Wednesday, 31 January 2007

Former Russian spy fears for his life ...

The man who co-authored a book with poisoned Russian former spy Alexander Litvinenko has cancelled a planned trip to London after being advised by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation that his safety may be at risk, the Financial Times has reported.
Yuri Felshtinsky, a US-based Russian historian, was due to attend the launch of the new edition of Blowing Up Russia: Terror from Within-- the book he penned with Litvinenko -- in London, with an accompanying press conference and interviews.
His British publisher said, however, that the event had been postponed indefinitely after receiving an e-mail from Felshtinsky mentioning the FBI’s advice.
The book argues that the Federal Security Services (FSB) -- a successor to the KGB -- co-ordinated a series of blasts in Moscow and other Russian cities in 1999.
"When the book was first written, everyone thought Litvinenko's claims were ludicrous," Martin Rynja, the book's publisher, was quoted as saying by the business daily.
"Now people want to know what he stood for, which is why we are publishing it. It does seem now that if you are opposed to the KGB or its successors you are in trouble."
The explosions, which took place over a two-month period, are thought to have killed more than 300 people.
Russian authorities blamed Chechen separatists and allegedly used the blasts as an excuse for a renewed offensive against the breakaway former Soviet republic of Chechnya.
The book also claims that the Russian secret services organised a number of assassinations and kidnappings.
It rose to prominence following Litvinenko's murder -- he was poisoned with the radioactive substance polonium-210 in November -- with copies of the book selling for up to 30 times their original price over the Internet.
Litvinenko accused Russia of being behind his murder in a deathbed letter, a charge the Kremlin has denied.
Hat tip: LONDON (AFP)

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