|Russia and the CIS News Digest
Litvinenko Was MI6 Agent, Says British Paper
Nov. 1 (EIRNS)Former Russian KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko, who was killed by radiation-poisoning last year in London, was a paid agent of Britain's MI6 intelligence agency, the Daily Mail of London charged Oct. 27-28. The same charge was made earlier by Russian officials.
As reported by the Christian Science Monitor today, the Daily Mail, citing anonymous intelligence and diplomatic sources, said that Litvinenko was receiving a monthly retainer of $4,000 from British intelligence. "It is understood that Sir John Scarlett, now the head of MI6 and once based in Moscow, was involved in recruiting him to the Secret Intelligence Service," the Daily Mail said.
In May, Andrei Lugovoy, whom the British have charged with murdering Litvinenko, said that the latter had told him that he had been recruited by the British secret services. "I cannot get away from the thought that Litvinenko was an agent who had gone out of control and they [MI6] got rid of him," Lugovoy said at that time. Lugovoy has now declared himself vindicated. "I hope the British public will demand, after this publication in their newspaper, that their secret services shed light on the situation surrounding Litvinenko's death," Lugovoy told Itar-Tass. Lugovoy's lawyer added: "The new information confirms what Lugovoy has been saying."
Primakov Writes on Kurdistan Scheme
Oct. 29 (EIRNS)Former Russian Prime Minister and top expert on Southwest Asia Yevgeni Primakov has warned against the new drive to create an independent state of "Kurdistan," with its core being the Kurdish area of Turkey. Primakov, an advisor to Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a commentary in Moscow News Oct. 25, reported that, according to the Turkish daily Yeni Safak, the Turks have conducted cross-border raids already, including the use of helicopters and F-16 jets and artillery.
In his analytical piece, Primakov pointed to a potential Kurdish breakaway from Iraq to form a state including chunks of Turkey, Syria, and Iran. "Iraq's territorial integrity has been put on the linenownot in some distant future.... It is well known that the Iraqi Kurds have for many decades been fighting for national self-determination. But prior to the U.S. intervention, the prevailing formula was: strengthening Kurdish autonomy as part of Iraq. Now the situation is changing in favor of an independent Kurdish state that could comprise not only Iraqi Kurds, but also Kurds from Turkey, Iran, and Syria. According to various estimates, there are between 20 million and 30 million Kurds in these four countries. So, for all the importance of preserving Iraq's territorial integrity, should the aspiration of millions of Kurds to create their own state be endorsed?"
Without answering that question, Primakov called the development "perplexing." His evaluation corroborates Lyndon LaRouche's statements that Turkey and other countries in the region are under attack as the British, and their chief U.S. tool, Vice President Dick Cheney, implement a 21st-Century version of the Sykes-Picot agreement, based on which, the British and French carved up the Ottoman Empire after World War I.
Russia, U.S.A. Call for Intermediate-Range Missile Ban
Oct. 28 (EIRNS)The United States and Russia have issued a joint declaration urging all countries to destroy intermediate range nuclear missiles. Russia has been pressing the United States to rewrite the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty to include countries other than those of the former Soviet Union and the United States; otherwise, the Putin government has said, it will withdraw from the INF, since it will be the only nation in all Eurasia which is observing it. The new agreement apparently meets this key demand.
The declaration was released Oct. 25 in New York and published by both the U.S. State Department and the Russian Foreign Ministry. The short text notes that Dec. 8, 2007, will be the 20th anniversary of the treaty between the Soviet Union and United States, which banned ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers. By late May 1991, the USSR and the United States had destroyed all missiles of these two classes along with all supporting infrastructure, under strict verification procedures, the declaration says.
Terror Bombing in Volga City
Oct. 31 (EIRNS)An explosion, believed to have been caused by a bomb of up to 2 kg (4.4 lbs) of explosives, ripped through a bus, in the Russian city of Togliatti, local police sources said, according to Associated Press. "We have reached the conclusion that this was an act of terrorism," the Samara region governor Vladimir Artyakov said in comments broadcast by Russia's Vesti-24 news channel. "We are clarifying what type of explosive device was used and we are also clarifying the possibility that there could be more victims."
"Eight people are dead, fifty are injured, with ten rescue groups involved. The first arrived within five minutes of the explosion and more soon after," said Vladimir Markhin, the Togliatti representative of the Russian investigation committee. "There is reason to believe that the explosive was planted either underneath or on the floor of the bus," the police source was quoted as saying.
President Vladimir Putin phoned his envoy to the Volga region, and ordered that "every possible measure to give medical assistance to those injured and to help the families of those killed," should be provided, Interfax said.
Russian Minister Follows Putin to Iran
Oct. 31 (EIRNS)During a one-day visit to Tehran, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov held talks with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his counterpart Manuchehr Mottaki, and blasted the United States. He was quoted by Interfax as saying that the unilateral sanctions which the U.S. recently declared, "are not helpful for the continuation of collective efforts" to solve the conflict.
As for his advice to Iran, Lavrov said he had told Ahmadinejad to engage in "further and, preferably, more active work with the IAEA to clarify questions concerning Iran's nuclear program." He said, "We underlined the importance of resolving these questions in order to restore trust in the exclusively peaceful character of Iran's activities in the sphere of nuclear energy," AFP reported. Lavrov also delivered a message from President Putin, who visited Iran two weeks earlier.
Ahmadinejad, speaking to press after Lavrov had left, said the talks represented a continuation of the exchange of views he had had with Putin, and promised continued cooperation with the IAEA. As reported by IRNA, he told Lavrov, "Iran will continue its peaceful nuclear activities within the framework of international rules and under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency." At the same time, the IAEA and Iran started their third day of talks in the capital, focussed on the centrifuge issue.
Pressure Growing for a Putin Third Term
Oct. 27 (EIRNS)Despite Russian President Vladimir Putin's repeated declarations that he will not be a candidate for a third term, momentum is growing for exactly that, reports today's Financial Times. Sergei Mironov, the Speaker of Russia's Federation Council, the upper house of parliament, said that the issue of a third term for Putin has "not been taken off the agenda," despite the constitutional two-term limitation. "In my view, Mr. Putin legitimately remaining in his post would be a blessing for Russia," Mironov said. Mironov also noted that there are rallies taking place throughout the country, calling on Putin to serve a third term, including in the Chechen capital of Grozny, where 20,000 turned out, and in two smaller Chechen cities. According to the Kommersant newspaper, 10,000 rallied in Tver, northwest of Moscow, and other rallies took place in Volgograd and Petrapavlosk-Kamchatsky in the Far East.