Sunday, July 06, 2008

Andrei Sidelnikov Granted Asylum in Britain

"Asked who he believed had killed Litvinenko, [Andrei Sideknikov] said unequivocally: 'The FSB.' He added: It wasn't about Litvinenko but about different groups in the Kremlin fighting for power. I think it (Litvinenko's killing) was a big political game.'"

The Guardian (7-4-08) reports:

A Russian dissident who met the former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko in a cafe two days before he was poisoned in London has been granted political asylum by Britain.

Andrei Sidelnikov, 32, fled to the UK in December. The Russian secret service had prevented him from flying out of Moscow, but he eventually reached Gatwick after slipping out of Russia via Belarus and Ukraine.

Sidelnikov is the leader of a small Russian opposition movement, Pora. He is the latest high-profile opponent of the Kremlin to receive asylum in Britain, and had told officials his life would be in danger if he remained in Russia. [Pora (It's Time!) and other Russian youth movements are profiled by the Washington Post (4-9-05)]

...Sidelnikov met Litvinenko in a café near Oxford Street on October 30, 2006, two days before his murder. Today he said that he and Litvinenko had discussed Anna Politkovskaya – the investigative journalist who had been assassinated outside her Moscow flat earlier that month.

'We spoke about politics in Russia, about my life in Russia and his in Britain,' Sidelnikov said today. 'We were very afraid about the situation in Russia. We always spoke about this.'

...Asked who he believed had killed Litvinenko, he said unequivocally: 'The FSB.' He added: 'It wasn't about Litvinenko but about different groups in the Kremlin fighting for power. I think it (Litvinenko's killing) was a big political game.' [Full text]

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