04 December, 2006

The Old Bill in Russia.

No less than 9 Scotland Yard detectives are going to Russia to investigate the death of Alexander Litvinenko, the former Soviet spy said to have been murdered by agents of whatever OGPU is called these days. According to the Times,

The Russian foreign ministry confirmed today that visas had been issued to the investigators and the prosecutor-general's office also offered "to provide all necessary help to British colleagues within the framework of international agreements and the law of the Russian Federation".
Exactly what limits Russian law will place on the Old Bill's investigation remains to be seen, but quoted in the Daily Telegraph, the Russian Foreign Minister was less than positive:
It's unacceptable that a campaign should be whipped up with the participation of officials," he told reporters. "This is of course harming our relations."
Most of what I know about life in the former Soviet Union has been learned from White Sun of the Desert, an ex pat's enthralling account of, amongst other things, his dealings with Russians in positions of authority. From this I gather that the average Russian policeman is not going to be very receptive to a mini-bus load of British coppers blundering about the place.

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