Russia's Bitter Chill

OLEG KOROLEV / VEDOMOSTY-AP

BEHIND BARS: Oil chief Mikhail Khodorkovsky appeared in 2003 for a bail hearing before a court in Moscow by video link from his cell

Alexander Litvinenko didn't mince words. On Oct. 19, at a public meeting in London, he introduced himself as a former Russian kgb officer, and proceeded to accuse President Vladimir Putin of sanctioning the murder two weeks earlier of a crusading Russian journalist, Anna Politkovskaya. Litvinenko, who fell out with his erstwhile employers after claiming they had ordered him to assassinate Boris Berezovsky, an oligarch and high Russian official of the Yeltsin years, now exiled, had met Politkovskaya on several occasions. At one of their last meetings, he said, she had told him about threats she'd...

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