Until Today, I Assumed Putin’s Russia Killed Litvinenko … Then I Looked for Myself

George Washington's picture

I’ve always assumed that Putin’s KGB (now called the FSB) killed Alexander Litvinenko.

But today’s announcement by the British that Putin “probably” approved Litvinenko’s murder made me curious enough to take a look for myself.

Initially, Litvinenko was poisoned with radioactive polonium as he sipped tea in an upscale London hotel. The report makes it sound like only Russia had access to polonium, but it’s actually available online to anyone.

Antiwar notes:

If the Russians wanted to off Litvinenko, why would they poison him with a substance that left a radioactive trail traceable from Germany to Heathrow airport – and, in the process, contaminating scores of hotel rooms, offices, planes, restaurants, and homes?  Why not just put a bullet through his head? It makes no sense.


But then conspiracy theories don’t have to make sense: they just have to take certain assumptions all the way to their implausible conclusions. If one starts with the premise that Putin and the Russians are a Satanic force capable of anything, and incompetent to boot, then it’s all perfectly “logical” – in the Bizarro World, at any rate.


The idea that Litvinenko was a dangerous opponent of the Russian government who had to be killed because he posed a credible threat to the existence of the regime is laughable: practically no one inside Russia knew anything about him, and as for his crackpot “truther” theories about how Putin was behind every terrorist attack ever carried out within Russia’s borders – to assert that they had any credence outside of the Western media echo chamber is a joke.




The meat of the matter – the real “evidence” – is hidden behind a veil of secrecy. Lord Owen’s inquiry was for the most part conducted in secret closed  hearings, with testimony given by anonymous witnesses, and this is central to the “evidence” that is supposed to convict Kovtun, Lugovoy, and the Russian government. Lord Owen, explains it this way:


“Put very shortly, the closed evidence consists of evidence that is relevant to the Inquiry, but which has been assessed as being too sensitive to put into the public domain. The assessment that the material is sufficiently sensitive to warrant being treated as closed evidence in these proceedings has been made not by me, but by the Home Secretary. She has given effect to this decision by issuing a number of Restriction Notices, which is a procedure specified in section 19 of the Inquiries Act 2005. The Restriction Notices themselves, although not, of course, the sensitive documents appended to them, are public documents. They have been published on the Inquiry website and are also to be found at Appendix 7 to this Report.”


In other words, the “evidence” is not for us ordinary mortals to see. We just have to take His Lordship’s word for it that the Russian government embarked on an improbable assassination mission against a marginal figure that reads like something Ian Fleming might have written under a pseudonym.

So who killed Litvinenko ?

Well, Mario Scaramella met with Litvinenko during the meal when Litvinenko was poisoned. Scaramella didn’t eat or drink a thing during the lunch, and then himself came down with a mild case of polonium poisoning.

La Republica (one of Italy’s largest newspapers)  wrote in 2006 (English translation) that Scaramella was a bad guy who may have worked with the CIA:

Mario Scaramella is suspected of arms trafficking. Earlier this year, the public prosecutor of Naples has written for this offense to the docket and, soon after, had to stop the investigation. [He was convicted in Italy for selling arms (original Italian).]




Sources found to be very credible by the prosecutor recalled that investigators suspected that Scaramella was actually in close relationship, if not actually working for, the CIA and that his ECPP could be a front company of the agency’s Langley.

Antiwar notes:

As I pointed out here:


“Litvinenko was an employee of exiled Russian billionaire Boris Berezovsky – whose ill-gotten empire included a Russian syndicate of car-dealerships that had more than a nodding acquaintance with the Chechen Mafia – but was being slowly cut out of the money pipeline. Big-hearted Boris, who had initially put him on the payroll as anti-Putin propagandist, was evidently getting sick of him, and the out-of-work “dissident” was reportedly desperate for money. Litvinenko had several “ business meetings ” with Lugovoi in the months prior to his death, and, according to this report , he hatched a blackmail scheme targeting several well-known Russian tycoons and government officials.”


Indeed, Litvinenko, in the months before his death, had targeted several well-known members of the Russian Mafia with his blackmail scheme. That they would take umbrage at this is hardly shocking.

Alternatively, Litvinenko may actually have accidentally poisoned himself.  Antiwar again:

Furthermore, there are indications that Litvinenko was engaged in the smuggling of nuclear materials. That he wound up being contaminated by the goods he was peddling on the black market seems far more credible than the cock-and-bull story about a vast Russian plot originating in the Kremlin,. Apparently Lord Owen has never heard of Occam’s Razor.

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surf@jm's picture

LMAO!....a conspiracy theory about a conspiracy theory.....

Sorry, doesn`t fly......to many other strange deaths, and Russian oil oligarch gulag disapearances surrounding present day Russia, to convince its all just a coincidence.....

We know a mafia when we see one.......

TRM's picture

Of course if I was going to off somebody and I knew they were smuggling pullonium what better way to do it?

sam i am's picture


@TRM "Of course if I was going to off somebody and I knew they were smuggling pullonium what better way to do it?"

Just leave him be, because he was going to get radiation poisoning anyway.

Putin’s biggest failure


Pejorative Requiem's picture

OK, so no one really knows who killed him. But he post is yet another indicator about GW. GW is an RT blogger, works for Putin's machine the same way NBC works for U.S Democrats machine. Or Fox for the Republican machine. It's important to know the agenda of the blogger.

nathan1234's picture

Lord Owen is no Judge

Just a plain Fudge

alexcojones's picture

George- It seems YOU suffer from this disease

Do You Suffer From Putinitis?

nathan1234's picture

Rather, the world is suffering from Obamaniations.

Putination would be an effective vaccination against it.

SmittyinLA's picture

"Putin’s Russia Killed Litvinenko"

Pure propaganda that story was carried wider than the "cuddly gentle Muslims with kittens" story.

Are Americans really that stupid?

Election will tell.

SmittyinLA's picture

I'd say the most likely person to have ordered his killing was Jamie Gorelick, she's driving this invasion to mitigate Americans prolific financial fraud, Fannie Mae Freddie Mac and mountains of municipal bond fraud, she's all over that Abengoa shit too.

War is a great distraction to massive state sponsored financial fraud.

Tachyon5321's picture

Logic fail: The mounted nuclear sample(in the eye of a sewing needle) you can order is only .01 microC in size. It is used to calibrate equipment. That said, you would need 23,000 samples for a lethal oral dose. 

No one has access to this amount of polonium except the military or a registered nuclear labs doing weapons research...

He did not poison himself because that would have been thru inhalation(AKA lung cancer). Someone put it in his tea to kill him and the killing was designed not to set off a geiger counter.    







Wahooo's picture

Yes, the murderers bought it from these guys...


United Nuclear was set up by researcher Bob Lazar, who claims to have been involved in reverse engineering alien spacecraft which crash landed at Area 51.

And yes, we know the amount in the United Nuclear sample probably wouldn't kill anyone, but that's not really the point of the above is it?"

Volkodav's picture

George W slow on this...

busy elsewhere I suppose


WTFUD's picture

99.99% of the factual crockaganda that comes out of the UK Establishment SUCKS. My estimate is on the generous side.

lasvegaspersona's picture

How are 'traces' of a radioactive substance found???

If the stuff is in a clean container it can only give of gamma radiation. Gamma radiation is instantly gone...no trace left. It would require particles to be IDed as polonium. It would mean that someone was very carelees about the way the stuff was put into the container. It could also mean that tiny amounts are found everywhere (I don't know if this is correct) and that the finding of the stuff at certain locations was true but irrelevant.

These stories are fun but when data is demanded they seem to fall apart.

smacker's picture

It's worth pointing out that the findings of this kangaroo investigation have zero legal significance whatsoever.

No evidence was produced, nobody has been found guilty and nobody is under arrest. It is just a run-of-the-mill British stitch up investigation requested by the UK.gov according to its own briefings to throw crap at Putin. That is why the report is stuffed full of "probablys".

But that didn't stop the witch Home Secretary Theresa May from telling Parliament of the report without mentioning all the "probablys" it contains.

Laplacian2003's picture

Utter nonsense.   George Bush did it.  His actions caused all of the murders, financial crises, wars, and global warming for the last 20 yrs.  It's true because the MSM pundits say so...

Lumberjack's picture

Putin has a 90+% approval rate. When his term is done, I predict this man will be the next PM. 


Volkodav's picture

No, is too good at present position, needed there

wildbad's picture

the olligarc was the guy who dunnit. probably is not the basis of any kind of legal case. 

petolo's picture

Spy vs. Spy. Don't abuse your brain trying to figure it out.

DrLucindaX's picture

^^^ Best Comment. This is a rabbit hole only for other rabbits. Not worth your time or energy to figure out who's the bad guys and who's the worse guys. Stick to helping the good guys. 

Sandmann's picture


The complicating factor is the relative ubiquity of polonium 210, the highly radioactive substance found in Mr. Litvinenko's body and now in high levels in the body of an Italian associate, who has been hospitalized in London. Experts initially called it quite rare, with some claiming that only the Kremlin had the wherewithal to administer a lethal dose. But public and private inquiries have shown that it proliferated quite widely during the nuclear era, of late as an industrial commodity.

"You can get it all over the place," said William Happer, a physicist at Princeton who has advised the United States government on nuclear forensics. "And it's a terrible way to go."

Today, polonium 210 can show up in everything from atom bombs, to antistatic brushes to cigarette smoke, though in the last case only minute quantities are involved. Iran made relatively large amounts of polonium 210 in what some experts call a secret effort to develop nuclear arms, and North Korea probably used it to trigger its recent nuclear blast.

Commercially, Web sites and companies sell many products based on polonium 210, with labels warning of health dangers. By some estimates, a lethal dose might cost as little as $22.50, plus tax. "Radiation from polonium is dangerous if the solid material is ingested or inhaled," warns the label of an antistatic brush. "Keep away from children."

Vilma R. Hunt, who helped lead the studies, called polonium 210 a nightmare for health workers, and perhaps sleuths, because it tended to move about in unexpected ways. "It crawls the walls," she said in an interview. "It can be lost for a while and then come back."

Though dangerous when breathed, injected or ingested, the material is harmless outside the human body. Skin or paper can stop its rays cold.

The Health Physics Society, a professional group in McLean, Va., that distributes information on radiation safety, estimates that a lethal dose of polonium 210 is 3,000 microcuries (a radiation measure named after Marie and Pierre Curie). Other experts put the figure slightly higher.

An antistatic fan made by NRD, of Grand Island, N.Y., contains 31,500 microcuries of polonium 210 - or, in theory, more than 10 lethal doses. The unit often sells commercially for $225.00. Repeated calls to NRD were not returned, but the company in sales literature describes its products as unusually safe.

The company's antistatic brushes contain less polonium, typically 500 microcuries of radiation. The three-inch brush often sells on the Web for $33.99. In theory, by spending $203.94, before tax and any handling charges, and then disassembling six brushes, someone with lab experience could accumulate a lethal dose.

Last week, Russia's top nuclear official said it exports 8 grams of polonium 210 a month, or 96 grams a year, to the United States. That is 3.4 ounces, which seems like a trifle but in theory is enough for thousands of lethal doses. He also said Russia had made no exports to Britain in the past five years. "Allegations that someone stole it during production are absolutely unfounded," Sergei Kiriyenko, director of the Russian Federal Atomic Energy Agency, said on Tuesday. "The controls are very tough."

Tachyon5321's picture

You cannot buy the NRD ionization equipment because they are leased only and many only work for 130 days. Then they need to be returned and replaced.  The polonium is encapsulated by pressure welding gold and silver sheets together or some manufactureres now use microsphere technology.   Anyway, no point to reprocess the polonium because you would not get anything afterwards.





GreatUncle's picture

Think I will choose this reason


If you attempt to black mail Russians especially those connected to Russian mafia do expect to be killed in some way. The thing is then it has to be done in a way so as to remove suspicion from yourself and the easiest way is to then frame somebody else.

Now if Snowden had behaved like this guy with blackmail on the 1% in the USA how long do you think he would have lived? Not long for sure.

PrezTrump's picture

Exactly.  Murder by polonium?  Who does that?

Someone who wants plausible deniability.


Thoresen's picture

I watched 'Question Time' on UK BBC. Every panelist simply accepted the 'Putin did it' line and was denouncing Putin and asking for sanctions on him.
It's all just part of a campaign in the West to keep showing Putin as a bad guy. As someone else pointed out, not so long ago an MI6 British spy was found dead in a holdall zipped up from the outside... but there was no special inquiry into what he had been doing or how he was killed.

Fuku Ben's picture

Aren't they the same ones that showed WTC7 collapsing 20 minutes before it happened?


Sandmann's picture

BBC Question Time is produced by an outside company for the BBC and it screens its audience and contributors to get what it wants. the company is ownedby Vitruvian Partners, a PE group

kingvaclav's picture

Mass Shootings; What a F--g Coincidence:


PleasedToMeatYou's picture

Well, if it isn't Russ Winter. 

Different nom de plume, eh? 

Still SPAMMING for the weblog nobody reads? 

Sandmann's picture

USA imports 8 grams Polonium-210 from Russia each month.



Sandmann's picture

a) It is NOT "Lord Owen". It is a former High Court Judge  Sir Richard Owen.  High Court JUdges are "Sir" and judges of the Appeal Court and Supreme Court are "Lords".

b) That said it is a farce. He used MI6 papers and they have their own agenda as with WMD Dossiers in Iraq War.

c) Litvinenko was not a spy. He was a policeman investigating Chechen Organised Crime and Berezhovsky had a "roof" ie protection from Chechen gangs. There is a Russian film available to Amazon "Tykoon" about a Russian Mafia car dealer modelled on Berezhovsky who has his opponents contract-killed.

d) Berezhovsky was part of the Yeltsin "Family" racket stealing state assets with US connivance, part of Clinton's plan to get Russian oil and gas into Exxon via Jewish Oligarchs getting Sibneft and Yukos and Rosneft.

e) Berezhovsky had ties to Soros who put Jeffrey Sachs into Russia.

f) Berezhovsky wanted to use Litvinenko to topple Putin as head of FSB. Yeltsin needed to hand over to FSB man as Prime Minister to save his family from treason trials and corruption trials. The FSB offered protection.

g) The battle was between FSB (Putin), SVR (Primakov), and Presidential Guard Korzhakhov, the latter was deadly and running is own rackets.



Korzhakov contends that the Kremlin was run by various unconventional leaders such as body guards like Korzhakov, himself. In the book, Korzhakov confessed that he and the FSB chief Mikhail Barsukov, another member of Yeltsin's guard, "governed the country for three years".

Korzhakov paints an interesting portrait of the people around Yeltsin, few of whom are depicted as being more elevated in moral virtue and intellect than the author. Korzhakov describes the atmosphere surrounding Yeltsin as thick with unbridled favoritism, a fertile ground for intrigues among those struggling for the president's ear.

Even the idea of murder hangs over the Kremlin in the late 1990s. The requests and promises of people in the Kremlin to murder their political rivals are interspersed throughout the book. In 1999, Korzhakov repeated allegations that financial mogul Boris Berezovsky tried to convince him to murder Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, financial tycoon and NTV founder Vladimir Gusinsky, as well as popular crooner and Duma deputy Iosif Kobzon, a Luzhkov ally.[2]

Meanwhile, Korzhakov, himself, had vowed to kill Berezovsky.[citation needed] At the same time, General Alexander Lebed threatened to shoot Korzhakov who only reversed the same threat upon Lebed.[citation needed]

dogismycopilot's picture

MI-6 killed this washed up FSB douche bag who needed money and who was whoring himself out to the highest bidder. Then mI-6 blamed Putin. Simple.

Mossad also killed Yasser with this

actionjacksonbrownie's picture

And speaking of mossad... GW could maybe dig just a little deeper and investigate Litvinenko's travels. Seems our "murder" victim was spending quite a bit of time in israhell (where nuclear products/byproducts are not monitored by external inspectors) before he came down with the "bug". Not saying he was murdered by israhell tho - he could have just been a mule and happened to poison himself while carrying the polonium from israhell to GB.


I think if Putin wanted Litvinenko dead, he could have found easier/cheaper/safer ways to off him. But murder via polonium makes for nice headlines.

wildsilver's picture

''The amount of Polonium involved would have cost millions of dollars....'' 

You could be forgiven for thinking that that little know fact would have attracted journalists like flies to shit.

Clearly not in the embedded world we find ourselves in today.

Here's the real skinny.


We're being played in so many ways that assuming anything makes an ass of you/me.





Volkodav's picture

in the comments  William Dunkerley Author of two books

The Phony Litvinenko Murder

Litvinenko Murder Mystery Solved


Brit and Rus Sherlocks investigate and expert on avail and cost of


anonnn's picture

And Bobby Kennedy's powder burns came from Sirhan's pistol 4 feet away. Everybody knows itt was open-and-shut on lone Sirhan, so why look any further; might be messy.

12357111317's picture

Wow.  5 trolls.  At 50-cents per troll, this is getting expensive.

Reaper's picture

Secret evidence + no ability to confront witnesses + secret trial + anonymous witnesses + political desirability to convict = UK Show trial = BS. Cui bono from the trial? Cui bono from the killing?

The great error of UK and US justice is the tendency of the common people and jury to believe that government agents, aka the police and prosecutors, do not lie. Power corrupts judges, juries, prosecutors and police.

Why mock Stalin, when your show trials are even more egregious, fearing even to have any public presentations. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nFB9G1HINXI

Sandmann's picture

If you want to see Britain from the inside look at the case of George Blake Soviet spy who received 42 years in prison before being broken out. The Prime Minister and Attorney General met with Lord Chief Justice to discuss how to get him the longest sentence in English history rather undoing the Separation of Powers

MaxThrust's picture

I was never completly taken by the "obvious" in this case. Then again Putin may have had a motive to get rid of this fellow. As far as the enquiry is concerned, I would take this verdict with a grain of salt. When Britain's envolvement in the premeditated attack on Iraq was investigated, the diaries of the Attorney General were considered off limits.

More smoke and mirrors to confuse thoes of limited metal capacity.

Sandmann's picture

I doubt Putin cared. He might have wanted rid of Berezhovsky but I suspect he had an arrangement with him - after all Berezhovsky put Putin in power before falling out and being forced to sell his holdings to Gazprom and Roman Abramovitch, who is Putin's man.

Berezhovsky financed Litvinenko and later his widow, her son speaks with an expensive public school education which must have cost £20,000 a year. Berezhovsky was probably liquidated by MI6 after the Litvinenko debacle. I do wonder - German press reveals Kovtun was a soldier stationed in the GDR who stayed on after the Russians left and married a German, Marina, in Hamburg before separating. He ran a Consulting firm VFBS then returned to Russia 2003 which probably means he had connections to BND  German Intelligence to get a residence permit in Germany. He later joined Gazprom and then Alfa Bank.

Seemingly he visited his ex-wife and children leaving traces of Polonium, as with the taxi he travelled in and in the apartment where he stayed overnight. It seems careless if he was an "assassin".

It is notclear who had Polonium and why but the fact it was found at Berezhovsky's place and the offices he used might suggest the fourth member of the party the British conveniently ignore because he was NOT Russian and an Italian very close to the Americans as an arms dealer. Litvinenko mixed with some very unsavoury characters for a man supposedly in fear of his life

PADRAEG's picture

When there is any doubt of the murderer, know that Putin is the likely winner. He is the head of his own global crime family, and they are getting tired of his losing ways. He has so destroyed Russia, there is not much more gain availabe to them. 

When has KGB/FSB failed to take care of his murders? When has a Putinist been offed? LoL!

jeff montanye's picture

try switching bush for putin, u.s. for russia, cia for kgb/fsb and zionist for putinist and see where it takes you.

Augustus's picture

It takes everyone to a much better world.  I suppose the Puutie worshipers and beneficiaries do appreciate the paid vacations to Sochi.  Does killing a journalist qualify you for an extended stay?

conscious being's picture

You talk like your boyfriend with the doo-lap, NuttyYahoo never killed anybody. People in glass houses ...

dsty's picture

zh always has the best kremlin spin

Augustus's picture

Puutie's Paid Puppies show up to post here on a regular basis.  It must get them a bit more cabbage in the daily food ration.  Nothing wrong with eating cabbage.  Just an underhanded way to earn it.  It must give Puutie a chuckle to see that his collapse of the economy has brought him such benefits.

Sandmann's picture

Well he needs a pet poodle Central Bank like the FED. After all Putin has funded the Fed for so long; now if Brazil and China walk too it will be a disaster for the US

Berspankme's picture

Too cold for harvesting potatoes?