Litvinenko pictured shortly before his death, suffering from the last stages of radiation poisoning.
23rd November 2006
FSB - the Russian equivalent of the UK's Serious Organised Crime division. In 1998, in concert with other officers, he publicly accused the FSB of ordering the assassination of a Russian oligarch. He was brought to trial for exceeding his authority in 1999 but was acquitted. In 2000 he was re-arrested and fled the country to seek asylum in the UK when the trial again collapsed.
His application was granted and he became a consultant to the UK's own secret services, as well as an author and freelance journalist. Over the following years he published two books which alleged that the Russian secret services had staged 'false flag' terrorist operations inside Russia in order to facilitate Vladimir Putin's ascension to power. Litvenenko claimed that this included the 1999 bombings of four apartment blocks in Moscow and Volgodonsk that claimed 293 lives. He also publicly fingered Putin as being behind the October 2006 murder of Anna Politkovskaya - a vocal opponent of Russian policy in Chechnya and Vladimir Putin's use of the secret services to pursue his policy aims.
In November 2006, he suddenly fell sick and died just over 3 weeks later. It was rapidly established that he had been poisoned with the highly radioactive isotope Polonium 210 and from his deathbed, he openly accused Russian security services of his assassination.
Two days after his death, the Daily Mail posthumously published an article by Litvinenko called "Why I Believe Putin Wanted Me Dead" in which he described his relationshop with Putin - who he met in person in 1996- and why he felt that his assassination must have been connected to him.