Daily Archives: December 9, 2006

Kremlin’s Youth Cult on the Rampage

The Financial Times reports on the rampage against British diplomats by the Kremlin’s crazed youth cult “Nashi” (“We Russian Slavs“) in the wake of the Litvinenko killing.

They don’t look too dangerous in the propaganda photo, do they? Stalin looked quite dapper in his moustache too, and remember the perils of the mermaid’s siren song! But read on, dear reader, read on . . . let the facts speak for themselves.

It was shortly after Anthony Brenton, Britain’s ambassador to Moscow, spoke about the challenges to freedom in Russia that a young blond man thrust himself forward and started to yell at the top of his voice: “Brenton, apologise!”

The stunt this week at the Humanities University in Moscow – where Mr Brenton was speaking alongside Sir Tom Stoppard, the British playwright whose trilogy about 19th-century Russian thinkers is being staged in Moscow – was not a one-off prank by an attention-seeking youth. It was part of a well-organised harassment campaign against the ambassador, apparently waged with the knowledge of the Kremlin, that is a striking symptom of the worsening relationship between Moscow and London.

The young man was a member of Nashi (“Our Own”): a Kremlin-sponsored youth movement with a well-earned reputation for thuggery. The organisation, which claims to have 7,000 active members and another 8,000 sympathisers has been stalking the UK ambassador seven days a week for the past four months, putting him and his family under considerable strain. “It is a deliberate psychological harassment which is done professionally and which borders on violence,” says Mr Brenton.

Robert Shlegel, of Nashi, whose leaders regularly meet President Vladimir Putin, says this is retribution for Mr Brenton. The British ambassador was “guilty” of speaking at a conference of political opposition parties in Moscow shortly before the summit of Group of Eight leading industrialised countries in St Petersburg in the summer. Igor Shuvalov, an aide to Mr Putin, warned that attending the event – as several western ambassadors did – would be interpreted as an unfriendly act. No sooner had the G8 leaders left Russia than Nashi began its campaign, demanding an apology from the UK ambassador for “endorsing fascists”.

The Nashi case is one part of the souring in Anglo-Russian relations. London’s granting in 2003 of political asylum to Boris Berezovsky, the renegade oligarch, and Akhmed Zakayev, a Chechen opposition leader, infuriated Moscow. British Council offices in Moscow were raided in response and UK diplomats publicly accused of espionage. Images of a radio transmitter disguised as a rock allegedly planted by British spies were later broadcast by Russian state television.

The British investigation of the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko, the former KGB officer, is likely to strain the relationship further. Spy rows and expulsions featured regularly in Anglo-Russian relations in Soviet times. But former British diplomats say that even the communists did not use personal intimidation and harassment of ambassadors and their families. Nashi members follow Mr Brenton with banners at weekends, shout abuse at him, block his car and advertise all his movements on the internet.

Earlier this month a group of Nashi supporters followed Mr Brenton to another city, disrupting a seminar where he spoke. “I was really worried they were going to hurt him,” the organiser of the seminar said. The British embassy has officially complained to the Russian foreign ministry, pointing out that Moscow is breaking the Vienna convention on diplomatic relations, which demands that foreign envoys be treated with “due respect” and shielded from attacks on their “person, freedom and dignity”.

Foreign ministry officials privately agree that Nashi’s behaviour is outrageous and goes well beyond peaceful protest. But they claim there is little they can do: Nashi is too close to the Kremlin. It has close ties with Vladislav Surkov, the deputy head of the Kremlin administration, as well as Mr Putin himself. Nashi said it supported the Kremlin line, met Mr Surkov regularly and received funding from “large, nationally oriented companies”. Its main task was to prevent the spread of “colour revolutions” of the kind that swept Ukraine and Georgia.

The word Nashi has a rich and poignant history, featuring in the novels of Dostoevsky. It was used in the early 1990s by Alexander Nevzorov, a crusading TV presenter, to extol Russian paratroopers trying to suppress popular uprisings in the Baltic states. Nashi claims that it is building a civil society in Russia and fighting against fascism. However, as Sir Tom put it, for people like these, “unpalatable argument is fascism – interrupting the speaker is the exercise of free speech”.

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Kremlin’s Youth Cult on the Rampage

The Financial Times reports on the rampage against British diplomats by the Kremlin’s crazed youth cult “Nashi” (“We Russian Slavs“) in the wake of the Litvinenko killing.

They don’t look too dangerous in the propaganda photo, do they? Stalin looked quite dapper in his moustache too, and remember the perils of the mermaid’s siren song! But read on, dear reader, read on . . . let the facts speak for themselves.

It was shortly after Anthony Brenton, Britain’s ambassador to Moscow, spoke about the challenges to freedom in Russia that a young blond man thrust himself forward and started to yell at the top of his voice: “Brenton, apologise!”

The stunt this week at the Humanities University in Moscow – where Mr Brenton was speaking alongside Sir Tom Stoppard, the British playwright whose trilogy about 19th-century Russian thinkers is being staged in Moscow – was not a one-off prank by an attention-seeking youth. It was part of a well-organised harassment campaign against the ambassador, apparently waged with the knowledge of the Kremlin, that is a striking symptom of the worsening relationship between Moscow and London.

The young man was a member of Nashi (“Our Own”): a Kremlin-sponsored youth movement with a well-earned reputation for thuggery. The organisation, which claims to have 7,000 active members and another 8,000 sympathisers has been stalking the UK ambassador seven days a week for the past four months, putting him and his family under considerable strain. “It is a deliberate psychological harassment which is done professionally and which borders on violence,” says Mr Brenton.

Robert Shlegel, of Nashi, whose leaders regularly meet President Vladimir Putin, says this is retribution for Mr Brenton. The British ambassador was “guilty” of speaking at a conference of political opposition parties in Moscow shortly before the summit of Group of Eight leading industrialised countries in St Petersburg in the summer. Igor Shuvalov, an aide to Mr Putin, warned that attending the event – as several western ambassadors did – would be interpreted as an unfriendly act. No sooner had the G8 leaders left Russia than Nashi began its campaign, demanding an apology from the UK ambassador for “endorsing fascists”.

The Nashi case is one part of the souring in Anglo-Russian relations. London’s granting in 2003 of political asylum to Boris Berezovsky, the renegade oligarch, and Akhmed Zakayev, a Chechen opposition leader, infuriated Moscow. British Council offices in Moscow were raided in response and UK diplomats publicly accused of espionage. Images of a radio transmitter disguised as a rock allegedly planted by British spies were later broadcast by Russian state television.

The British investigation of the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko, the former KGB officer, is likely to strain the relationship further. Spy rows and expulsions featured regularly in Anglo-Russian relations in Soviet times. But former British diplomats say that even the communists did not use personal intimidation and harassment of ambassadors and their families. Nashi members follow Mr Brenton with banners at weekends, shout abuse at him, block his car and advertise all his movements on the internet.

Earlier this month a group of Nashi supporters followed Mr Brenton to another city, disrupting a seminar where he spoke. “I was really worried they were going to hurt him,” the organiser of the seminar said. The British embassy has officially complained to the Russian foreign ministry, pointing out that Moscow is breaking the Vienna convention on diplomatic relations, which demands that foreign envoys be treated with “due respect” and shielded from attacks on their “person, freedom and dignity”.

Foreign ministry officials privately agree that Nashi’s behaviour is outrageous and goes well beyond peaceful protest. But they claim there is little they can do: Nashi is too close to the Kremlin. It has close ties with Vladislav Surkov, the deputy head of the Kremlin administration, as well as Mr Putin himself. Nashi said it supported the Kremlin line, met Mr Surkov regularly and received funding from “large, nationally oriented companies”. Its main task was to prevent the spread of “colour revolutions” of the kind that swept Ukraine and Georgia.

The word Nashi has a rich and poignant history, featuring in the novels of Dostoevsky. It was used in the early 1990s by Alexander Nevzorov, a crusading TV presenter, to extol Russian paratroopers trying to suppress popular uprisings in the Baltic states. Nashi claims that it is building a civil society in Russia and fighting against fascism. However, as Sir Tom put it, for people like these, “unpalatable argument is fascism – interrupting the speaker is the exercise of free speech”.

Kremlin’s Youth Cult on the Rampage

The Financial Times reports on the rampage against British diplomats by the Kremlin’s crazed youth cult “Nashi” (“We Russian Slavs“) in the wake of the Litvinenko killing.

They don’t look too dangerous in the propaganda photo, do they? Stalin looked quite dapper in his moustache too, and remember the perils of the mermaid’s siren song! But read on, dear reader, read on . . . let the facts speak for themselves.

It was shortly after Anthony Brenton, Britain’s ambassador to Moscow, spoke about the challenges to freedom in Russia that a young blond man thrust himself forward and started to yell at the top of his voice: “Brenton, apologise!”

The stunt this week at the Humanities University in Moscow – where Mr Brenton was speaking alongside Sir Tom Stoppard, the British playwright whose trilogy about 19th-century Russian thinkers is being staged in Moscow – was not a one-off prank by an attention-seeking youth. It was part of a well-organised harassment campaign against the ambassador, apparently waged with the knowledge of the Kremlin, that is a striking symptom of the worsening relationship between Moscow and London.

The young man was a member of Nashi (“Our Own”): a Kremlin-sponsored youth movement with a well-earned reputation for thuggery. The organisation, which claims to have 7,000 active members and another 8,000 sympathisers has been stalking the UK ambassador seven days a week for the past four months, putting him and his family under considerable strain. “It is a deliberate psychological harassment which is done professionally and which borders on violence,” says Mr Brenton.

Robert Shlegel, of Nashi, whose leaders regularly meet President Vladimir Putin, says this is retribution for Mr Brenton. The British ambassador was “guilty” of speaking at a conference of political opposition parties in Moscow shortly before the summit of Group of Eight leading industrialised countries in St Petersburg in the summer. Igor Shuvalov, an aide to Mr Putin, warned that attending the event – as several western ambassadors did – would be interpreted as an unfriendly act. No sooner had the G8 leaders left Russia than Nashi began its campaign, demanding an apology from the UK ambassador for “endorsing fascists”.

The Nashi case is one part of the souring in Anglo-Russian relations. London’s granting in 2003 of political asylum to Boris Berezovsky, the renegade oligarch, and Akhmed Zakayev, a Chechen opposition leader, infuriated Moscow. British Council offices in Moscow were raided in response and UK diplomats publicly accused of espionage. Images of a radio transmitter disguised as a rock allegedly planted by British spies were later broadcast by Russian state television.

The British investigation of the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko, the former KGB officer, is likely to strain the relationship further. Spy rows and expulsions featured regularly in Anglo-Russian relations in Soviet times. But former British diplomats say that even the communists did not use personal intimidation and harassment of ambassadors and their families. Nashi members follow Mr Brenton with banners at weekends, shout abuse at him, block his car and advertise all his movements on the internet.

Earlier this month a group of Nashi supporters followed Mr Brenton to another city, disrupting a seminar where he spoke. “I was really worried they were going to hurt him,” the organiser of the seminar said. The British embassy has officially complained to the Russian foreign ministry, pointing out that Moscow is breaking the Vienna convention on diplomatic relations, which demands that foreign envoys be treated with “due respect” and shielded from attacks on their “person, freedom and dignity”.

Foreign ministry officials privately agree that Nashi’s behaviour is outrageous and goes well beyond peaceful protest. But they claim there is little they can do: Nashi is too close to the Kremlin. It has close ties with Vladislav Surkov, the deputy head of the Kremlin administration, as well as Mr Putin himself. Nashi said it supported the Kremlin line, met Mr Surkov regularly and received funding from “large, nationally oriented companies”. Its main task was to prevent the spread of “colour revolutions” of the kind that swept Ukraine and Georgia.

The word Nashi has a rich and poignant history, featuring in the novels of Dostoevsky. It was used in the early 1990s by Alexander Nevzorov, a crusading TV presenter, to extol Russian paratroopers trying to suppress popular uprisings in the Baltic states. Nashi claims that it is building a civil society in Russia and fighting against fascism. However, as Sir Tom put it, for people like these, “unpalatable argument is fascism – interrupting the speaker is the exercise of free speech”.

Kremlin’s Youth Cult on the Rampage

The Financial Times reports on the rampage against British diplomats by the Kremlin’s crazed youth cult “Nashi” (“We Russian Slavs“) in the wake of the Litvinenko killing.

They don’t look too dangerous in the propaganda photo, do they? Stalin looked quite dapper in his moustache too, and remember the perils of the mermaid’s siren song! But read on, dear reader, read on . . . let the facts speak for themselves.

It was shortly after Anthony Brenton, Britain’s ambassador to Moscow, spoke about the challenges to freedom in Russia that a young blond man thrust himself forward and started to yell at the top of his voice: “Brenton, apologise!”

The stunt this week at the Humanities University in Moscow – where Mr Brenton was speaking alongside Sir Tom Stoppard, the British playwright whose trilogy about 19th-century Russian thinkers is being staged in Moscow – was not a one-off prank by an attention-seeking youth. It was part of a well-organised harassment campaign against the ambassador, apparently waged with the knowledge of the Kremlin, that is a striking symptom of the worsening relationship between Moscow and London.

The young man was a member of Nashi (“Our Own”): a Kremlin-sponsored youth movement with a well-earned reputation for thuggery. The organisation, which claims to have 7,000 active members and another 8,000 sympathisers has been stalking the UK ambassador seven days a week for the past four months, putting him and his family under considerable strain. “It is a deliberate psychological harassment which is done professionally and which borders on violence,” says Mr Brenton.

Robert Shlegel, of Nashi, whose leaders regularly meet President Vladimir Putin, says this is retribution for Mr Brenton. The British ambassador was “guilty” of speaking at a conference of political opposition parties in Moscow shortly before the summit of Group of Eight leading industrialised countries in St Petersburg in the summer. Igor Shuvalov, an aide to Mr Putin, warned that attending the event – as several western ambassadors did – would be interpreted as an unfriendly act. No sooner had the G8 leaders left Russia than Nashi began its campaign, demanding an apology from the UK ambassador for “endorsing fascists”.

The Nashi case is one part of the souring in Anglo-Russian relations. London’s granting in 2003 of political asylum to Boris Berezovsky, the renegade oligarch, and Akhmed Zakayev, a Chechen opposition leader, infuriated Moscow. British Council offices in Moscow were raided in response and UK diplomats publicly accused of espionage. Images of a radio transmitter disguised as a rock allegedly planted by British spies were later broadcast by Russian state television.

The British investigation of the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko, the former KGB officer, is likely to strain the relationship further. Spy rows and expulsions featured regularly in Anglo-Russian relations in Soviet times. But former British diplomats say that even the communists did not use personal intimidation and harassment of ambassadors and their families. Nashi members follow Mr Brenton with banners at weekends, shout abuse at him, block his car and advertise all his movements on the internet.

Earlier this month a group of Nashi supporters followed Mr Brenton to another city, disrupting a seminar where he spoke. “I was really worried they were going to hurt him,” the organiser of the seminar said. The British embassy has officially complained to the Russian foreign ministry, pointing out that Moscow is breaking the Vienna convention on diplomatic relations, which demands that foreign envoys be treated with “due respect” and shielded from attacks on their “person, freedom and dignity”.

Foreign ministry officials privately agree that Nashi’s behaviour is outrageous and goes well beyond peaceful protest. But they claim there is little they can do: Nashi is too close to the Kremlin. It has close ties with Vladislav Surkov, the deputy head of the Kremlin administration, as well as Mr Putin himself. Nashi said it supported the Kremlin line, met Mr Surkov regularly and received funding from “large, nationally oriented companies”. Its main task was to prevent the spread of “colour revolutions” of the kind that swept Ukraine and Georgia.

The word Nashi has a rich and poignant history, featuring in the novels of Dostoevsky. It was used in the early 1990s by Alexander Nevzorov, a crusading TV presenter, to extol Russian paratroopers trying to suppress popular uprisings in the Baltic states. Nashi claims that it is building a civil society in Russia and fighting against fascism. However, as Sir Tom put it, for people like these, “unpalatable argument is fascism – interrupting the speaker is the exercise of free speech”.

Kremlin’s Youth Cult on the Rampage

The Financial Times reports on the rampage against British diplomats by the Kremlin’s crazed youth cult “Nashi” (“We Russian Slavs“) in the wake of the Litvinenko killing.

They don’t look too dangerous in the propaganda photo, do they? Stalin looked quite dapper in his moustache too, and remember the perils of the mermaid’s siren song! But read on, dear reader, read on . . . let the facts speak for themselves.

It was shortly after Anthony Brenton, Britain’s ambassador to Moscow, spoke about the challenges to freedom in Russia that a young blond man thrust himself forward and started to yell at the top of his voice: “Brenton, apologise!”

The stunt this week at the Humanities University in Moscow – where Mr Brenton was speaking alongside Sir Tom Stoppard, the British playwright whose trilogy about 19th-century Russian thinkers is being staged in Moscow – was not a one-off prank by an attention-seeking youth. It was part of a well-organised harassment campaign against the ambassador, apparently waged with the knowledge of the Kremlin, that is a striking symptom of the worsening relationship between Moscow and London.

The young man was a member of Nashi (“Our Own”): a Kremlin-sponsored youth movement with a well-earned reputation for thuggery. The organisation, which claims to have 7,000 active members and another 8,000 sympathisers has been stalking the UK ambassador seven days a week for the past four months, putting him and his family under considerable strain. “It is a deliberate psychological harassment which is done professionally and which borders on violence,” says Mr Brenton.

Robert Shlegel, of Nashi, whose leaders regularly meet President Vladimir Putin, says this is retribution for Mr Brenton. The British ambassador was “guilty” of speaking at a conference of political opposition parties in Moscow shortly before the summit of Group of Eight leading industrialised countries in St Petersburg in the summer. Igor Shuvalov, an aide to Mr Putin, warned that attending the event – as several western ambassadors did – would be interpreted as an unfriendly act. No sooner had the G8 leaders left Russia than Nashi began its campaign, demanding an apology from the UK ambassador for “endorsing fascists”.

The Nashi case is one part of the souring in Anglo-Russian relations. London’s granting in 2003 of political asylum to Boris Berezovsky, the renegade oligarch, and Akhmed Zakayev, a Chechen opposition leader, infuriated Moscow. British Council offices in Moscow were raided in response and UK diplomats publicly accused of espionage. Images of a radio transmitter disguised as a rock allegedly planted by British spies were later broadcast by Russian state television.

The British investigation of the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko, the former KGB officer, is likely to strain the relationship further. Spy rows and expulsions featured regularly in Anglo-Russian relations in Soviet times. But former British diplomats say that even the communists did not use personal intimidation and harassment of ambassadors and their families. Nashi members follow Mr Brenton with banners at weekends, shout abuse at him, block his car and advertise all his movements on the internet.

Earlier this month a group of Nashi supporters followed Mr Brenton to another city, disrupting a seminar where he spoke. “I was really worried they were going to hurt him,” the organiser of the seminar said. The British embassy has officially complained to the Russian foreign ministry, pointing out that Moscow is breaking the Vienna convention on diplomatic relations, which demands that foreign envoys be treated with “due respect” and shielded from attacks on their “person, freedom and dignity”.

Foreign ministry officials privately agree that Nashi’s behaviour is outrageous and goes well beyond peaceful protest. But they claim there is little they can do: Nashi is too close to the Kremlin. It has close ties with Vladislav Surkov, the deputy head of the Kremlin administration, as well as Mr Putin himself. Nashi said it supported the Kremlin line, met Mr Surkov regularly and received funding from “large, nationally oriented companies”. Its main task was to prevent the spread of “colour revolutions” of the kind that swept Ukraine and Georgia.

The word Nashi has a rich and poignant history, featuring in the novels of Dostoevsky. It was used in the early 1990s by Alexander Nevzorov, a crusading TV presenter, to extol Russian paratroopers trying to suppress popular uprisings in the Baltic states. Nashi claims that it is building a civil society in Russia and fighting against fascism. However, as Sir Tom put it, for people like these, “unpalatable argument is fascism – interrupting the speaker is the exercise of free speech”.

LR on PP

Check out La Russophobe‘s latest installment on Publius Pundit, where she debunks the russophile attempts to deflect blame from the Kremlin in the Litvinenko and Gaidar attacks (just as they predictably tried to do after the killing of Politkovskaya). Feel free to add your thoughts to this interesting and important debate regarding the involvement of the Kremlin in the demise of its critics and the appropriate Western response. How many Kremlin foes will have to give up their lives before the Russophile maniacs will agree there is a problem? 100? 1,000? 10,000? Are there even that many open critics of the Kremlin in Russia?

The Mailbag: Thoughts on Litvinenko

A reader offers fasinating and insightful thoughts on the Litvinenko killing (all readers are welcome to submit material for publication consideration, anonymity assured if desired):

I have been spending an unhealthy amount of my spare time in the last couple of days reading about it and it really does seem to be an incredibly complex web of intrigue. So I find myself thinking what statements are the most likely to be true, grading down to the least likely. Of course, the British Police investigators will get as near to the full story as anyone can, but I don’t know if it will be near enough. I also don’t know if their findings will be made fully public or if the government will hide them so as not to rock the boat.

Anyway, in the (left leaning) Guardian and Observer, they have repeated the Russian allegation that Litvinenko had threatened to blackmail anti-Russian contacts of his, because he was short of money. This then would make it plausible that Berezovski would have him killed knowing he was really no friend of his, while at the same time creating the anti-Russian reactions that we have seen. I have to say that I have not heard this allegation repeated on British television news.

It has also been reported that Berezovski bankrolled Litvinenko and Zakayev, and paid for them both to live(in houses opposite each other) in north London. (I assume at the very least, it is true that they were neighbours). This actually begs the question: if Berezovski was happy to pay them some of his “$500m fortune”, why did Litvinenko want to get £10000 each from his ex contacts by blackmail? The newspaper websites also published an absolutely wierd photograph of Litvinenko posing threateningly with a Chechen sword in front of a Union Jack. They also mention other very strange things about his personality.

Meanwhile, Scaramella has been described on British news as a shady character who lied about his lectureship in two different universities. However, he was described on a mainly Russophile website “Europe Tribune”, as definitely being a lecturer at a university in Italy (I think it was Milan). However, the worst thing about Scaramella is that he appears to have lied to the Italian authorities about a couple of things, including saying that the Soviet navy had placed a lot of nuclear torpedoes in the Bay of Naples. And yet, he was apparently a friend of Litvinenko, or at least a trusted contact.

Another thing that is hard to swallow is Scaramella’s accusation that Romano Prodi was really a KGB agent. That could be an even bigger story than Litvinenko. I’m sure that I am not the first to suggest that maybe Scaramella is an FSB (or SVR) plant, put into the Mitrokhin Commission to make a lot of false allegations and discredit the commission itself.

Meanwhile, an apparently independent Irish reporter has testified that Gaidar was only briefly unconcious and that doctors believe he was suffering from the effects of his diabetes – in flat contradiction to Gaidar’s daughter’s account. And yet, how wierd is it that Gaidar (a man with anti-putin ideas, and with a daughter absolutely opposed to Putin) should collapse in the middle of a speech, coughing up blood the day after Litvinenko was diagnosed with chemical poisoning. How often do government officials collapse in the middle of speeches coughing up blood?! Now the Russians say he was poisoned!

It has occurred to me that on this very important issue, the FSB would think that, if they were not working strenuously at putting out information – probably disinformation – they were not doing their job. Therefore it is not just possible, but likely that some of the information being written and copied in cyberspace, and the blogosphere was put there by the FSB.

If Litvinenko really was a whacko, does it mean that it was OK to poison him with Polonium? I don’t think so. And when the Russian authorities say they had no reason to kill someone so unimportant, what about the fact that he wrote a book that could bring down Putin’s government and so they destroyed 4500 copies of it and prevented its publication in Russia? Putin reportedly said that the suggestion that he was responsible for the Moscow apartment bombings was a crime itself. Litvinenko not only suggested it, he wrote a book about it.

It is also interesting to think about Russian statements since the poisoning. On approximately the day the news broke they apparently said “if you want to find who did it, look at the people standing around his bed”. Also, since the British police arrived in Russia the authorities have said “the investigation is OK as long as it does not include the Kremlin”, and “it is OK but no one should try to politicise this”.

Surely, if this killing was done to discredit them as they claim, they should have been more than willing to help to find the perpetrators. Perhaps they should have sent some Russian police to London to cooperate with the British police. Because after all, the perpetrators would have been as much enemies of Russia as of Britain.

Finally, the Russian authorities said that the idea that the Polonium 210 probably originated in Russia was “absolutely ridiculous”. I hope that all thinking people in the world treat this statement with the ridicule that it deserves.

It is of course ridiculous to think that I am capable of working out all of the details of Litvinenko’s murder. However, I hope that you may find some of these stories and observations useful.