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 'Not suppost to cry': 9-year-old lists the worst things about being a boy
- 3 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 4 Lana Del Rey rape video: Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking leaked footage
- 5 Kenya bus attack: Al-Shabaab militants kill 28 non-Muslims who failed to recite Koran
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services
Myleene Klass: Ed Miliband 'strikes back' by comparing UK's need for Labour's mansion tax to Hear'Say track
Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...
£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Sales Account Manager...