ISSN 2330-717X

Litvinenko Death Blamed On Carelessness – OpEd

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A new documentary digs into the mysterious 2006 polonium death of reputed KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko. It’s titled “The Case of Alexander Litvinenko — Through Sherlock’s Eyes.”

Many have suspected that Russian president Vladimir Putin was behind the alleged murder. But producer Alexander Korobko chalks up the death to sheer carelessness.

He says, “I think it was a sales operation that went wrong.” The producer’s theory backs up earlier speculation that Litvinenko had been involved in trafficking the radioactive polonium. Korobko adds, “Litvinenko was known to be careless.” For instance, he says, Litvinenko even recklessly “played with his gun in his pocket.”

Korobko is quick to point out that the documentary does not portray the Russian government’s point of view. “This is a film that uniquely represents both sides, where people agree,” he asserts. Featuring more British and American contributors than Russians, “this is an independent endeavor involving many people passionate about the subject” Korobko explains.

The film is narrated by the renowned Russian actor Vasily Livanov MBE. He is famous for his portrayals of Sherlock Holmes. His Holmesian style is well suited to raising questions about Litvinenko’s death that were ignored in the voluminous media coverage over the years.

My own research attests to many deficiencies in that news coverage. In 2007 I was commissioned by the organizers of the International Federation of Journalists World Congress to investigate the media’s reportage on Litvinenko. I found that almost all coverage in the West was one-sided. What made things worse is that the one side was based on a massive fabrication perpetrated by Putin’s political enemies.

For instance, there was a widely-publicized deathbed statement in which Litvinenko fingered Putin. Subsequently that story was proved to be a hoax. The hoaxer ultimately confessed that the words were his own and not Litvinenko’s. He even admitted there was no factual basis for his allegations. Yet media outlets continue to cite the so-called deathbed statement even today.

The media have addressed only the part of the Litvinenko affair that lies on the surface. That means if readers have relied upon news reports they’ve gotten only half the story.

My latest research has found a compelling solution to the case. It involves a surprising mystery behind the murder mystery. I present the whole story in my new book titled Litvinenko Murder Case Solved. It spells it all out in clear and authoritative terms.

It took nearly ten years for the British government to open an official public inquiry into Litvinenko’s death. The Russian Embassy in London has suggested that this inquiry is as one-sided as all the media reports. I agree. The inquiry only came about amidst the sanctions frenzy against Russia over the Ukraine crisis. It was a political act, not an honest search for the truth. For his part, British prime minister David Cameron put the weight of the UK government behind the fabrications in order to get at Putin.

Meanwhile, Alexander Korobko hopes his documentary will “clear the air.” I hope so too.

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William Dunkerley

William Dunkerley is a media business analyst and consultant based in New Britain, Connecticut, USA. He works extensively with media organizations in Russia and other post-communist countries, and has advised government leaders on strategies for building press freedom and a healthy media sector. He is a Senior Fellow at the American University in Moscow.

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