Saturday, February 03, 2007

Conversation - XIII


There wasn’t any panic?

“In my case - no. I realized that I’d been in very close contact with Sasha, and next day they gave us all blood tests - me, Tolya, and Sasha’s father. And for four days, as I waited for the result of the test, the thing I feared most of all was that Tolya might lose another parent. Of course during those days I tried to listen to myself, to check whether anything had changed in me. When they asked me questions about whether I felt nausea, whether I had a sore throat… When they brought the results of the tests, it turned out that a certain minimal dose [of radiation] was present in me, but it wouldn’t affect my health in the near future, and might only increase my risk of contracting cancer by one percent. At that point I felt a bit better.”

What did you talk about during the final days?

“He didn’t want me to go leave, always asked me to massage his feet, because he’d stopped having any sensation in them - he would say: ‘Marinochka, when I get out of here I’ll give you a massage every day.’ We talked about the holiday we’d take when it was all over. We didn’t discuss the issue of the poisoning very much, because he’d started to give evidence, and he obviously told the investigators a lot more than he told me, because he didn’t want to overload me. He said there was something suspicious about the meetings he’d had that day - but he couldn’t accuse any of the people he’d talked to directly - after all, it wasn’t as though he didn’t know those people at all. It’s true that according to him Scaramella behaved very strangely. And at the second meeting, with Lugovoy, there were some men he didn’t know. The first reports that appeared in the press pointed to Mario Scaramella.”

Did you know him?

“I met him once. We used to talk on the phone. Sasha said that the meeting he had with him was completely unnecessary, and Scaramella’s behaviour was very strange, nervous. And that document he tried to show him - why couldn’t he just have sent it, by email, for example? Perhaps Scaramella felt there was a threat to his life, and that’s why he was so nervous. And when Sasha looked at the document he thought it was nonsense - there was something not right about it. But I think Sasha analysed something else as well. He didn’t tell me what it was - he apparently thought he would get well again and sort the matter out himself.”

In the letter that was published after his death, your husband placed the blame on Putin.

“That has a very loud resonance in political terms, of course. I can’t speak so harshly of a specific person. The only thing I can say is that the present leadership of Russia has created a situation in which it’s possible to kill people with impunity. And since Putin, the Russian President, is the man who constructed this vertical of power, it could not have been done behind his back. But the question of who technically carried it out is now less important. You see, like women whose husbands are in prison or who were murdered on someone’s orders, I have my own attitude towards Putin which is different from that of some female citizen of Russia who sits watching TV while her drunken husband snores at her side. For she looks at Putin, and says, what a wonderful man - he doesn’t drink, doesn’t smoke, doesn’t beat his wife. You see, I have my own view of him, but my opinion of Putin changes nothing.

“I mean, they waited six years for this moment, in order to get him, to show that you can’t get away from them, even if you’re already a British subject. And no one knows how many other people have also suffered. I don’t know whether they’d intended to carry out such an open action, or whether they didn’t bother to clear up the trail, thinking he’d be dead before anyone managed to discover anything, and that they’d say the man had died of an intestinal disorder. The chaos that began after the break-up of the Soviet Union, and the uncontrolled export of radioactive substances - perhaps the people who poisoned Sasha weren’t fully responsible, didn’t have a proper understanding of what it was. Even at the level of sabre-rattling - is that any sort of a thing to do? I don’t think so. Or perhaps it was something else - they wanted to show they could do anything they wanted anywhere they wanted — and with complete impunity. It’s like the way Russia is behaving with Europe now, flexing its energy muscles, and saying: if we want, you will do what we tell you to do - it’s an attack in that direction.”

(to be continued)

See also: Conversation
Conversation - II
Conversation - III
Conversation - IV
Conversation - V
Conversation - VI
Conversation - VII
Conversation - VIII
Conversation - IX
Conversation - X
Conversation - XI
Conversation - XII
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