Podcast: Then & Now – with Marina Litvinenko

15 January 2023

by Teresa Cherfas

Welcome to our new Russian-language podcast, Then & Now, with me, Teresa Cherfas.  

After the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022 everything, everywhere, suddenly looked different. That day was a watershed. Guests on the Then & Now podcast are people for whom February 24 became a defining moment, dividing their lives into before and after the war.

Marina Litvinenko, widow of Aleksandr Litvinenko, ahead of an interview for Bloomberg Quicktake’s “Emma Barnett Meets,” in London, U.K., on Thursday, March 10, 2022. Photographer: Hollie Adams/Bloomberg

My first guest is Marina Litvinenko, widow of Aleksandr Litvinenko, who perished in London in November 2006. Aleksandr Litvinenko was poisoned with a lethal dose of Polonium-210. This was to all intents and purposes a nuclear crime perpetrated by Putin’s Russia on British soil. But immediately after Litvinenko’s murder, the British government kept its silence. Not wanting to spoil relations with Russia, it went no further than accusing two ‘suspects’ back in Moscow of the crime. When the British authorities asked for their extradition, they got the usual response – ‘nyet.’ After her husband’s tragic death, Marina Litvinenko fought long and hard to have her husband’s case treated as an act of State terror. In January 2016, the High Court in London judged that the two ‘suspects’ in Litvinenko’s murder had ‘probably’ acted under the direction of the FSB and with the approval of President Vladimir Putin and Nikolai Patrushev, Director of the FSB. It was only in 2021 that the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Russia was responsible for the death of Aleksandr Litvinenko. This is largely down to the efforts of today’s guest. 

The recording took place on 12 January 2023.

You can also listen to the podcast here:

You can also listen to the podcast on SoundCloudPodcasts.comSpotifyiTunesGoogle PodcastsAnchor and YouTube

Questions include:

  • You performed a fantastic feat in defence of Sasha.  Where did you draw your strength from?  
  • How would you describe the behaviour and attitude of the British authorities toward Sasha’s murder?
  • Was it a surprise to Sasha (and to you) that Putin sent assassins to attack him in London? 
  • Especially after the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights, which explicitly accused Putin of killing Sasha, were you afraid that they could come after you, too?  Were you worried for your son?
  • Tell us about some of the projects that have been developed relating to your husband’s case? 
  • Where were you and what do you remember of the moment you found out that Russia had attacked Ukraine?
  • Did your perception of  Putin change as a result?  Did it change your feelings about Russia?
  • How would you have described the Putin regime before February 24? Did that change afterwards?
  • How do you see the future of Russia?  And of Putin?  
  • What would it take for Russia to become a ‘normal’ country? 
  • Does the West’s attitude towards what is happening in Ukraine give you hope? What else do you think the West needs to do?  
  • Will Putin and his associates be put on trial and punished for war crimes in The Hague?
  • How do you see the future of Ukraine?  

Leave a Reply