Alexander Litvinenko

Alexander Litvinenko

Alexander Valterovich Litvinenko (Russian: Алекса́ндр Ва́льтерович Литвине́нко) (30 August 1962 (4 December 1962 by father's account), – 23 November 2006) was an officer who served in the Soviet KGB and its Russian successor, the Federal Security Service (FSB), and latterly as a spy for MI6 and the Spanish secret service. In November 1998, Litvinenko and several other FSB officers publicly accused their superiors of ordering the assassination of Russian tycoon and oligarch Boris Berezovsky. Litvinenko was arrested the following March on charges of exceeding the authority of his position. He was acquitted in November 1999 but re-arrested before the charges were again dismissed in 2000. He fled with his family to London and was granted asylum in the United Kingdom, where he became a journalist and writer and worked as a consultant for the British intelligence services MI6 and MI5.

During his time in London, Litvinenko wrote two books, Blowing Up Russia: Terror from Within and Lubyanka Criminal Group, wherein he accused Russian secret services of staging the Russian apartment bombings and other terrorism acts in an effort to bring Vladimir Putin to power. He also accused Putin of ordering the murder of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya.

On 1 November 2006, Litvinenko suddenly fell ill and was hospitalised in what was established as a case of poisoning by radioactive polonium-210 which resulted in his death on 23 November. The events leading up to this are a matter of controversy, spawning numerous theories relating to his poisoning and death. The British investigation into his death resulted in a failed request to Russia for the extradition of Andrey Lugovoy whom they accused of Litvinenko's murder, contributing to the further cooling of Russia–United Kingdom relations. Britain demanded that Lugovoy be extracted without handing Russia any evidence related to the case. Lugovoy passed a lie detector test, denying the accusations.

After Litvinenko's death his widow Marina pursued a vigorous campaign on behalf of her husband through Litvinenko Justice Foundation. In October 2011, she won the right for a full public inquest into Litvinenko's death to be conducted by a coroner in London.

Read more about Alexander LitvinenkoEarly Life and Career, Career in Russian Security Services, Flight From Russia and Asylum in The United Kingdom, Allegations, Poisoning and Death, References in Popular Culture

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