It started as a possible case of food poisoning but within weeks turned into a grim spectacle of enormous political proportions: Aleksander Litvinenko, former member of the Russian secret service, died in his place of residence in London last November, after having been poisoned with a radioactive substance.
The search for the possible perpetrators lead to a politically difficult situation that reminded us of the dark days of the Cold War. Aleksander Litvinenko told his life story to documentary maker Jos De Putter. It is a wild tale full of conspiracies, assassination attempts and imputations. Litvinenko talks about his time with the secret service, about his experience in Chechnya.
After Litvinenko’s funeral in December 2006, Backlight spoke to Litvinenko’s widow, Litvinenko’s father Walter, with Chechen leader and Litvinenko’s closest friend Akhmed Zakayev and the prominent Russian exile Vladmir Bukovsky, also a friend of Litvinenko. The result is an impressive 55-minute portrait of a former spy whose death brought him worldwide fame.
Originally broadcasted by VPRO in 2007.
© VPRO Backlight January 2007
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Directors: Jos de Putter and Masja Novikova
English, French and Spanish subtitles: Ericsson.
French and Spanish subtitles are co-funded by European Union.