This is a revealing Sunday newspaper-type romp through the nether regions of Mayfair and the corrupt and sordid world of British fixers, but there is nothing here that sheds any light on ‘Himself’ (as Putin is known in the Kremlin). As for our local Ali Baba’s cave in London, don’t expect much to be revealed when the Johnson government releases the long-delayed parliamentary report on Russian connections to British political figures.
Unable to call upon the state’s investigative resources, we journalists, in compiling lists of victims whose deaths were suspicious but ultimately cannot be explained, might simply be muddying the waters — and unintentionally amplifying a message of fear, that Putin’s arm is long and his vengeance is total.
The force of Berezovsky’s oversize personality helps to prevent this story becoming just a blood trail. One of Berezovsky’s former protection officers tells Blake that he had conducted an “ingestion audit” to determine how the exiled oligarch could be vulnerable to a Kremlin poisoning attempt. They compiled an extraordinary catalogue of his fine wine and whisky consumption.