|Alexander Litvinenko, prior to polonium poisoning.|
I have happy memories of my times in both Vladivostok and Moscow in Russia. I was there for about a month after 9-11 during Winter. I have nothing but admiration and positive things to say about the Russian people themselves. As a general rule, they are a creative, kind, and generous people who reminded me of the way most Americans were while I was growing up. Russia has enormous natural resources, even oil and gas aside. If they ever begin to consistently use these, they are likely to become even more of an economic power house. We should be very careful though, not to attribute the actions of the leaders of a country to reflect the wishes of its citizens. Just as Barack Obama does very very little with which I am in agreement, I am sure that Mr. Putin does not please all of his Russian constituency.
This week I was on my Linkedin when a young woman was prattling about Mr. Putin and claiming his praises along with saying that he is misunderstood. She had never heard of Alexander Litvinenko or the sixteen others who have died under suspicious circumstances after voicing clear opposition to Mr. Putin, a former head of the former KGB.
In the interest of others who fancy themselves as journalists yet who don't research prior to offering an insular opinion, I thought I might tell the story as we know it, of the tragic death of Alexander Litvinenko.
Alexander Litvinenko was born in August of 1962 and as an adult, became a KGB officer who specialized in limiting or taking down organized crime. The KGB in Russia, no longer exists and is now known as the Federal Security Bureau or FSB. Litvinenko and Putin worked for the organization in both of its incarnations. From all accounts, Litvinenko is reputed to have been an honest officer. In 1998, Litvinenko and others accused his superior of ordering the execution death of Russian tycoon Boris Bereszovky. Litvinenko was subsequently charged with exceeding the authority of his position, and he found it necessary to flee Russia with his wife Marina and children, to London. The British granted him asylum, and then the Russians dismissed the charges against him. He made his living in London as a journalist and also as an intelligence consultant for British Intelligence.
Litvinenko wrote two books which are said to be fairly factual accounts of some of the internal workings of Russia. One of them is:
Blowing Up Russia
Can be bought at this link Of course, this book has been banned in Russia
There are many other books in the marketplace concerning this and related topics.
Litvinenko also accused Putin of being involved in the execution death of journalist Anna Politskovkaya.
On November 1, 2006 Litvinenko became very ill, after having tea with two Russians at a tea room in London. He deteriorated rapidly and British doctors detected that he had been poisoned using radioactive polonium 210, a formulation used only in Russia. Countless British citizens on the street, working in the hospital, and ultimately performing the autopsy were exposed to this isotope. A British investigation suggested that the two men with whom Litvinenko had lunch were implicated. Andrey Lugovoy is one of those men. His extradition to stand trial in Britain was refused by Russia. Lugovoy has gone on to become a member of the Russian duma and to have his own television series. There is signifcant radioactive evidence implicating this man. This week, some foreign news sources have announced the trial of Lugovoy and another with both of them in absentia. This is information on Lugovoy.
|Litvinenko at University College Hospital prior to his death|
This is information concerning the Litvinenko investigation from the British perspective
This is the link to the Litvinenko Justice Foundation run by his wife Marina
I realize that all nations spy, and that all nations have chosen to vanquish what they consider to be a clear threat, sometimes by execution. However, the execution of Litvinenko was the murder of a naturalized British subject which subjected countless British subjects, nurses and physicians, as well as Litvinenko's wife and children to high levels of radiation. A Russian regime that would do this, would do anything in Ukraine, and almost anything anywhere else.
Vladimir Putin is a brilliant, focused, leader who uses public relations and media very skillfully.
He is the funding arm of Russia Today, which although it is fascinating journalism, often carries a Putinesque bias.
We can care about our Russian friends and not embrace their current leader, just as I am grateful that they do not hold Barack Hussein Obama's actions in the world, against me.
This is an article which was printed in London and was penned by Litvinenko himself before his death as to why exactly he believes that Putin wanted him dead.