Russian `spy' goes on trial for treason
Monday 28 July 1997
Obukhov, a junior diplomat and best-selling spy novelist, was expected to argue in his defence that he had only been meeting the British to gather material for his latest thriller. That much he told his interrogators, according to the newspaper Argumenty i Fakty, which commented that "playing with death" might have been a good title for the book, since that is the sentence Obukhov could theoretically receive if he is convicted. In the new democratic Russia a prison sentence is more likely.
The expulsion of the four British diplomats last May provoked an outraged response from London and revived memories of the Cold War. Observ-ers wondered whether the Russian citizen the British were accused of recruiting existed, or whether he had been invented to make Boris Yeltsin look tough in the run-up to the presidential election.
But Mikhail Lyubimov, a retired KGB officer expelled from Britain in the 1960s and later head of the British section at the Lubyanka, said the British appeared on this occasion to have been up to something. The British Embassy spokesman declined to comment yesterday.
Argumenty i Fakty, a newspaper which became highly popular in the glasnost era by supplying arguments and facts of which Soviet citizens have been starved, has provided most of the information about Obukhov. A second secretary in the Russian foreign ministry's prestigious North American Department, he dealt with disarmament questions, it said.
But "Platosha", as he was known, was more interested in writing spy novels with up-to-date plots involving the Mafia, which has flourished since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Two of his works "In The Embrace of the Spider" and "Fateful Woman" were available on street stalls which have sprung up since the end of censorship.
Obukhov's arrest had proved embarrassing for his high-ranking father, Alexei Obukhov, a Deputy foreign minister in the days when Eduard Shevardnadze ran the Soviet foreign ministry and later Russian ambassador to Denmark. He was recalled to Moscow and interrogated with his son. Cleared of suspicion, Obukhov Senior was allowed to return to Copenhagen but the shock was too much for him. He suffered a heart attack which forced him to retire.
- 1 Five-year-old Iris Grace is raising awareness of autism through her extraordinary paintings
- 2 Expert urges cat lovers to own just one animal each
- 4 Yes, the iPhone 6 is a miracle, but it's Apple's tax affairs that deserve a double take
Sainsbury's '50p challenge' poster telling staff to encourage customers to spend more placed in shop window instead of staff room
Five-year-old Iris Grace is raising awareness of autism through her extraordinary paintings
Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
Isis an hour away from Baghdad - with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
British man raped while urinating in bushes at Oktoberfest beer festival in Germany
Isis, we are told, is a 'clear and dangerous threat to our way of life'. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy it
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
- < Previous
- Next >
Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: NORTH HAMPSHIRE NQ to MID LEVEL - An e...
Highly Attractive Pakage: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - A highly attractive oppor...
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (Campaigns, Offlin...
£90000 - £135000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Marketing (B2C, Acquisition...