Interview with Mary Dejevsky
Russia Today: What's your reaction to Lugovoy's allegations that British intelligence, Boris Berezovsky or the Russian Mafia could be responsible for Litvinenko's death?
M.D.: In some ways, it's an extraordinary development. It only adds to the atmosphere of Cold War spy drama that surrounded this case from the start.
RT: In Britain, is Litvinenko's death being treated as murder, or has it become a political issue between governments in light of these statements?
M.D.: The government has tried to deny from the very beginning that there was anything political about it or that it would be allowed to damage British-Russian relations. Yesterday, the official response to Lugovoy's press conference was to say that the British were treating Litvinenko's death as a purely criminal matter, and the intelligence services were not the issue. It was quite an interesting way of expressing this by trying to separate the two things, because, I think, in the mind of a lot of the British public at least the two things are rather intimately connected. Whatever you think of the allegations made by Lugovoy yesterday, there's a certain degree of, I should say, scepticism here [in Britain], that whatever it has to do with secret services, intelligence, whether it's the Russian side, whether it's the British side, there's just a whole lot of suspicion there. I was interested in the general reaction here among media people and on the streets as well to Lugovoy's allegations. It was not really to dismiss them but just to say: “Well, what would you expect in this world of espionage?”
RT: How do you think it will end? There is a lot of emotion over this case in Britain.
M.D.: Certainly, there is a lot of emotion attached, partly because of that single picture of Litvinenko on his death bed that's gone around the world. Here it's the image of Litvinenko affair. People want to clear it up, they don't like the idea that somebody can be killed in London by these particularly gruesome means and nobody can be found responsible. So there is a desire to clear it up. But personally I can't see any further possibility that Lugovoy will now return to Britain – there's very much doubt about it – to face the allegations against him here.
I think that the British authorities will continue to put a brave face on it and continue to insist that the case didn't damage British-Russian relations. But I would actually argue that the fact that Litvinenko affair focuses prominently and is continuing to rumble on – the very publicised arrest warrant for Lugovoy here in Britain and the request for his extradition which wasn't exactly kept quite and Lugovoy's very prominent press conference in Moscow yesterday – it seems to me that this is evidence that relations generally between Britain and Russia are at a pretty low point.