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

“I think what Ukrainians teach us is that democracy must be protected and freedom of expression is not guaranteed. 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 have 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 Kyiv on February 24 when the Russia has launched its military offensive against Ukraine.

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

In 2014, he traveled to Siberia to interview the Russian president for the BBC, asking him about the “deaths in Ukraine”, in reference 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 at 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,” said Sweeney, who investigated the crash for Britain’s public broadcaster, despite denials from Moscow.

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

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

More recently, he has written 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.

The book contains information used for all of this work, as well as the “Talking on Putin” podcast. [“Falando sobre Putin”]Sweeney launched crowdfunding in February [crowdfunding] From Kyiv.

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 alike, 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 Russian President John F. As happened to Kennedy, he says, it could be the result of too much steroids from treating Addison’s disease, which which could increase side effects. Occupied.

But this does not mean that Putin has gone mad, he remembered a conversation with a psychiatrist.

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

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 investigations finding no evidence.

“None of these surveys is qualitative. Really competent people [os serviços de inteligência britânicos] MI6 and they weren’t 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 stopped criticizing previous links with the 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, referencing the Eagles song, “You Can Never Leave.”

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