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The First Assassination of the 21st Century

May 25, 2007

A former spy’s excruciating death by radiation poisoning marks the beginning of an era of high-tech hit men who can kill from anywhere.

….Litvinenko claimed in a book, for instance, that the FSB was responsible for a series of apartment bombings in Russia in 1999. (The attacks were officially blamed on Chechen separatists, and Putin had used the incident to help justify a fresh invasion of Chechnya in that same year.) He investigated the 2006 murder of journalist and Putin critic Anna Politkovskaya. In February of this year, Alexander Gusak, Litvinenko’s old commanding officer at the FSB, accused him of having revealed to British authorities the identities of Russian agents. “I was brought up on Soviet law,” Gusak told the BBC’s Newsnight television program. “That provides for the death penalty for treason. I think if in Soviet times he had come back to the USSR, [Litvinenko] would have been sentenced to death.” A new law, adopted by the Russian parliament last year, authorizes the elimination outside Russia of individuals the Kremlin accuses of terrorism or extremism. Litvinenko openly worried that his life was in danger. He was right.

Source: Popular Science.

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