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Heavy-Handed Politics

"€œGod willing, with the force of God behind it, we shall soon experience a world
without the United States and Zionism."€ -- Iran President Ahmadi-Nejad

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Russia's Interest in Litvinenko

The recent death of a former Russian intelligence agent, Alexander Litvinenko, poisoned with polonium-210, raises some interesting questions. (a)Was he poisoned by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), the modern day successor to the KGB? (b)If they did, why did they? What was their motive? What were they trying to achieve? And, (c)Why use polonium-210? Why not other poisons that they (the KGB) have used in the past?

Litvinenko spent the first part of his adult life as a bureaucrat for the state. Then, exiled, for unknown reasons, he became a vociferous critic of the state he had served. He published two explosive books making serious charges against the FSB and President Vladimir Putin. Most recently, he had been investigating the circumstances surrounding the shooting death of Anna Politkovskaya, a Russian journalist, who also was a critic of Putin's government. He was a major thorn in the side for Moscow.

Stratfor has written on this topic and they sum up their article thusly:

And whatever the public's impression of the case might be, the KGB/FSB has not suddenly returned to the scene. In fact, it never left. Putin has been getting the system back under control for years. The free-for-all over economic matters has ended, and Putin has been restructuring the Russian economy for several years to increase state control, without totally reversing openness. This process, however, requires the existence of a highly disciplined FSB -- and that is not compatible with someone like a Litvinenko publicly criticizing the Kremlin from London. Litvinenko's death would certainly make that point very clear.

To read their very interesting analysis, with some historical perspective, go here.

Also of interest, David Satter wrote a piece for Opinion Journal, "Who Killed Litvinenko?
Try asking Vladimir Putin."


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