, Litvinenko was acquitted and released.

The outspoken Kremlin critic later moved to the United Kingdom, where he is alleged to have been investigating Russian mafia activities in Spain.

He fell ill in November 2006 after drinking a tea laced with the rare radioactive substance polonium-210 and died three weeks later.

Litvinenko's widow told an inquest into his death that he was paid 2000 pounds a month by a British intelligence service, which the BBC later identified as MI6, to act as an informant.

In 2016, the inquest concluded that Litvinenko had been murdered by FSB agents with the probable approval of the Russian President.

The Kremlin has repeatedly denied any involvement in Litvinenko's murder.


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Jenifer (Zarknorph)

From: Jenifer (Zarknorph)


The investigative journalist

Unlike Litvinenko and Mr Skripal, Anna Politkovskaya was neither a former spy nor an informant to Western agencies.

She was a Russian journalist, the daughter of two UN diplomats, who made an international reputation for reporting on abuse by Russian troops during the Second Chechen War.

As a writer, Politkovskaya never attempted to hide her contempt for Mr Putin whom she accused of using the same thuggish tactics he learned as a KGB agent when he became President to silence critics.

She doggedly continued publishing journalism even after she was detained in Chechnya in 2001, where she was beaten by Russian military troops, and then poisoned on a flight in 2004.

But in 2006, Politkovskaya was fatally shot in the lift of her Moscow apartment building, in what was widely perceived to be a contract killing.

Following a number of trials and acquittals, five men were eventually convicted in 2014 for carrying out the killing.

But the identity of who ultimately ordered the assassination remains unknown.

The opposition leader

Boris Nemtsov was a leading opposition figure in Russia and one of Mr Putin's most vocal critics.

He was appointed by Boris Yeltsin as a provincial governor for Nizhny Novgorod when he was only 32 years old, and quickly embarked on a "laboratory of reforms" for the region.

Nemtsov pursued early post-Soviet privatisation reforms and rose in prominence throughout the 90s, until Yeltsin finally promoted him to the role of deputy prime minister in 1997.

But his upward trajectory wasn't to last: the economic crisis the following year cost him his job.

Not long after Mr Putin became President in 1999, Nemtsov assumed the role of a strident opposition figure, but his electoral fortunes plummeted over the next few years, and he left politics for business.

Re-emerging into Russian political life in 2011, Nemtsov denounced Mr Putin for fomenting bloodshed in the Ukraine civil war and the corrupt business dealings behind the Sochi Olympic Games.

Just before midnight on 27 February, 2015, Mr Nemtsov was crossing a bridge near the Kremlin, when he was shot fatally four times in the back by multiple assailants, in what was the most prominent political assassination since Mr Putin came to power.

His murder was publicly condemned by Mr Putin, who announced he would assume "personal control" of the investigation into Nemtsov's death.

Last year five Chechen men were finally convicted of his murder, but his family and allies argue that the police investigation has failed to identify who ordered his killing.

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Jenifer (Zarknorph)

From: Jenifer (Zarknorph)


Then Britain got pissed off.


Britain is to kick out 23 Russian diplomats, the biggest such expulsion since the Cold War, over a chemical attack on a former Russian double agent in England that Prime Minister Theresa May has blamed on Moscow.

Key points:

  • May says no British ministers or royals to attend World Cup
  • Moscow says it could in turn expel 23 British diplomats
  • Experts cast doubt over effectiveness of UK action

Ms May pointed the finger firmly at Russian President Vladimir Putin overnight as she outlined retaliatory measures in Parliament.

Russia denies any involvement in the attack on ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, who have been in a critical condition in hospital since they were found unconscious on March 4 on a bench in the southern English city of Salisbury.

Ms May announced the potential freezing of Russian state assets that pose a security threat, new laws to counter hostile state activity and said British ministers and royals would not attend the football World Cup in Russia later this year.

She had given Moscow until midnight on Tuesday to explain how the Soviet-made Novichok nerve agent came to be deployed on the streets of Salisbury, saying either the Russian state was responsible or had lost control of a stock of the substance.

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Jenifer (Zarknorph)

From: Jenifer (Zarknorph)


We joined in...

The Federal Government is expelling two Russian spies from Australia within a week, in solidarity with the United Kingdom over a nerve agent attack earlier this month.

Key points:

  • PM, Foreign Minister confirmed two Russian spies would be directed to leave within seven days
  • More than a dozen European nations and the US have already expelled Russian diplomats
  • Russia issued a statement strongly condemning the action from other countries

The Prime Minister and Foreign Minister released a joint statement this morning confirming two diplomats had been identified as undeclared intelligence officers and would be "directed to depart Australia within seven days".

Australia's actions mirror the response taken by the United States and more than a dozen European nations in response to the attempted murder of a Russian double agent and his daughter in Salisbury in England.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his deputy Julie Bishop spoke this afternoon about the decision, saying it would send a "clear and unequivocal message" to Russia.


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Jenifer (Zarknorph)

From: Jenifer (Zarknorph)


Then more...


Who is taking action?


The United States and more than a dozen European nations have kicked out Russian diplomats, with the Trump administration also ordering Russia's consulate in Seattle to close, as the West sought joint punishment for Moscow's alleged role in the poisoning of an ex-spy in Britain.

Key points:

  • The White House says the expulsion will "make the United States safer"
  • The expelled Russians will have seven days to leave the US
  • 14 EU member nations are also expelling Russian diplomatic staff

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Jenifer (Zarknorph)

From: Jenifer (Zarknorph)


And tit for tat.  Where did that saying even come from?

Russia promises 'symmetrical' response

European Council President Donald Tusk said further measures could be taken in the coming weeks and months.

Russia said it would respond in kind.

"The response will be symmetrical. We will work on it in the coming days and will respond to every country in turn," the RIA news agency cited an unnamed Foreign Ministry source as saying.

The Russian embassy in the United States asked Twitter followers to vote what US consulates they would close in Russia, if they could decide.

Besides the embassy in Moscow, the United States has three consulate generals in Russia.

The Kremlin has accused Britain of whipping up an anti-Russia campaign and has sought to cast doubt on the British analysis that Moscow was responsible.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova suggested in a post on Facebook that the EU's expression of support for Britain was misguided given it would be leaving the bloc next year.

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Jenifer (Zarknorph)

From: Jenifer (Zarknorph)


Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal likely poisoned at front door


The Russian ex-spy and his daughter left critically ill in a nerve agent attack three weeks ago were probably poisoned at the front door of their home, British police say.

Key points:

  • Police have searched numerous sites including pub, restaurant and cemetery
  • Russia says it's in no hurry to retaliate for expulsion of its diplomats
  • Moscow says UK secret service may have been behind attack

It was the first time police have said where they thought Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia might have been poisoned.

The highest concentration of nerve agent found so far was on the Skripals' front door in Salisbury, and detectives plan to focus their investigation in the surrounding area, London's Metropolitan Police force said in a statement.

"At this point in our investigation, we believe the Skripals first came in contact with the nerve agent from their front door," deputy assistant commissioner Dean Haydon said in the statement.

"We are therefore focusing much of our efforts in and around their address."

Police have also searched a variety of sites around Salisbury, including a pub, a restaurant and a cemetery.

As horrible as it is, at least whoever is responsible didn't carry out the attack in a public park.