Results from the likes of Globaltrans and RusHydro are due, and there is plenty of colour to go with the figures

Smiley’s People, John Le Carré’s 1979 novel about a Soviet defector bumped off on Hampstead Heath by Moscow Central, is suddenly looking remarkably relevant.

The narrative around the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in Salisbury has some eerie similarities to the fictional assassination of the Gauloises-smoking Estonian émigré General Vladimir. Meanwhile, Le Carré’s tale was a story about a retired spy returning to work, just as Kremlin-watchers in London speculate that MI6 did not need any intelligence to establish a motive for the Skripal poisoning: they simply needed to take a look at their current payroll.

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