“It is one thing to be a ‘distinctive’ voice in world politics, but another entirely to be outed as a probable murderer – as the final report of the inquiry into the death of Alexander Litvinenko accuses him of being,” Nixey writes, adding that “the Russian response has been a familiar mixture of bluster, misrepresentation and conspiracy theory.”
“Fortunately for the Kremlin, the British government would like to move on too. Its outrage is probably genuine, but there has clearly been a decision to do as little as can be got away with. The actual substance of the British response has so far been confined to freezing the assets of the two accused assassins.”
Russian and Ukrainian analysts have reached the same conclusion, and that is likely to drive policy in both Moscow and Kyiv, with the former deciding that it has little to lose by continuing on as before given the absence of penalties and the latter recognizing that it is far more on its own than the brave words some Western leaders have suggested.
In a commentary for Apostrophe, New York-based Russian historian Yuri Felshtinsky says that the London High Court’s findings do not threaten either Putin or Patrushev in any way either now or as long as they are in office.
He points out that the German foreign minister wants to resume the operations of the Russia-NATO Council and the chairman of NATO’s military committee has said that the alliance must cooperate with as well as contain Russia.
Nosovich suggests, because he is writing primarily about the Baltics, that if NATO is serious, it needs to rein in Poland and the Baltic countries rather than encourage these opponents of Russia. But what is most obvious is his clear conviction that time is on Russia’s side, that the West will seek to restore ties with Moscow and that all Moscow has to do is wait.
In that environment, he implies, all talk about doing more now that Putin has been identified as likely behind a murder in a Western capital with radioactive materials is just that, talk and something both Russia and its leader can safely ignore.