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The Upcoming Novichok GRU Officers Russian Extravaganza

I swear, either Tom Rogan, the author of this article, read the editorial I wrote yesterday, here: Salisbury CW Attack / Syria / Iran / Russia Ad Hoc Update (143), or we think alike.  

My prediction is that this exact scenario will be presented to the world in excruciating detail, after a few days.  Expect details beyond what the story calls for, expect these guys to have some excuse for being in Salisbury (Rogan says it is for the Salisbury steak), perhaps one of the boys always wanted to tour Salisbury to see where Salisbury steak was invented.

From Wikipedia,

Salisbury steak is a dish made from a blend of ground beef and other ingredients and is usually served with gravy or brown sauce.

I grew up with Salisbury steak. It was cheap, it was easy to make, and it was delicious. But there is no way it would inspire a trip to not-so-sunny Salisbury, UK.

The problem is I don’t expect they’ll have a receipt showing they actually ordered Salisbury steak while in Salisbury.  None of the camera footage in the UK will show them ordering and eating Salisbury steak. 

Russians notoriously overdo their propaganda stories, lies and conspiracy theories.  They are generally way too wordy.  Expect a novella of explanations. Yes, with 20 witnesses, pictures of the boys at their fake work, ‘lifelong friends’ abound, …and somehow, a lowly chef who probably earns less than $10,000 a year in rubles, can afford to take a trip to the UK, stay in a hotel, and bring a friend. Unexplained wealth being spent will not be properly explained.  

I did some checking and the average pay in Russia is 32,122 rubles or 469.94 USD. That’s 385,464 rubles per year or 5,635.48 USD per year. That’s poverty in most of the world…  yet he can afford to go to the UK for a few days, travel to Salisbury (89 miles from London), and return. Even if he works for Yevgeny Prigozhin, Putin’s chef, he got rich by not paying his workers a ton of money, there is no way a chef is can afford the trip. 

Bottom line, expect the upcoming Russian extravaganza showcasing two humble workers from Russia to be overblown, overwhelming with unnecessary details, and woefully lacking in real explanations. Putin has already said ‘We didn’t do it’, so the display will be the polar opposite. ‘These good Russian boys are being framed by the evil Brits’.  


  • No explanation for unexplained wealth to afford the flight or hotels
    • When and if London Yard releases the details of their hotel stays, it won’t match what Russia says.
    • There may be an attempt to say he won a trip for two from some contest. The contest will have never existed previously, however…
  • The only mention of the GRU will be denials they were in the GRU, perhaps ever.
  • Porton Down, the UK’s chemical research facility, will be blamed for the presence of Novichok
  • This is all a plot by “London” to blame good Russian boys. There is always the possibility of “Third Carthage” to be used interchangeably with London.

Yes, it will be a spectacular shit show. It is, after all, only to show those countries in the EU waffling about more Russian sanctions to view Russia as the victim, once again. Poor Russian boys, indeed.

Update, before I even got the chance to publish.  RT came out with an interview, Salisbury novichok suspects say they were only visiting cathedral.  

The original story: 

They even played the victim card, 

“When your life turned upside down, you don’t know what to do and where to go. We’re afraid of going out, we fear for ourselves, our lives and lives of our loved ones,” Boshirov said.

As for what they do?  They came to the UK to do Sports Nutrition research.

“We examine the market, look if there is something new – some biologically active additives, amino acids, vitamins, microelements. We pick up the most necessary, come here and decide how to deliver the new products from this market here.”

I believe their stories. Not.

</end editorial>

An inside look on why Putin is lying about the Novichok GRU officers

On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin denied that the two GRU intelligence service officers who tried to assassinate Sergei Skripal on U.K. soil this March are actually GRU intelligence officers at all.

Putin says the men are actually “civilians,” who, “he hopes,” will publicly share their story of innocence.

He is telling the truth in only one narrow sense: The two men, named by Britain as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, will come forward very soon to speak publicly to Putin-friendly elements of the Russian press. They just won’t come forward with truth.

Instead, they’ll come forward with a quickly sculpted wilderness of mirrors and lies.

Putin needs to give the GRU and other organs of the Russian state — including its propaganda teams — time to develop a cover story about why the two men were in the U.K. during the Skripal assassination attempt, and what supposed careers they hold in Russia. That work is already underway, and will probably be done by the end of this week to Putin’s satisfaction.

Then, we’ll see the release of a composition far less inspiring than the works of Tchaikovsky or Rimsky-Korsakov. The Russians will concoct a story suggesting that the two men were on vacation in Britain, and perhaps even that they had good reason to be in Salisbury, where the Skripals were attacked. (Perhaps they just really, really like the steaks?)

Putin’s teams will also produce witness testimony and employment records suggesting that Petrov and Boshirov had been employed in various harmless civilian jobs in Russia (garbage collectors, perhaps?) and not at GRU headquarters. The central motive here will be to present Petrov and Boshirov as two innocent men who are being slandered a British government desperate to scapegoat the Kremlin.

Russia knows its upcoming propaganda creation will be regarded by most observers for what it is — a ludicrous masterpiece of absurdity without any trace of credibility. But Putin doesn’t care about that. The Russian president and former KGB colonel only cares about two broader objectives. First, he wants to use this propaganda to muddy the waters just enough to win sympathy from a few useful idiots in the West. Second, Putin wants to throw crumbs to those Western politicians who want and need an excuse to resist imposing new sanctions on Russia or Russian officials in response to this attack. The special focus here is in pushing the Austrian and Italian governments to obstruct broader European Union efforts to agree to common sanctions.

Still, there’s no question that it is Putin who is most off-balance. The Russian leader is angry and embarrassed by the fact that the GRU’s Skripal operation failed so spectacularly. Not only did Skripal and his daughter Yulia survive the assassination attempt, but Petrov and Boshirov also allowed their Novichok-class nerve agent dispersal device (a fake perfume bottle) to be discovered.

Even worse, they allowed the device to kill an innocent woman after she sprayed what she thought was perfume on her hands. Putin knows that callousness has infuriated the British government: Innocent British citizens have had their neural pathways interrupted and have thus suffered a brutal and painful death.

It’s even worse than all that because the Russian strike team also allowed themselves to be caught on camera hundreds of times as they strolled around Britain. Oh, and prior to the attack, Petrov and Boshirov messed around with the Novichok in a non-contained environment, which allowed trace detection by British authorities in various places. These trace detections correlate perfectly with the CCTV video footage in the same areas the two men visited. In short, the GRU broke just about every intelligence tradecraft rule concerning deniable operations on the soil of a hostile adversary that retains high-capability counterintelligence services.

Putin is trying to clean up his mess as best he can. But the U.S. and its allies shouldn’t let him. Putin’s aggression should be countermanded by new sanctions on the Russian energy-export sector, which will make Europe safer and Putin weaker.


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