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The Fall of an Oligarch

As Berezovsky Lay Dying

by AFSHIN RATTANSI

You would have needed a Hogarth rather than neoclassical David to paint the dead body in a bathtub at a mansion, some 40km West of London found on the morning of Saturday 22nd March 2013. Zionist and Russian fugitive and business partner of the brother of President George W. Bush, Boris Berezovsky was once chairman of Russian TV. He came to see himself as a Russian revolutionary. But the man who was found dead at the age of 67 was no Jacobin journalist with a desire for liberty, equality and fraternity in the former Soviet Union.

The news first emerged on Facebook, where Berezovsky’s son-in-law, internet venture capitalist, Egor Schuppe posted a status update. Then, the journalist and former publisher Damian Kudryavtsev, a long-time friend, announced Berezovsky had died of a heart attack at eleven in the morning. An ambulance wasn’t called till after 3pm. Kudryavtsev dismissed claims of suicide and other anonymous sources said Berezovsky had recently been in Israel for coronary treatment – apparently he had suffered several heart attacks over the course of his final week.

And then Berezovsky’s spokesman Lord Tim Bell confirmed that Berezovsky’s body was found by a security guard.  This is the Tim Bell of Bell Pottinger PR that has represented everything from Pinochet to Murdoch to Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, the Tim Bell who in the manner of elite historiography is credited with being “instrumental” in securing the 1979 election of Margaret Thatcher in Britain. But it seems that Bell, who was tasked with transforming the image of Boris Yeltsin in the mid-1990s, could do little to aid Boris Berezovsky’s mission to destroy Vladimir Putin’s political career in Russia.

Instead, through his reputed Berezovsky-$75,000-a-month stipend, Bell did manage to do immense damage to Anglo-Russian relations. Even in the hours after Berezovsky’s death, those in the UK who go under the increasingly-absurd job-title of “journalist” were keen to paint London as a John Le Carre city saturated with Russian secret agents. If anything, it seems to be full of British agents – was it Berezovsky who recruited murdered MI6 agent Alexander Litvinenko to the UK’s secret intelligence agency? We shall never know. As for Valter Litvinenko, father of Alexander, he alleged that it was Berezovsky who used Polonium-210 poison to kill his son in London.

But “cold” war thrillers weigh more heavily on the minds of UK journalists than news like British secret services have been involved in kidnapping Muslims for torture. For Britain’s media, it is the fear of “the other” and education over generations mean the “other” is Moscow. The need of British journalists (just look at the coverage of the death of Hugo Chavez) to destroy the reputations of foreign nations have become a psychopathy to excuse themselves from their collaboration in the worst war-crime of the twenty-first century – the Iraq War which was so opposed by Moscow.

What fertile ground for Tim Bell – whose company made millions out of the Iraq War – to sow ill-feeling between Britain and Russia, then! London, under successive Labour Party administrations genuflected to Washington, believing U.S. economic, cultural and political power was indomitable. London just didn’t know that the weeds were in their midst – the Western Capitalist Crisis.

Bell went about getting Berezovsky ensconced in the UK politico-social whirl (Reform Club; Eton schoolboys; Oxford University Russian Society; Royal United Services Institute; Chatham House; appearances in the Sunday Times and on the BBC’s Newsnight and Question Time TV shows). And for a decade, while British elites were being brainwashed, a new world of future superpowers and geopolitical relations were developing. In that Berkshire bath, it may even have occurred to Berezovsky that he and his wretched Public Relations stooge were on the wrong side of history.

As Berezovsky lay dying, a Chinese President was talking about how his first foreign trip – to Moscow, of course – had exceeded his expectations. The Syrian people were burying their dead after the latest atrocity by de facto NATO-backed insurgents – China and Russia, of course, support peace-talks rather than regime change in Syria. (The legitimate concerns of Syrians against their government can be gleaned from the fact that Bashar al-Assad’s wife also retained Tim Bell for Public Relations.)

Meanwhile, demonstrations against the brutal regime led by Tim Bell’s clients in Bahrain raged in Manama. And while Berezovsky, in that bathtub, might have reflected that he agreed with all that extra aid money U.S. President Obama has promised to Zionism during his trip to the Middle East, no-one in the developing world thinks U.S. policy on Palestine is going to do anything but maybe catalyse another 9/11. As for Berezovsky’s views on Iran, he supported Obama’s obscene sanctions which at best don’t work and at worst hurt the Persian poor. Regardless of successive U.S. National Intelligence Estimates that deny Obama’s belief in an Iranian nuclear weapons capability, Berezovsky talked to an Israeli journalist last year about “the complicated issue of Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons” and in the context of continuing Zionist barbarism of how he understood that “what is driving the Israeli leadership is Israeli national interests.” As for his meddling in the Chechen quest for independence, even this particularly neocon strategy of his has been seen to fail.

If it wasn’t suicide or natural causes, we should expect little from the investigation of the local Thames Valley police into the death of Boris Berezovsky. The inquiry that began with Rupert Murdoch’s journalists hacking into the telephones of murdered teenagers has already enlightened Britons about how corrupt UK police forces are if they have a chance of getting a backhander. And whatever the press speculation about Berezovsky losing his ill-gotten gains and his desperation to sell an Andy Warhol painting of Lenin to raise funds, there is always a lot of money in any case involving this Russian oligarch. The UK police were checking for radiation in the hours after the body was found and say the death is unexplained. Already associates of Berezovsky are saying he was murdered, strangled with a scarf. What there is to be learned from a death in Ascot in England, so famous for horseracing concerns two decades of jockeying for power over this earth.

Afshin Rattansi is CEO of Alternate Reality Productions. He is the author “The Dream of the Decade – The London Novels” available at Amazon.com. Recent episodes of his satire show Double Standards are available at www.doublestandardstv.com.