With Putin in power ‘no one will be safe’, says biographer John Sweeney

“I think what the Ukrainians are teaching us is that democracy must be protected and freedom of expression is not granted. I think we should pay attention to what is happening in Ukraine,” Sweeney told Agencia Lusa about the release of the book “Killer in the Kremlin.” [“Assassino no Kremlin”].

“For too long we’ve lived too comfortably and become a bit ‘zombified’. But Russia remains a threat. No one will be safe as long as Putin is in power. According to Sweeney, who was in Kiev on February 24 when Russia launched its military offensive against Ukraine.

The book, which is said to be an “explosive account of Putin’s reign of terror” resulted from the former spy and current president’s 22 years since the war in Chechnya in the 2000s, saying he “found evidence of war crimes by the Russian military”.

In 2014, he traveled to Siberia to question the Russian president for the BBC, asking him about the “deaths in Ukraine”, referring to the downing of flight MH17, which killed 298 people.

A Malaysia Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was hit by a missile while flying over eastern Ukraine during the height of the conflict over the annexation of Crimea.

“There is no doubt that MH17 was shot down in the air by the Russian military,” says Sweeney, who investigated the crash for the British public broadcaster, despite Moscow’s denials.

Putin responded by accusing Kiev of not wanting “substantial political dialogue with the east of the country.” A few months later, Russia supported the breakaway Ukrainian republics of Donetsk and Luhansk and annexed the Crimean peninsula.

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In 2018, Sweeney returned to the topic, exploring the ties to Putin of Russian oligarchs who frequented the United Kingdom and the Kremlin connections of businessman Aaron Banks, one of Nigel Farage’s allies and financiers during the Brexit referendum.

More recently, he wrote about the close relationship between Prime Minister Boris Johnson and former Russian spy Alexander Lebedev, whose son Yevgeny, owner of the Evening Standard and Independent newspapers, entered the House of Lords with the title of Baron Lebedev of Hampton, Richmond. London, Thames and Siberia, in the Russian Federation.

Information used for all of these works in the book and the “Talking on Putin” podcast. [“Falando sobre Putin”]Sweeney launched with crowdfunding in February [crowdfunding] From Kiev.

Since leaving the BBC in 2019, Sweeney, 64, has continued to work as a freelance journalist and author of several books, which has also given him greater freedom.

The new book traces Putin’s journey through those who knew him, experts and opponents, and covers a number of unproven theories, from the illness that allegedly afflicted Vladimir Putin to rumors of pedophilia and bisexuality.

On the much talked about facial disfigurement of the Russian president, John F. As it happened to Kennedy, he says, it could be the result of too many steroids due to treatment for Addison’s disease, which could increase the side effects. In occupation.

But this does not mean that Putin went crazy, he recalled a conversation with a psychiatrist.

“He’s bad, but not crazy. He doesn’t have a voice in his head, he doesn’t hallucinate”, he argues, which is good news because it means he’s not going to nuke us.

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Before invading Ukraine, Putin had already launched attacks on the international order and Western democracies, and the book’s influence on ‘Brexit’ is in doubt, despite several official British inquiries finding no evidence.

“None of these investigations are qualitative. Really knowledgeable people [os serviços de inteligência britânicos] MI6 and they were not asked to investigate,” he told Lusa, adding that the ruling Conservative Party was not interested.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson acknowledges the merits of a confrontation between Russia and Putin “since February 24” but has left off criticism of previous ties to oligarchs, such as attending parties at the Lebedev mansion in Italy.

“The relationship with the Lebedevs is irrelevant. Alexander Lebedev is from the KGB [o KGB] It’s like Hotel California,” he says, referring to the Eagles’ song, “You Can Never Leave.”

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