What was Vladimir Putin playing at? Earlier this month, he sent Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov on to state television to say they were not spies at all, just tourists who had travelled 3,000 miles to see Salisbury Cathedral while staying in the wrong city. Exposing them in this way would mean it would only be a matter of time before it emerged that Boshirov was, in fact, not who he claimed he was. Unsurprisingly, Boshirov is actually Anatoliy Chepiga: not a sports nutritionist but a decorated GRU Colonel. He was awarded Hero of the Russian Federation, Russia’s highest state award, which was most likely handed to him by Putin himself. A Brit might be thinking: Ha! Gotcha! Putin has been caught in the act.
But perhaps this is Putin's point: that he wants to show the world he can take out enemies of the Kremlin anywhere he likes, and doesn't even have to cover his tracks.