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Accused abroad, Russians become celebrities at home

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The final time Britain accused two Russians of an assassination, one among them ended up within the Russian parliament.

The case of Andrei Lugovoi, a key suspect within the 2006 killing of ex-KGB officer Alexander Litvinenko, reveals how the 2 alleged Russian navy intelligence operatives accused by Britain of poisoning ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal might have profitable careers in Russia in the event that they go public.

President Vladimir Putin stated Wednesday the boys — who British authorities stated used the names Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov — seemed to be harmless. He prompt they inform their story “to some media outlet.”

Hours later, Russian state TV stated it had spoken with Petrov and that he deliberate to touch upon the case subsequent week. Earlier circumstances present that might be an unbelievable springboard into parliament or a community TV present.

When some Russians have been accused of crimes overseas, political and enterprise leaders have embraced them and made them celebrities.

ANDREI LUGOVOI

Accused of poisoning Litvinenko with the radioactive substance polonium, Lugovoi, a former KGB officer, parlayed his newfound fame right into a political profession. In 2007, he was elected to parliament on the ticket of the nationalist LDPR celebration, which has robust Kremlin ties.

Since then, he is given his title to the Lugovoi Regulation — a 2014 measure permitting authorities to dam “extremist” web sites with out a court docket ruling — and he is an everyday commentator on the Skripal case for state TV.

Lugovoi argues Skripal’s poisoning had nothing to do with Russia and blames Britain for harboring what he calls defectors.

“So long as you retain welcoming every kind of scum in your territory, you are going to preserve having issues,” he stated in March on a preferred speak reveals.

The Russian structure bans extraditing prison suspects, and Lugovoi’s standing as a lawmaker makes him immune from prosecution at residence. A fellow suspect, Dmitry Kovtun, has stored a decrease profile.

ANNA CHAPMAN

When the FBI rounded up 10 Russian sleeper brokers in 2010 and despatched them residence in a spy swap, one caught the attention of the tabloids.

The then-28-year-old Chapman, who was married to a British man, later launched a modeling profession in Russia, and was briefly on the board of the youth arm of a pro-Putin political celebration.

She’s finest identified, nonetheless, because the host of “Chapman’s Secrets and techniques,” a long-running present mixing anti-U.S. rhetoric with conspiracy theories and mysticism.

“Why does official science nonetheless not concede that unidentified flying objects are alien spaceships?” she stated one episode. “Our speculation that alien intelligence has lengthy colluded with the ruling elite was just lately and unexpectedly confirmed. What are politicians and troopers protecting quiet about? I, Anna Chapman, will reveal this secret.”

Greater than 400 episodes have been made. Final week, friends speculated the U.S. was coaching Jap European guerrillas to invade Russia, and one other — launched as a shaman — prompt clever timber precipitated hikers to go lacking out of spite for humanity.

“It is unimaginable, however the dwelling forest from the film ‘Avatar’ is not the director’s make-believe,” Chapman summarized.

MARIA BUTINA

Accused of working as an undeclared international agent within the U.S., Butina is quick changing into a trigger celebre at residence.

She was a comparatively obscure gun-rights activist in Russia earlier than she began making political contacts amongst Republicans and Nationwide Rifle Affiliation members within the U.S. Now, Butina’s picture is the avatar on the Russian International Ministry’s social media profiles.

Authorities rhetoric portrays her as a martyr to U.S. paranoia and a sufferer of poor circumstances within the Washington, D.C., jail the place she’s being held pending trial.

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