Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Spain

Better Motive And Explanation For Sergei Skripal Assassination Comes To Light

Surveillance footage of the former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in a convenience store in Spain the month before he was poisoned in Salisbury, England. Credit via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

A more likely explanation and motive for the Russian assassination attempt against Sergei and Yulia Skripal is tied into the Russian mafia and oligarchs exposure by Skripal in Spain. 

It still would call for Putin’s approval for assassination by the identified GRU operatives just named this past week, but it fixes Putin’s mafia state in Russia as the primary suspects for asking/ordering Skripal’s assassination. The Russian mafia and the oligarchs routinely operate outside the law, this fits into their profile of operations.

There is a very long and deep history of the Russian mafia openly operating in Spain. 

According to the New York Times article, assassinated former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko had also worked with the Spanish authorities shortly before his assassination by polonium-210 in 2006. 

Sergey Skripal was working in Spain, allegedly for Spanish intelligence the month before the Russian assassination attempt in the UK in March 2018. 

This also ties into the recent election of Pedro Sánchez as Spain’s Prime Minister, overturning the scandal-ridden and the highly corrupt government of Mariano Rajoy in late May 2018. Sánchez ran on an anti-corruption platform. The corruption is so deep in Spain, however, that it may take a very long time to change the status quo.

Skripal’s Spanish consultancy would have determined the choice of target for the election stunt – which of the however many Russian emigres were available to bump off. The timing was clearly aligned with the election campaign.

The Russian mafia is known for its absolute violence, the use of Novichok in the assassination attempt on the Skripals certainly qualifies. 

This also answers the question of why Skripal and not the long list of other Russian defectors living in the West.

Messing with the Russian mafia is an automatic death sentence. 

The circumstances point even more clearly at Putin now. Putin’s large kickbacks from Russian oligarchs for overcharging the Russian government is well known, making Putin one of the wealthiest men in the world.  He won’t appear on the Forbes list of the richest men, however. All his wealth has been gathered illegally, from the Russian people.  

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Saturday, September 8, 2018

Moscow Attacked Skripal for Betraying Russian Oligarchs, Highlighting Mafia Nature of Putin Regime, Portnikov Says

Paul Goble

Staunton, September 8 – Sergey Skripal’s cooperation with the Spanish authorities in exposing the criminality of the Russian oligarchs rather than the idea that this action was revenge by the security services for someone who betrayed them is a far more likely explanation for Moscow’s decision to poison him, Vitaly Portnikov says.

Until the New York Times report about Skripal’s work in Spain, the Ukrainian commentator says, most people explained the murderous attack on the former Soviet agent as revenge by the Russian security services. But that explanation had at least two shortcomings (

On the one hand, Portnikov says, it doesn’t explain why Skripal was attacked while many other Russian agents and defectors have been left in peace. And on the other, it fails to recognize that “as long as Skripal was a traitor [only in this sense], he could count on being pardoned” if that would serve the Kremlin’s interests.

But as soon as Skripal “touched upon the interests of the mafia” in Moscow as he surely did in Spain, then there was every reason for that mafia to “decide to liquidate him,” a decision that demonstrates as few other things have that the Putin regime is a mafia state rather than a normal one.

In analyzing Kremlin actions, Portnikov says, it is important to keep in mind that Russia today is “a mafia state,” one in which the state not only participates in massive corruption but “above all acts in the interests of the mafia,” including going after and even murdering those who work against that mafia structure.

Ukrainians in particular need to remember this because under Yanukovich, “we had precisely the same mafia state. But after 2014, Ukraine began the transition from a mafia state to a corrupt one. And if after the 2019 elections this transition continues … that will become our very biggest victory.”

Corruption can be fought and contained in a country with a normal state of the kind Ukraine has been moving toward, Portnikov says; “but in a mafia state, there is simply no society at all, only government positions occupied by mafiosi and their assistants.” That kind of state can’t be reformed: it can only be overthrown.

Yanukovich’s mafia state was overthrown by the Ukrainian people. “But Putin’s mafia Russia continues to exist – and to kill.”


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