Death of a Dissident

The Poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko and the Return of the KGB

Death of a Dissident

The first reports seemed absurd. A Russian dissident, formerly an employee of the KGB and its successor, the FSB, had seemingly been poisoned in a London hotel. As Alexander Litvinenko's condition worsened, however, and he was transferred to hospital and placed under armed guard, the story took a sinister turn. On 23 November 2006, Litvinenko died, apparently from polonium-210 radiation poisoning. He himself, in a dramatic statement from his deathbed, accused his former employers at the Kremlin of being responsible for his murder.

Who was Alexander Litvinenko? What had happened in Russia since the end of the Cold War to make his life there untenable, and even in severe jeopardy in Britain? How did he really die, and who killed him? In his spokesman and close friend, Alex Goldfarb, and widow Marina, we have two people who know more than anyone about the real Sasha Litvinenko, and about his murder. Their riveting book sheds astonishing light not just on these strange and troubling events but also on the biggest crisis in relations with Russia since the fall of the Berlin Wall.
  • Simon & Schuster UK | 
  • 416 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781471103018 | 
  • December 2012
List Price £6.99 (price may vary by retailer)

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About the Authors

Alex Goldfarb

Alex Goldfarb, Ph.D., was a dissident scientist who left Russia in the 1970s, joining the faculty of Columbia University. After the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, he went to work for George Soros directing charitable initiatives in Russia. He befriended Alexander Litvinenko in the 1990s. Goldfarb later helped Litvinenko work on his memoirs and supported his efforts to expose the abuses of the newly ascendant FSB. Goldfarb is currently the executive director of the International Foundation for Civil Liberties, set up by Boris Berezovsky as an umbrella group for human-rights activists.

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Marina Litvinenko

Marina Litvinenko first met Alexander at her thirty-first birthday party, in 1993, when he was a young officer in the FSB. They married and she gave birth to a son thereafter. In 2000, the three of them sought asylum in the United Kingdom, and she continues to live in London with her twelve-year-old son.

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