‘Enemy of democracy’: Alexander Temerko says Putin wants to harm UK
In an interview with the Guardian Alexander Temerko said he welcomed the publication of the intelligence and security committee’s (ISC) Russia report, which accused the government of turning a blind eye to Kremlin interference. “Better late than never. They finally published it,” he said.
Temerko said that as a British citizen he was entitled to support the Conservatives. He refused to be drawn on whether Moscow had backed Brexit during the 2016 EU referendum. But he acknowledged the ISC was right to characterise Vladimir Putin’s regime as a serious threat, saying: “It wants to harm the UK.”
“I have never been a friend of Putin’s. I’m ready to say he’s an enemy of democracy. I have seen my friends jailed,” Temerko said. He acknowledged being close to Boris Johnson but said he had campaigned in 2016 for Remain. He added: “I’m a Tory activist. I’m a party member. My only passport is British. I want to live here and die here.”
Temerko pointed out that many British firms are heavily invested in Russia, including BP which has a 19.75% stake in Rosneft. Rosneft’s chief executive Igor Sechin is a close and longstanding ally of Putin’s. Other leading companies with branches in Russia include Barclays and Citibank, he said, adding: “It’s serious money. We need to talk about that.”