Russian ex-spy Alexander Litvinenko has accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of involvement in his death, in a statement dictated before he died.
. . .
Mr Litvinenko had recently been investigating the murder of his friend, Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, another critic of the Putin government.
According to The Australian,
ALEXANDER Litvinenko and the murdered Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya met in London soon after she had survived an attempt to poison her.
Politkovskaya, who was shot dead in Moscow last month, spoke to Mr Litvinenko during a visit to Britain last year, her son Ilya said yesterday.
Russian dissident Oleg Gordievsky, a former KGB colonel and friend of Mr Litvinenko, maintained that the poisoning had been the work of the Russians.
On the day he first felt ill, Litvinenko said he had two meetings, the first with an unnamed Russian and Andrei Lugovoy, an-KGB colleague and bodyguard to former Russian Prime Minster Yegor Gaidar.
Later, he dined with Italian security expert Mario Scaramella to discuss the October murder of Politkovskaya.
Scaramella said he showed Litvinenko an e-mail he received from a source identifying Politkovskaya’s killers, and naming other targets, including Litvinenko and himself.
Here’s the BBC’s timeline of the case.
The BBC also mentioned this morning that Russia passed a law this summer making it legal to kill enemies of the state.
Don’t expect much uproar: As Edward Lucas points out,
Not that western censure presents any problem for Putin. The U.S. has humiliatingly abandoned any attempt to put Russia under pressure, in exchange for Kremlin help in influencing North Korea and Iran. France, Italy and Germany are worried only about gas, not freedom.
And then there’s this:
There are tantalising clues to the reach of the Kremlin’s tentacles across the globe from mysterious, expertly-produced disinformation websites that subtly push the Kremlin line and cases such as that of the Venezuelan drug smugglers who were found to have Russian technicians building a submarine for them.
Everything old is new again.
Update, Saturday Nov. 25 Via Maria,
The ex-spy’s final defiant message
THe UK’s Daily Mail is asking, How many more were poisoned? As I understand it, in order to get polonium 210 you basically have to have a nuclear reactor. Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but whoever carried and administered a dose so high that it contaminated the places where Litvinenco visited that day must have gone on a suicide mission. Litvenenko died an agonizing death all the same.
Putin, however, says,
‘As far as I understand from the medical statement, it does not say this was the result of violence, this was not a violent death.’
I guess Vlad’s idea of a violent death excludes poisoning?