A Russian spy accused of murdering ex-KGB man Alexander Litvinenko will play a major role in the “investigation” into Moscow’s recent poison attack on a critic.
Andrei Lugovoy is now at the top of the Moscow Security and Anti-Corruption Committee. The panel is supposed to investigate the attack on the Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.
Navalny took his first steps this week after leaving his hospital bed where he was being treated for Soviet-style poisoning.
He had collapsed in pain on a flight to Moscow and was flown to Berlin, where he remained in the hospital in a coma for weeks.
Doctors found that he had been poisoned by the nerve agent Novichok, which can only come from Russia and was used in the Salisbury poisoning of Sergei Skripal.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is under pressure from Western countries to approve an investigation into the poisoning of Navalny, and Der Spiegel has learned that Lugovoy will be a key decision maker.
Lugovoy has been named as one of Litvinenko’s attackers by a British judge, and the investigation is expected to be whitewashed.
As a member of the State Duma’s Committee on Security and Anti-Corruption, the alleged KGB assassin, who became politician Lugovoy, has already condemned the poisoning of Navalny as an attack by Western intelligence services.
His shameless involvement in the Navalny investigation connects two assassinations by Russian ghosts.
The 2006 murder of Litvinenko in London with radioactive polonium made the murder of Moscow on foreign soil clear.
Like Litvinenko, Navalny spoke out boldly against the corruption that is widespread across Russia and reaches back to the Kremlin.
But unlike Litvinenko, a former whistleblower spy, opposition leader Navalny survived to keep fighting.
Litvinenko is said to have been killed in an elaborate conspiracy by ex-colleague Lugovoy and spy Dmitry Kovtun.
A UK security source said Mirror Lugovoy’s involvement was intended to show “arrogant disregard for the West”.
They added, “It also poses a threat and shows a brutal willingness to resort to very cruel violence and murder.”
Navalny’s bank accounts have been frozen and his Moscow apartment has been seized in a lawsuit, his spokeswoman said yesterday.
Navalny and his allies are in a longstanding dispute with the catering company Moscow Schoolchild.