Alexander Lebedev


After a sensational headline in The Guardian dished the dirt on UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s meeting with an “ex-KGB agent” in Italy, the Russian businessman involved has hit back, with some trolling accusations of his own.

“Boris Johnson met an ex-KGB agent during a highly controversial trip to attend a party two days after attending a high-level Nato summit that focused on Russia,” The Guardian reported on Sunday. No details of the meeting are revealed in the report, but through heavy use of context – the meeting took place last year, a month after the poisoning of the Skripals in Salisbury – it was nonetheless portrayed as a shady one. All that is put at the background of the delay in the publication of ‘Russia interference report.’

Comment: Is this another bizarre attempt at throwing anti-Russian sentiment into the General Election mess? The report apparently, yet again, found no evidence of Russian meddling in British politics and Downing street delayed it’s release until after the election; likely because the facts do not support their agenda.

The “agent” in question is billionaire Alexander Lebedev, but rather than some sort of secret agent of a long-defunct Soviet spy service, he is currently a British media mogul and an outspoken critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Dear Guardian,”Lebedev tweeted on Tuesday, “I know you hate Johnson’s guts and dream of Corbyn in Downing St. Alas, you’re doomed. Let me assure you I have no influence on UK politics.”

“Can you pls leave me alone, or else -I can reveal from my former past that some Guardian journalists are FSB- and Qatar’s!-agents!!,” he continued, tossing out some of his own juicy spy conspiracies.

During the Cold War, Lebedev was indeed a member of the KGB, and was reportedly stationed at the Soviet embassy in London during the 1980s. After the collapse of the USSR, he amassed a fortune in the banking industry, and is now part owner of Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta. The publication is often very critical of Vladimir Putin and Lebedev is not a supporter of the Russian President and is instead identified with the western-leaning liberal opposition.

In 2009, he bought the London Evening Standard and added The Independent a year later. The UK media business is run by his son, Evgeny, who is a British subject. The latter wrote a column in last weekend’s Mail on Sunday, where he said he has never even met the Russian leader, and is not promoting his agenda. “Don’t judge me because I’m Russian,” he wrote, “judge me on what I’ve done for this country, and what I intend to continue to do.”

Whether Lebedev’s activities will involve revealing the supposed Qatari and Kremlin paymasters behind the Guardian‘s journalists, however, is at this moment a mystery known only to crack ex-KGB agents like Lebedev.