On a warm spring evening two people in Salisbury, United Kingdom, sat on a bench, talking. One of them was an older gentleman and the other was a younger lady. They were smiling and laughing, nothing out of the ordinary, when suddenly both keeled over and started to throw up and spasm. The emergency services were called and the duo were admitted for chemical poisoning along with one of the first responders, Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey. The condition of the two Russians is reported to be critical while Mr. Bailey is slowly on his way to recovery.
Her Majesty's government then released a statement blaming the Russian state for the attack on one of their own countrymen, a double agent, and his daughter. Their names, Sergie Skripal and daughter Yuri Skripal.
Why was Russia suspected by the authorities? It was because the nerve agent used - Novichok, is a class of nerve agent that only Russia is known to possess, according to testimonies from defectors.
British PM Theresa May was quick to go on the offensive and called for the removal of all 23 of the diplomats attached with the Russian Embassy along with removal of football officials from the World Cup due to take place in Russia in 2018. She has invited the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to come to Salisbury and test the samples so as to provide a conclusive statement vis-a-vis the poisoning. Mrs. May has also called upon her allies in the EU and the USA to clamp down on the Russian state and to join her in imposing sanctions against them.
But will they?
Russia has become the bully the world can get behind. Under Putin, the Kremlin have extended their hands into everything. The reason why a brutal civil war is being fought in Syria is because the Russian government has propped the Assad regime, even when the people are against the government. But why would Moscow want to prop-up a government in Damascus?
Because of Syria's position as being the last country that has hosted a Russian base in the Mediterranean Sea. Russia has a unique problem, she has a long coast line, of which the majority is frozen over, which means Russia needs bases in the warmer seas for their battleships and the one in Tartus, Syria is one such installment.
Russia has been flexing its military muscle along its border with Europe for a long time now, leading to Poland calling on NATO to match Russia’s growing standing army.
Russia, under Putin, is one of the only major powers in the world to have conquered another sovereign country. History has not faded enough to not remember the time when a similar dictator in Germany started to flex his muscles and started to take over his weaker neighbors.
Russia is also one of the only states in recent memory to have been accused of meddling in the affairs of not one but two major world powers. Russian influence in the 2017 American Presidential election might have played a significant role in getting President Trump elected to office. There is also the charge that Russia influenced the narrative around Brexit through ads that promulgated fake news.
British police are trying to establish whether there's been an assassination attempt on a former Russian spy and a woman at a shopping centre in Salisbury.
All this is happening on the whims of an elected official whose rise to power is mired in discrepancies. Voter fraud is rampant and people are not allowed to cast their ballot.
In other words, Vladimir Putin has always elected himself to power.
This, in a 21st century nation that has one of the largest and wealthiest expatriate community in the world, is a matter that cannot be brushed aside lightly.
While the most direct attack on a Western nation frazzled many players on the stage, none were too keen to pass sanctions against the Russian state. Only France, Germany and the US had joined the UK in issuing a statement blaming Russia after the attack. If Mrs. May had hoped that to be the beginning of a strong alliance then she was to be let down. Neither country spoke up after the joint statement with the President of the United States calling Putin to congratulate him over his historic win. That the American President thinks the world of the Russian President is known to everyone, but why would Chancellor Merkel bow down to Russia? Why wouldn't the rest of the states in the EU support their once fellow member?
It is because of the same reason that Saudi Arabia operates with impunity in the Middle East; it meddles in the affairs of other sovereign states and propagates their version of militant Islam across the globe by funding madrassas that preach their message, and the United States remains a mute spectator. The one and only reason for this taciturn behavior is oil and natural gas.
Russia sits on one of the largest reserves of natural gas in the world. Gas which is needed to heat up European homes in the winter. Germany is planning to build the Nord stream 2 pipeline at the cost of $11 billion dollars. The Gas reserve is effectively Moscow's get out of jail free card. That and the wealth accrued in the hands of the few, read as being close to Putin. The Russian Oligarchs have invested in a number of high profile commodities from which they will withdraw their money back to Russia, creating a no-win situation for Mrs. May. Thus, it's no big surprise that after a week of heavy verbal attacks, she has toned down the rhetoric.
Then again, this was to be expected; after all the Russian state did poison, allegedly, another Russian spy, Alexander Litvinenko, in 2006. Then too, after a few passionate outbursts, everything died down to normal.
Seems like Russia really can get away with Murder.