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Moscow Times: Timing Couldn't Be Worse for Putin

The poisoning death of former FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko threatens to damage further the Kremlin's reputation in the West regardless of who masterminded it and why it was carried out.
The timing couldn't have been worse for President Vladimir Putin.

Litvinenko, who on his London deathbed accused the president of poisoning him, died just hours before Putin met Friday with European leaders in Helsinki for an annual European Union-Russia summit. Putin also faced uncomfortable questions during his last meeting with European leaders at an informal EU summit on Oct. 9, just two days after journalist Anna Politkovskaya, a fierce critic of Putin, was shot dead in her Moscow apartment building.

"The excessive number of coincidences between the deaths of people opposed to the Russian authorities and major international events involving Vladimir Putin is a source of concern," Sergei Yastrzhembsky, Putin's aide for EU relations, said in Helsinki.
"I am hardly someone who believes in conspiracy theories, but in this case I think that we are witnessing a well-rehearsed plan to discredit Russia and its leader," he said.

The Kremlin, which is seeking to establish a strategic partnership with the EU, needs to be accepted by its European partners more than ever as relations have cooled with the United States, analysts said.
"Coupled together, these deaths will intensify criticism of the Kremlin abroad," said Alexei Makarkin, an analyst with the Center for Political Technologies.
Litvinenko's death will strain British ties, already frosty over refusals by British courts to extradite one-time Kremlin powerbroker Boris Berezovsky and Chechen rebel envoy Akhmed Zakayev to face terrorism and other charges at home. Berezovsky and Zakayev were friends of Litvinenko. Before Litvinenko sought asylum in Britain in 2000, he had publicly accused his superiors of ordering him to kill Berezovsky.

by Fran on Tue Nov 28th, 2006 at 12:02:46 AM EST
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The Independent: Radioactive traces found at Berezovsky's office (28 November 2006)
Police investigating the death of the Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko found traces of the radioactive metal polonium-210 in two buildings in central London as efforts continued to trace the source of the poison.

Forensic scientists spent eight hours searching the premises yesterday, which include a four-storey Georgian town house owned by the Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky. It is rented to companies that include a specialist security agency run by a former member of British special forces.

The address, at 25 Grosvenor Street, Mayfair, remained sealed off last night after Scotland Yard confirmed that minute traces of polonium-210, which poisoned Mr Litvinenko, were found on the fourth floor of the building. The other address, 7 Down Street, off Piccadilly, is also in Mayfair.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Nov 28th, 2006 at 04:22:43 AM EST
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Regnum: Berezovsky refuses to comment on traces of polonium 210 found at his office (11/28/2006)
Exiled Russian businessman Boris Berezovsky who lives in the UK as Platon Elenin refused to comment on the information that traces of radioactive polonium 210 had been found at his office situated Down Street, 7. "I will give no comment till the investigation is over," Berezovsky said. "Let others comment; as for me, I will wait," he added, Sky News informs.
I have only recently started to see Regnum in google news searches. Who are they?
REGNUM News Agency is a Russian federal news agency covering news from Russia and neighboring countries. REGNUM obtains information from its correspondents, affiliate news agencies, and partners. REGNUM news coverage embraces all the regions of Russia, neighboring countries of Europe and Transcaucasia.
To me, regnum is Latin for 'kingdom'.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Nov 28th, 2006 at 04:26:27 AM EST
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They been around in Russian for around 3 years and seem to be Internet-only. I'm not sure about ownership, but in some news concerning agency itself they imply they are private. They also claim that their citation index in Russia media is #4, above Reuters and AP, but behind RIA Novosti, Interfax and ITAR-TASS.

English side does not have translation of all the news they have on the Russian side. One of interesting things they have is aggregated Russian local and regional news, but they seem to be missing from the English side.

by blackhawk on Tue Nov 28th, 2006 at 05:09:22 AM EST
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