Russian journalist seeks political asylum in the United Kingdom
Yelena Tregubova, author of the highly-publicized book “Tales of a Kremlin Digger” has asked for political asylum in Britain. She told reporters that she was awaiting a decision from the British authorities, but refused to give any details or commentary.
Tregubova was a journalist for the newspaper Kommersant in the “Kremlin pool” under both Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin. In her book which she wrote after her dismissal in 2003, the journalist talks about many of those in power whom she herself knew.
From 1997 to 2001 she worked as the Kremlin reporter for Russian Telegraph, Izvestia and Kommersant.
The people who figure in her book include Vladislav Surkov, Oleksandr Voloshyn and Vladimir Putin himself.
In 2003 a scandal erupted with a feature about the book being removed from air on TV Channel NTV. Journalists from the programme Namedni” had wanted to recreate the atmosphere of one of the key scenes in the book, namely a meal in a Japanese restaurant which Putin as Director of FSB [the Russian Security Service] invited Tregubova to.
On 2 February 2004 a bomb exploded in the entrance to Tregubovas building. The journalist was not hurt however she accused the Russian authorities of organizing a witch hunt. She wrote about this in another book which also came out in 2004 under the title “Farewell of a Kremlin Digger”.
Tregubovas books have been translated into several European languages. In autumn 2006 her book “Kremlin mutants” was published in Germany and attracted a lot of publicity.
After the murder of Anna Politkovskaya, Tregubova published an open letter in the German press to the German Chancellor in which she called on Angela Merkel and other Western leaders to demand that Vladimir Putin put a stop to political murders, the violations of human rights and elimination of the independent media in Russia.
Over the last few days, Boris Berezovsky said that the Russian investigators who questioned him over the Litvinenko case had asked about the whereabouts of Tregubova.
“The Russian representatives asked around 200 questions and I refused to answer approximately 20 since they concerned my private business relations and the whereabouts of the Russian journalist Yelena Tregubova”, he said.