Back in 2018, Vladimir Putin murdered Dawn Sturgess, one of my neighbours, with an obscure, man-made binary military nerve agent called novichok. Putin wasn’t actually after her. She was a nobody. Putin was after a spy that FBI agent Peter Strzok helped to get released from a Russian prison. Ms. Sturgess just accidentally got in the way. Small world, complicated world.
Putin used two nauseatingly sociopathic thugs travelling under the names Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov to deliver the lethal pathogen. The novichok was originally turned loose on the gentle cathedral city of Salisbury, just eight miles from my doorstep, the same town where my wife was born. The novichok eventually made its way to the village where I live, just 1,200 meters (¾ of a mile) from my front door. Again, small world, complicated world.
Now it turns out that those two thugs belonging to Putin, A.K.A. Petrov and Boshirov, are wanted for another bit of filthy mayhem they perpetrated way back in 2014 in the Czech Republic. It was then that they blew up a Czech ammunition warehouse that left two people dead, according to Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis. “The explosion led to huge material damage and posed a serious threat to the lives of many local people, but above all it killed two of our fellow citizens, fathers of families,” the Prime Minister added.
It is thought that this new revelation will put a strain on Czech-Russian relations. Meanwhile, Poland announced on Thursday the expulsion of three Russian diplomats who were “carrying out activities to the detriment” of the country. Why are these anti-Russian measures suddenly being taken by these two formerly Eastern Bloc Soviet-era countries? Could it be they are joining America in a stand against Putin?
It may, indeed, be a show of force to demonstrate solidarity with the United States. Earlier the United States announced sanctions against Russia and the expulsion of 10 Russian diplomats for both the Kremlin’s interference in US elections and a massive cyber attack. Now that America is no longer willing to suck up to Vladimir Putin or put up with his interference in its democratic processes, neither is some of the rest of the world. Now at least two European countries are emboldened against Putin. More may follow. And isn’t it wonderful how that sometimes works? And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.