Interview with Viktoriya Skripal – The Niece of the Poisoned Double Agent Sergey Skripal

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard


The daughter of the Russian spy Sergey Skripal poisoned together with her father in London is on the mend. Her condition, as doctors say, improves with each passing day. This news couldn’t not cause joy in the capitals of two States. The English police believe that Yulia Skripal will shed light on the mysterious poisoning that set all of Europe against Russia. The same hopes are fed also by Russian law enforcement authorities (the Investigative Committee of Russia initiated proceedings after the attempt on the Russian’s life).

But there is also someone else who is waiting for the recovery of the woman absolutely disinterestedly. “MK” already spoke about the unenviable fate of the dog of Yulia named Noir. The owner placed the dog in a hotel before her departure to London, but the paid term of accommodation of the pet expired long ago. The only reason that he wasn’t thrown out onto the street is because of the will of the owners of the pet hotel. We went to visit Noir together with the cousin of Yulia, Viktoriya Skripal.

We rush towards Podolsk. Almost all the back seat was occupied by a huge dog cage. Viktoriya was ready to pay for the release of the favourite of Yulia. However, she needs to travel soon to England, to settle the affairs of her sister.

“There is nobody else who can go. The closest relative of the Skripals is Sergey’s mother. She is nearly 90 years old, and she lives with me. There is a cousin Elena Skripal in Primorye, but she had serious problems because of this story.”

What problems?

Viktoriya shows a document — a warning to Elena Skripal about the need to leave the working accommodation given to her.

“She lived there for seven years as a civilian, and nobody touched it. Two minor children are registered in the apartment (born in 2011 and 2014 respectively, the documents are at the disposal of “MK”). And now, when the scandal became known and that Elena Skripal is the relative of Sergey and Yulia, they were asked to leave.”

The British side declared that visiting the poisoned Skripals is possible, but no relative has yet shown the willingness to do so. When did you decide to go to Salisbury?

“All of this is a lie and a political game. On March 5th I called both embassies (Great Britain and Russia). I have logs of calls. The former palmed me off, and our diplomats asked me to confirm my kinship. I sent them about 15 documents: birth certificates, marriage certificates… The ambassador Aleksandr Yakovenko communicated with me personally concerning this case.”

It means that you should possess the most actual information about the condition of your relatives.

“Really?! Even the competent authorities [in Russia – ed] don’t have this information. The last thing that became known to me from our diplomats is the fact that Yulia opened her eyes, ate, drank, and could even say a few words. It is also from them that I know that our Ministry of Foreign Affairs in total sent to Great Britain 68 notes [requests – ed]! About providing information, about cooperation, inquiries, but everything is in vain…”

Is there some kind of forecast?

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“If indeed they were poisoned with nerve gas, the forecast is bad. But there are arguments against this narrative. Anything could’ve happened, up to food poisoning. Yulia has more chances, due to her age and health, but Sergey has diabetes, I don’t even know how the doctors will bring him out of the coma.”

At what stage is your preparation for travel?

“On Monday (April 2nd) my international passport will be ready, and on the same day I will submit my application for a visa. After my interviews with the European media the representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Great Britain contacted me and asked me to immediately report about the number of demands in order to accelerate the process of visa issuance.”

What do you expect from the trip?

“The program at minimum is to get access to them [relatives – ed]. As soon as the doctors confirm that the flight isn’t contraindicated for Yulia, I will try to take her to Russia. Imagine, she doesn’t even have any insurance. I’m afraid that they won’t even give me uncle Sergey [Skripal – ed], he is their citizen. But I will try to take him too, this is my maximum programme.”

The delegation was met by the head of the cynological center Anton. He started by apologising for the precautionary measures, expostulating on the special attention after the publication of material of “MK”.

“Both journalists and volunteers already came to see me. They all want to take this dog, while in the neighbourhood there are many animals that would be happy to find owners. Because of such keen interest my subordinates don’t say by phone that the dog is in our hotel,” said the director.

On the door of the 12-meter room of Noir a plate with a completely different name hangs. To throw off the scent the room was assigned to a stray named Mitis. According to the director, this was done in case someone nevertheless will try to get into the center. He opened the door of the temporary home of the dog, and through the crack the jet black pet started joyfully wagging his tail when he saw the guests. Being convinced that Noir is okay, we went directly to the director of the pet hotel’s office. But he politely refused to give the pet to Viktoriya even on receipt. Anton was unmovable, but promised to appoint an employee for the dog and told the guests that the dog was already paid for.

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“Who is this mysterious stranger?” we asked Viktoriya at the exit from the cynological center.

“I don’t know. Maybe Yulia’s boyfriend appeared and did it especially so that I can’t take Noir. I, in general, consider him to be very strange. Once, in 2013, we came to Yulia’s place. Back then she still lived with him in the apartment of her father on Osenny Boulevard. So he didn’t come to see us, he didn’t greet us. This young man is like a phantom. After everything happened, he didn’t even ‘meow'”.

You already stated that he or his family may know something about the poisoning. Do you still hold this opinion?

“Well, if not to take politics into account, at the forefront there is a household narrative. In 2016 Sasha (the late son of Skripal) and Yulia came to us in Yaroslavl. Sergey’s son showed Anna’s photos and said that he loves her. Yulia also said that everything for her heads towards a wedding, but she didn’t especially elaborate on her chosen one. According to her, his mother didn’t accept the daughter of the spy. He also knew her schedule – when and where she will go with her father, that on March 1st they will go to a cemetery, and then to a pub. The British media wrote that in the drinking establishing eyewitnesses saw how Yulia handed over a box to him. After all, this gift [with poison inside – ed] could also have come from him? Here there is one more fact that nobody knows. At the end of February Yulia received general power of attorney from Sergey so that she had the opportunity to use the secret account of her deceased brother Aleksandr inherited by their father.”

Tell us, what is this account?

“After the divorce with Natalya she paid him [Sergey – ed] his share — $200,000, and he kept it. The money is in a Russian bank.”

Do you know who met Yulia in England? Earlier it was reported that it was not Sergey Skripal, but a taxi driver.

“It’s not a taxi driver at all. This is the close friend of Sergey. He is British, they worked together, and he always welcomed guests at the request of my uncle Sergey.”

Is something known about this friend?

“Both families were friends. Their daughter studies in France, and the last time when uncle Sergey mentioned them it was the eve of Catholic Christmas. This family invited Sergey for a holiday.”

Shed some light on the private life of Sergey Skripal. It was reported that he had a certain lover from Russia…

“This is ridiculous! Uncle Sergey loved his wife very much. He called her nothing but Lyudochka [a more tender version of “Lyuda” – ed]. I remember how he followed her and asked to give birth to her daughter. And when Yulia appeared the first thing he said is: ‘Lyudochka, I love you for the fact that you gave me such beautiful children!’ To live in love up to 50 with one woman and then to find another one? I don’t think so.”

And nevertheless there is no smoke without fire. Perhaps a relative was perceived as his woman?

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“I am inclined to think most of all that it could be Svetlana from Kaliningrad. But this is his friend, and not ladylove. The wife of uncle Sergey had a brother, and Svetlana is his daughter. Her husband also died, and she came to England a minimum of once per year. I know about her three visits to uncle Sergey. Sergey told me back then by phone that supposedly Svetlana will come and cook borsch…”

Who else could be taken for Skripal’s lover?

“There is another woman named Nelly. Did you see the photo on social networks showing Yulia, a short woman with a fringe, and Sergey? Well it could be her. Nelly was a leading gynaecologist of the USSR. When Sergey was a diplomat he supervised medicine. This is how he met her. Her husband was also a physician and died. I know that she came to see uncle Sergey.”

And who else did the Skripals keep in contact with?

“Lyudmila kept in contact with her female friends — the wives of the former colleagues of Sergey. All of them were widows – after all, the profession leaves a mark. And also those who Sergey himself communicated with didn’t turn their backs on him, after he was release from jail he invited all his friends to England.”

What do you think about the latest narrative of poisoning in the house?

“Nonsense. Firstly, it is impossible to approach the house. Secondly, if they were poisoned there, then what happened to the animals? They had a cat named Masyanya from Russia and another one from a shelter. Then, Sasha and Yulia went for a forage in a pet-shop and bought two more lovely guinea pigs. Well, the cats could’ve escaped, but the pigs would’ve been found dead in the cage after poisoning. There is no information about this.”

Do you know the layout of the rooms in the house and the list of the property seized from the house?

“I know that the garage was remade under his office. On the ground floor there was a dining room. And on the first floor there are three bedrooms. Sergey, when he was alone, in general didn’t go to the first floor, while it is reported that a keyboard, computer, mouse, and door handles had been seized. All of this doesn’t fit inside the general context. I hope that I will be able to understand something there – at the place.”

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