A fascinating documentary then but not because of how it is put together but rather the importance it has within this current situation
It was 1st November 2006 when former Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko ate an evening meal in a London sushi restaurant and thought nothing of it. A few weeks later he was dead, a victim of poisoning with polonium-210 and a trace of radiation was traced in many parts of London with questions raised over the role that the Russian authorities had in his death. Meanwhile director Andrei Nekrasov realises that what he had always talked about with his friend Alexander had happened. This film is his promise to Litvinenko and is made up of interviews with him featuring allegations against those high in power in Russia.
The investigation into this case is still ongoing at the time of writing but Scotland Yard have submitted their case file to the CPS that apparently clearly points at former KGB agent Andrei Lugovoi. That said it doesn't take CSI to suggest that the murder in a foreign capital city with a rare element may not be the work of a couple of thugs looking to steal his wallet. This remarkable and challenging film is based on Litvinenko's foresight that he would be assassinated by his former bosses. The film is startling in this regard as we watch Litvinenko talking away with in his kitchen with Andrei, linking the Russian Government with terrorist attacks, the betrayal of Russian soldiers to the Chechens and other allegations against the new Russian authorities. Ironically it is speaking out in exactly the way he does here is what may have gotten him killed in the same way, the film suggests, that other dissenting voices have been killed or imprisoned.
The film does slightly struggle with its subject, or rather I did at times. Early on the detail and figures were not easiest to follow but once I got my head around it. It is a damning account of politics and power in Russia and it comes from the mouth of a man who died as a result of the accusations I was watching him make. On this level it is impacting and getting below this the wider ramifications are difficult to really understand and take in it is totally understandable why the Blair Government have been very careful about their language surrounding this affair because the political stakes are incredibly high.
A fascinating documentary then but not because of how it is put together but rather the importance it has within this current situation. God only knows why the BBC felt it was only deserving of being shown over midnight on a weeknight because this is a fascinating film that deserves to be seen in the current context. What the ultimate truth may be we may never know but this film is worth seeing because it does very much seem that Litvinenko did die for the very things he appears here saying.
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