Diary entries hastily published from two suspected Russian secret agents conclusively prove their presence in Tomsk airport at the time Alexei Navalny was poisoned was pure coincidence during an innocent tour of Russian transport hub tearooms.
The first entry reads: ‘So excited to finally be visiting Tomsk; our friends had been suggesting for a long time that we patronise this charming airport tearoom, renowned for its 123 blends of tea.’
The entry for August 19th, the day before the alleged poisoning, states: ‘Tried to visit the café to sample some terminal Tomsk tea, but
Alexei was not there yet it was covered in snow and the tea was taking too long to brew. After half an hour, decided to come back tomorrow. Didn’t get to use our little phial bottle of novi bergamot, which we use to Earl Grey it up a bit, if anyone asks, which I’m sure they won’t. What could be more natural than two stern, uncommunicative men brought together by a simple love of regional tea?’
The following day’s entry confirms: “A most enjoyable visit to Tomsk airport café, truly magnificent tea! A little like English tea, which we enjoyed very much, albeit briefly, on a rushed visit to enjoying the Gothic magnificence of Salisbury train station looking shifty. The final scribbled extract says: ‘Sad to leave Tomsk, but many other airport teas to savour. Since it looks like we didn’t use enough bergamot, best tuck the rest by, as looking likely we’ll need it ourselves.’
The entries were clearly written in a hurry, with crossings-out and stains. However, any suspicion that this may be hiding something this has been explained by stone-faced officials as ‘unavoidable beverage spillage after, as you say, getting into hot water and being called back to Moscow to sample some traditional Kremlin hospitality’.