cloudy
Tuesday September 25th, 2018 3:15AM

Accused abroad, Russians become celebrities at home

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

MOSCOW (AP) — The last time Britain accused two Russians of an assassination, one of them ended up in the Russian parliament.

The case of Andrei Lugovoi, a key suspect in the 2006 killing of ex-KGB officer Alexander Litvinenko, shows how the two alleged Russian military intelligence operatives accused by Britain of poisoning ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal could have lucrative careers in Russia if they go public.

President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday the men — who British authorities said used the names Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov — appeared to be innocent. He suggested they tell their story "to some media outlet."

Hours later, Russian state TV said it had spoken with Petrov and that he planned to comment on the case next week. Previous cases show that could be an improbable springboard into parliament or a network TV show.

When some Russians have been accused of crimes abroad, political and business leaders have embraced them and made them celebrities.

ANDREI LUGOVOI

Accused of poisoning Litvinenko with the radioactive substance polonium, Lugovoi, a former KGB officer, parlayed his newfound fame into a political career. In 2007, he was elected to parliament on the ticket of the nationalist LDPR party, which has strong Kremlin ties.

Since then, he's given his name to the Lugovoi Law — a 2014 measure allowing authorities to block "extremist" websites without a court ruling — and he's a regular commentator on the Skripal case for state TV.

Lugovoi argues Skripal's poisoning had nothing to do with Russia and blames Britain for harboring what he calls defectors.

"As long as you keep welcoming all kinds of scum on your territory, you're going to keep having problems," he said in March on a popular talk shows.

The Russian constitution bans extraditing criminal suspects, and Lugovoi's status as a lawmaker makes him immune from prosecution at home. A fellow suspect, Dmitry Kovtun, has kept a lower profile.

ANNA CHAPMAN

When the FBI rounded up 10 Russian sleeper agents in 2010 and sent them home in a spy swap, one caught the eye of the tabloids.

The then-28-year-old Chapman, who was married to a British man, later launched a modeling career in Russia, and was briefly on the board of the youth arm of a pro-Putin political party.

She's best known, however, as the host of "Chapman's Secrets," a long-running show mixing anti-U.S. rhetoric with conspiracy theories and mysticism.

"Why does official science still not concede that unidentified flying objects are alien spaceships?" she said one episode. "Our hypothesis that alien intelligence has long colluded with the ruling elite was recently and unexpectedly confirmed. What are politicians and soldiers keeping quiet about? I, Anna Chapman, will reveal this secret."

More than 400 episodes have been made. Last week, guests speculated the U.S. was training Eastern European guerrillas to invade Russia, and another — introduced as a shaman — suggested intelligent trees caused hikers to go missing out of spite for humanity.

"It's incredible, but the living forest from the movie 'Avatar' isn't the director's make-believe," Chapman summarized.

MARIA BUTINA

Accused of working as an undeclared foreign agent in the U.S., Butina is fast becoming a cause celebre at home.

She was a relatively obscure gun-rights activist in Russia before she started making political contacts among Republicans and National Rifle Association members in the U.S. Now, Butina's photo is the avatar on the Russian Foreign Ministry's social media profiles.

Government rhetoric portrays her as a martyr to U.S. paranoia and a victim of poor conditions in the Washington, D.C., jail where she's being held pending trial.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP World News, AP Entertainment, APOnline Celebrity News
© Copyright 2018 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Police: Man dies after shark attack off Cape Cod
Police say a man has died after being attacked by a shark off a beach on Cape Cod in Massachusetts.
12:06AM ( 12 minutes ago )
US Border Patrol agent charged in 2-week killing spree
A U.S. Border Patrol supervisor has been charged with murder following what authorities called a two-week serial killing spree
12:03AM ( 15 minutes ago )
No. 4 Ohio State holds off No. 15 TCU 40-28 after quick TDs
No. 4 Ohio State scored three TDs in a four-minute span to finally go ahead to stay in a 40-28 win over No. 15 TCU
11:58PM ( 20 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Prosecutor: Border Patrol agent went on 2-week killing spree
Texas state troopers have arrested a U.S. Border Patrol supervisor who they accuse of going on a two-week serial killing spree
10:14PM ( 2 hours ago )
The Latest: Record flooding expected on Cape Fear River
Record flooding expected on North Carolina's Cape Fear River in coming weeks after persistent heavy rains from Florence
9:49PM ( 2 hours ago )
Typhoon aims at south China after killing 12 in Philippines
Typhoon Mangkhut (MAHN'-koot) is roaring toward Hong Kong and southern China after ravaging across the northern Philippines with ferocious winds and heavy rain that left at least 12 dead in landslides and collapsed houses
9:36PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP National News
Niece: Family won't take in Elizabeth Smart's kidnapper
Once an accomplished organ player in Salt Lake City, Wanda Barzee has become a disturbing figure even for members of her own family for her role in the 2002 kidnapping of then-teenager Elizabeth Smart
5:32PM ( 6 hours ago )
Florence pours on the rain in the Carolinas, swelling rivers
Emergency workers in the Carolinas are going door to door urging people to flee Florence's rising floodwaters and rescuers are using boats to pluck others from homes already submerged as the storm's epic deluge goes on
11:58AM ( 12 hours ago )
Deluged by Hurricane Matthew, rural town waits for Florence
A rural town, battered by the collapse of its blue-collar economy and then by Hurricane Matthew, might also bear the brunt of Florence
11:43AM ( 12 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
Manafort plea deal raises key question: What does he know?
Paul Manafort had been resolute in professing his innocence as some Donald Trump associates folded one by one over the past year under the pressure of federal investigators, but that's now changed after his plea deal with the special counsel's office.
1:23PM ( 10 hours ago )
Black female Democrats call for changes in party
Black female Democrats call for changes in party
1:12AM ( 23 hours ago )
Kavanaugh denies allegation of sexual misconduct in school
Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has denied a sexual misconduct allegation from when he was in high school
12:24AM ( 23 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
The Latest: Anita Hill says a complaint process needed
Anita Hill says the reluctance of someone to come forward publicly with an allegation against a Supreme Court nominee shows the need for the Senate to put in place a process for complaints to be heard
8:15PM ( 1 day ago )
Montana Green Party's ballot benefactor may remain unknown
Montana officials may never know who bankrolled the effort to qualify the Green Party for the 2018 ballot
5:50PM ( 1 day ago )
Insurgent who won in NY says voters looked past distractions
A 27-year-old insurgent who defeated a veteran New York lawmaker after a bruising primary characterized by embarrassing revelations about her past said Friday that she won because voters were civically engaged and focused on the issues
5:43PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Congress News
Reporters: Number in suspect's file reached Russian military
Two journalists say the passport file of one of the suspects in the poisoning of a Russian ex-spy in England contains a telephone number that appears to belong to Russia's Defense Ministry
4:29PM ( 7 hours ago )
Severely ill Pussy Riot member to be treated in Germany
A member of Russia's Pussy Riot protest group says a severely ill fellow activist is being sent to Germany for treatment after his suspected poisoning
3:56PM ( 8 hours ago )
Pope pays tribute in Sicily to priest slain by Mafia
Pope Francis has paid tribute in Sicily to a priest slain by mobsters for discouraging youths from joining the Mafia
1:42PM ( 10 hours ago )
AP World News
Bright colors, neons light up runways at London Fashion Week
Anything goes: Day 2 of London Fashion Week heats up with Jasper Conran, Alexa Chung
4:34PM ( 7 hours ago )
Bryan's return from Davis Cup retirement helps keep US alive
Doubles specialist Mike Bryan's decision to come out of Davis Cup retirement gave the United States a much-needed lift
2:52PM ( 9 hours ago )
On again? Mayweather says he and Pacquiao will fight
Floyd Mayweather Jr. says he's coming out of retirement again to fight Manny Pacquiao for 2nd time in December
1:03PM ( 11 hours ago )
AP Entertainment
Celebs turn out to help Rihanna's Diamond Ball shine bright
Rihanna's Diamond Ball shined in its fourth year and continued to make a name as one of the industry's white-hot and must-attend parties _ all while raising money for charity
4:58PM ( 1 day ago )
Mexico vies for best foreign film Oscar with Cuaron's 'Roma'
The ninth time may be the charm for Mexico at the Oscars as Alfonso Cuaron's Roma is the country's selection for a best foreign language film nomination
2:11PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Source: Seahawks to sign Mychal Kendricks
The Seattle Seahawks are expected to sign linebacker Mychal Kendricks to a one-year contract despite his recent guilty plea on insider trading charges
11:36AM ( 1 day ago )
APOnline Celebrity News
No. 4 Ohio State holds off No. 15 TCU 40-28 after quick TDs
No. 4 Ohio State scored three TDs in a four-minute span to finally go ahead to stay in a 40-28 win over No. 15 TCU
11:58PM ( 22 minutes ago )
Prosecutor: Border agent charged in 2-week killing spree
Texas state troopers have arrested a U.S. Border Patrol supervisor who they accuse of going on a two-week serial killing spree
11:50PM ( 29 minutes ago )
Typhoon aims at south China after killing 28 in Philippines
Typhoon Mangkhut (MAHN'-koot) is roaring toward Hong Kong and southern China after ravaging across the northern Philippines with ferocious winds and heavy rain that left at least 28 dead in landslides and collapsed houses
11:39PM ( 41 minutes ago )
No. 1 Alabama blows past Mississippi 62-7
No. 1 Alabama blows past Mississippi 62-7
10:32PM ( 1 hour ago )
Prosecutor: Border Patrol agent went on 2-week killing spree
Texas state troopers have arrested a U.S. Border Patrol supervisor who they accuse of going on a two-week serial killing spree
10:14PM ( 2 hours ago )