As the defenders of Vladimir Putin do everything they can to muddy the waters about his role in the murder of Alexander Litvinenko, his opponents are in all too many cases unwittingly aiding this process by focusing on side issues like the Kremlin leader’s possible pedophilia rather than on the core realities of the case.
On the basis of the London High Court’s finding, there can be little doubt that Russian operatives, almost certainly on the orders of the Kremlin leader, killed Litvinenko. That is the key reality that Russians and the West must deal with. But there is another important fact which many have ignored up to now.
And Litvinenko’s widow Marina has called attention to it in an interview in today’s “Novaya gazeta.” It is this: By using radioactive polonium to kill a Putin opponent, as Sir Robert Owen noted in his report, Moscow committed an act of nuclear terrorism, something that makes this horrible crime even more horrific.
Although Owen mentioned this fact, Marina Litvinenko says, “unfortunately,” this aspect of the case, the fact that the London court recognized the murder of her husband by the use of polonium as “an act of state terrorism” has “somehow” been ignored by many, even though this is critical.
That aspect of the case means that this murder was “not just the exclusively personal case of Litvinenko,” she says. “The number of victims could have been much greater. And such things must not remain unpunished until we find out who could allow the transfer of polonium to London and who sent Lugovoy and Kovtun to London.”
“Without this understanding,” Marina Litvinenko continues, “it will somehow be difficult to feel secure.” Had things gone a little bit differently, had her late husband not been able to tell about those he met and had not doctors tested him for radiation, the murderers might very well have gotten away with their crime.
She stresses that what she did in order to get the British authorities to investigate this case was done “not against Russia” but rather to send it “a message. “Here in England, it is possible to achieve justice even if this is not simple or easy. But in Russia where there is a caste of untouchables, nothing will happen regardless of what you do.”
“It seems to me,” the widow of the murdered Russian says, “that the faith of [her] compatriots that they can change something now is at such a low level that if this case had not taken place, it would have been for them the latest indication” that the conditions which obtain in Russia are found everywhere.
“It was important for me to show that I, Marina Litvinenko, a nobody without any political background or great amounts of money could achieve something. The main thing I showed is that if you come here to a court and can report the truth backed by evidence, then you will also receive support from the court.”
And people will also see that “the court has the right to criticize even its own government.”