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 The scientist who takes 100 drugs a day so he can live to 150
- 2 The Visit: Trailer for M Night Shyamalan's latest horror film is terrifying
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 4 The confessions of men who ordered mail-order brides
- 5 General Election 2015: Stephen Hawking says he will vote Labour
General Election 2015: Tories sack candidate who said she would never support 'the Jew' Ed Miliband
9/11: Iranian General accuses US of organising September 11 terror attacks
General Election 2015: Stephen Hawking says he will vote Labour
Yazidi sex slaves undergoing surgery to 'restore virginity' after being raped by Isis militants
Australian student Tommy Connolly, 23, adopts his pregnant, homeless 17-year-old cousin to give her a chance at 'a better life'
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Phantom of the Opera writer mocked after issuing a warning about Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon
General election 2015: Labour will toughen hate crimes legislation surrounding Islamophobia
EU exit would hit UK economy much harder than neighbouring countries, study finds
£19000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Small Family Accountancy Practi...
£18000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is recruiting for ...
£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This B2B software supplier, spe...
£22000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing SaaS (Softwar...