Litvinenko inquiry: British humour and Russian theories

It's a case that looks likely to sour the already bad bilateral relations between Russia and the UK.

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    Litvinenko inquiry: British humour and Russian theories
    Alexander Litvinenko, then an officer of Russia''s state security, in Moscow in 1998. [File: Vasily Djachkov/Reuters]

    The Brits are known for their humour.

    So the Kremlin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, has a theory. Maybe the UK's Litvinenko inquiry is some kind of subtle British joke.

    He is, of course, being sarcastic. Russians can actually be just as dry as the British. Like the Brits, they can use that dark humour as a defensive weapon. And Russian officialdom was in full defensive mode on Thursday.

    Peskov was just one of a string of Russian officials to pour scorn on Sir Robert Owen's report.

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it had no expectation that the inquiry would, all of a sudden, become "impartial". In their eyes the investigation was politicised, flawed, and biased from the start.


    READ MORE: Russia warns UK Litvinenko inquiry may 'poison' ties


    "A pathetic excuse to use this skeleton in the closet to satisfy [London's] political ambitions" was how one of the chief suspects, Andrei Lugovoi, put it.

    In 2007, with the UK issuing arrest warrants and asking Moscow to extradite Lugovoi to stand trial for the murder, Russia responded by making him an MP. As such, he has parliamentary immunity.

    See, Russians have their jokes, too. But this is a case in which a man was poisoned and died in protracted agony.

    It's a case that looks likely to sour the already bad bilateral relations between Russia and the UK. Not really a laughing matter.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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