Russians – Three Ways

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I think I may be watching too much Masterchef when I start grouping unrelated incidents in the news in foodie terms.  But my title has nothing to do with food. Russians Three Ways refers to three stories in the news, all on different continents that involve Russians.

Odd Associations

Well sort of – One story is about a Russian spy, the other about a Russian hooker and the first story is about a tragedy here on South African soil – the Listeria Outbreak.

OK, so Russians are only part of the Listeria story – polony and viennas are more relevant.  Processed lunch meat the international media call it.

Although we don’t seem to be too shocked by the death toll of 180, I believe the story is still going to be in the news for a while as we clean up and buy back and try to find safe ways to dispose of potentially toxic processed meat.

So my Russians three ways are:

  • The Listeria Outbreak in South Africa –  Listeriosis has already killed 180 people, mostly kids and babies.
  • The jailed Russian escort in a Thailand prison who says she has dirt on Donald Trump.
  • The Russian Spy and his daughter in Salisbury England critically ill after being exposed to an unknown substance.

Listeriosis Outbreak – Contaminated Processed Meat

We heard of Listerioisis for the first time in December 2017 when Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi  held a press conference to talk about the outbreak of this food borne disease.

The Minister said: “we believe for this particular outbreak, the most likely possible source is contamination food at origin e.g. farms and agriculture as well as food processing plants. “

At another media briefing held on 08 January 2018, he reported that a total of 727 laboratory-confirmed cases of listeriosis had occurred since 01 January 2017. Of these 727 cases, there was final outcome data for 134 patients. Unfortunately, 61 of them had died.

Listeria Scare

The Listeria scare kicked in big time on 4 March  when the National Department of Health confirmed that the outbreak of the food borne disease called Listeriosis could be confirmed to be the Enterprise food-production facility in Polokwane.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi  immediately ordered a recall of processed meat manufactured by Enterprise and Rainbow.

South Africa is in a processed meats frenzy. Huge spaces in refrigerators in supermarkets are empty as polony, russians and other processed meats have been recalled. Shoprite and Checkers are offering full refunds on some Enterprise and Rainbow products. And in Cape Town, Health officials helped Spaza shops and small businesses with awareness of the recall and removal of identified products.

Clean up Appeal

An appeal has been made to the public to clean all fridges, machinery, cutlery and work surfaces such as cutting boards that may have been exposed to contaminated products.

A solution of one teaspoon unscented bleach to one litre of water can be used to disinfect the affected areas.

The Russian Escort in Thailand (2018 version of One Night in Bangkok)

A fiction writer would be hard pressed to dream up this delicious plot. An attractive, young Belarusian escort with close ties to a powerful Russian oligarch has said from behind bars in Bangkok that she has tapes and documents that prove interference by Russia in the 2016 US presidential election.

Anastasia Vashukevich  21, said she would hand over the recordings if the United States granted her asylum.

At present she is facing criminal charges and deportation for violating her tourist visa and working in Thailand at a sex-training seminar in the city of Pattaya.

Powerful Kremlin Ties

The truth is that Anastasia Vashukevich (who also goes by the name Nastya Rybka) has been connected in the past to powerful men with Kremlin ties. The Russian Oligarch she travelled with and with whom she appears in photos is aluminum magnate and former Paul Manafort employer Oleg Deripaska. And the top Russian government official who accompanied them on Deripaska’s yacht — was Sergei Prikhodko, Russia’s deputy prime minister, a long time Putin ally.

So who knows what she actually has, but it is causing a big stir. And I’m just a little amused that the lovely Ms Vashukevich was not arrested on any morals law in Thailand, she was working on a tourist visa giving sex lessons to Russians. (Very One night in Bangkok)

The Russian Spy in Salisbury

A father and daughter were sitting on a bench in the Maltings Shopping Centre in the UK on Sunday afternoon. Well actually they were found unconscious, just after 4pm.

The father Sergei Skripal, 66, was one of four Russians exchanged for 10 deep cover “sleeper” agents planted by Moscow in the US. His 33 year old daughter Yulia who was spending the weekend with him is also still fighting for her life in hospital.

It is assumed they had been exposed to some unknown substance.

In an article ‘Traitors will kick the bucket’: Vladimir Putin swore revenge on poisoned Russian spy Sergei Skripal. The Telegraph reports that the Russian President issued a death threat,  as Colonel Sergei Skripal, who was convicted of working for MI6, had been sent to the UK in a spy exchange.

‘Traitors will kick the bucket’: Vladimir Putin swore revenge on poisoned Russian spy Sergei Skripal

The incident comes a little over a decade after the murder of Alexander Litvinenko, the former Russian agent who was poisoned by radioactive polonium in a London hotel.

And Boris Johnsson is warning the Kremlin that the UK would respond “robustly” if there is any evidence of Russian involvement.