The story that the Kremlin does not want you to hear.
The assassination of former Russian intelligence officer Alexander "Sasha" Litvinenko in November 2006 -- poisoned by the rare radioactive element polonium -- caused an international sensation. Within a few short weeks, the fit forty-three-year-old lay gaunt, bald, and dying in a hospital, the victim of a "tiny nuclear bomb." Suspicions swirled around Russia's FSB, the successor to the KGB, and the Putin regime. But what really happened? What did Litvinenko know? And why was he killed?
The full story as told by the only two people who can tell it all -- Litvinenko's closest friend Alex Goldfarb, and his widow, Marina -- Death of a Dissident opens a window into the dark heart of the Putin Kremlin. With its strong-arm tactics, tight control over the media, and penetration of all levels of government, it is clear that the old KGB is back with a vengeance. Death of a Dissident sounds like a political thriller, yet its story is more fantastic and frightening than any novel. Sasha Litvinenko dedicated his life to exposing this truth. It took his diabolical murder for the world to listen.
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.
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.