The Real Life Spy Thriller behind a Putin Poisoning

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An exotic murder in London took years to solve, but the details are out, and we hear how radioactive poison killed one of Vladimir Putin's most outspoken critics.  

Litvinenko.jpg
Former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko in his bed at the
University College Hospital, in central London, November 20, 2006

In November, 2006, a former Russian spy was murdered in London. Alexander Litvinenko had defected to the West, and continued public criticism of Vladimir Putin made him more than persona non grata in Moscow. Such a killing was big news, but what stunned British law enforcement was the way it was done. In the Pine Room in Mayfair, Litvinenko was given a dose of polonium – a rare, highly radioactive isotope in a cup of tea. Luke Harding is a foreign correspondent for the Guardian. His latest book reads like a spy thriller. It's A Very Expensive Poison: The Definitive Story of the Murder of Litvinenko and Russia's War with the West.

Credits

Host:
Warren Olney

Producers:
Katie Cooper, Andrea Brody, Jenny Hamel