Report: Putin “Probably” Ordered the Murder of Kremlin Critic

Metzel Mikhail/TASS/ZUMA

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Russian President Vladimir Putin likely approved the murder of Alexander Litvineko, a former KGB agent who died in 2006 after drinking tea laced with poison, a British inquiry released on Thursday found.

The report accused two men, Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitry Kovtun, of acting under the orders of Russia’s FSB security service to kill Litvineko by slipping radioactive polonium-210 into his tea when the three men met in a London hotel.

“Taking full account of all the evidence and analysis available to me, I find that the FSB operation to kill Mr. Litvinenko was probably approved by Mr. Patrushev and also by President Putin,” Judge Robert Owen, the chairman of the inquiry, wrote in the highly anticipated report.

Prior to his murder, Litvineko had been a vocal critic of Putin, accusing the Russian leader of everything from organized crime to having sex with underage boys. On his deathbed in a London hospital, Litvineko told detectives that Putin was directly responsible for his killing.

Russia dismissed the report’s conclusion. “We regret that a purely criminal case has been politicized and has darkened the general atmosphere of bilateral relations,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zhakarova said in a statement.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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