25 November 2006

Alexander Litvinenko - the day after

On April 23, 2002, Alexander Litvinenko, a former officer of the Russian secret service, arrived at Heathrow, supposedly on a stopover before flying on to the Caribbean. Claiming that he was being persecuted by the Russian authorities, he sought political asylum.
Thus starts obituary of Litvinenko in Times Online. He was not a central figure of our century, simply one of the whistleblowers that are not liked by any side of the political divides in this century.

We may never know who it was that has decided that Litvinenko must die. One thing is clear now: this is not a run of the mill murder by a jealous husband or wife or a business competitor (there simply wasn't one) or any other "regular" police case. The mere fact of the substance used - Polonium 210 - points to high sophistication and knowledge required to carry out the dastardly act. One doesn't just pay a visit to one's neighborhood chemist to buy it like some rat poison. It is clear that the person(s) responsible for this knew that it will take the doctors a lot of time to guess the substance used, and even then it will be too late.

Of course, it is only natural in the circumstances to point the accusing finger to the FSB, whose heredity and ruthlessness make this organization a prime suspect. However, there is no solid proof at the moment and there may never appear any proof. Litvinenko blamed Putin in his last statement, but this is hardly proof. Although lately the behavior of the Russian leader increasingly reminds that of his Soviet predecessors and his old habits hardly died, it is hardly proof as well.

On the other hand, the sheer difficulty of finding the culprit and the sophistication of the dastardly act are a proof of sorts...

Anyhow, Alexander Litvinenko was a brave person. May he rest in peace.

And one more thing: to all the demented surfers who flood the Internet by the searches of "Alexander Litvinenko Jewish": do not bother, he was Russian. Not that it matters (to a normal person, that is).