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My husband was also murdered by Putin, with radioactive polonium slipped in his tea. So to Navalny’s devastated wife I say – His death at the hands of a sick monster will NOT be for nothing: A heartrending message of solace by Alexander Litvinenko’s widow


Eighteen years ago, as my husband lay sunken and jaundiced in a hospital bed, I was encouraged to be strong.

That gave me comfort.

There is solace in hope.

My strong Sacha, known to the world as Alexander Litvinenko – the unyielding thorn in Vladimir Putin‘s side, will live, I reassured myself.

This couldn’t be the end, I thought.

But, of course, no one could survive ingesting the high dose of radioactive polonium slipped into Sacha’s tea by a Kremlin assassination squad.

And as I and my 12-year-old son watched helplessly as his life slipped away, no words could ease our heartbreak.

Already, our family had been torn apart. Living in London, we’d been cut off from loved ones back in Russia. My son would never see his grandparents.

Now, our lives were truly shattered. My son could never again hug his father. I would never again kiss my husband.

Sympathy could only do so much.

That is why I hesitate to offer any feeble message of support to Yulia Navalnaya and the two children of pro-democracy dissident Alexei Navalny – save this: Say his name. Save his memory. And his death will not be for nothing. 

But only time will tell when Russians will be free from Putin.

My strong Sacha, known to the world as Alexander Litvinenko ¿ the unyielding thorn in Vladimir Putin's side, will live, I reassured myself. (Above) Alexander Litvinenko in the Intensive Care Unit of University College Hospital on November 20, 2006 in London

My strong Sacha, known to the world as Alexander Litvinenko – the unyielding thorn in Vladimir Putin’s side, will live, I reassured myself. (Above) Alexander Litvinenko in the Intensive Care Unit of University College Hospital on November 20, 2006 in London

As I and my 12-year-old son watched helplessly as his life slipped away, no words could ease our heartbreak. (Above) Marina Litvinenko, the wife of Alexander Litvinenko

As I and my 12-year-old son watched helplessly as his life slipped away, no words could ease our heartbreak. (Above) Marina Litvinenko, the wife of Alexander Litvinenko

My husband, a Kremlin agent turned ferocious regime critic, and Alexei, a lawyer turned anti-corruption advocate and political prisoner, died under different circumstances – but their lives ran in parallel.

Both were poisoned by Putin’s goons; Sacha in a London hotel bar and Alexei by a military-grade nerve agent.

Both fought to the end; Sacha hung on for weeks in a hospital bed and Alexei survived for four years, with his last days spent in a high-security Siberian penal colony.

Both die heroes for exposing Russia’s madman.

Alexei was subjected to more than 300 days in solitary confinement, which Putin reportedly followed with sadistic relish – demanding to read reports and even watch live footage of his thugs torturing and humiliating their prisoner.

If true, this is even more proof that Russia is ruled by a monster – a sick psychopath in control of a nuclear arsenal. For what type of person consumes human suffering and feels stronger for it?

It is agonizing to watch as the useful idiots of the world continue to embolden this murderous tyrant while men, like Alexei and Sacha, sacrifice their lives to bring him to account.

On Friday, Tucker Carlson, a prominent journalist who speaks to a vast audience, grieved Alexei’s death as ‘barbaric and awful,’ and something ‘no decent person would defend.’

But those forceful condemnations were nowhere to be found in his interview with Putin just last week – when Carlson allowed the invader of Ukraine to spin lies about the war that he alone started.

'This regime and Vladimir Putin must bear personal responsibility for all the terrible things they have been doing to my country, to our country, Russia,' said Yulia Navalnaya (above) on Friday.

 ‘This regime and Vladimir Putin must bear personal responsibility for all the terrible things they have been doing to my country, to our country, Russia,’ said Yulia Navalnaya (above) on Friday.

I hesitate to offer any feeble message of support to Yulia Navalnaya and the two children of pro-democracy dissident Alexei Navalny ¿ save this: Say his name. Save his memory. And his death will not be for nothing. (Above) Alexei Navalny, with his wife Yulia, right, daughter Daria, and son Zakhar on Sept. 8, 2019

I hesitate to offer any feeble message of support to Yulia Navalnaya and the two children of pro-democracy dissident Alexei Navalny – save this: Say his name. Save his memory. And his death will not be for nothing. (Above) Alexei Navalny, with his wife Yulia, right, daughter Daria, and son Zakhar on Sept. 8, 2019

Alexei survived for four years, with his last days spent in a high-security Siberian penal colony.

Alexei survived for four years, with his last days spent in a high-security Siberian penal colony. 

And where was Carlson’s newfound moral clarity when he posted videos from inside a Moscow subway and grocery store this week glorifying Putin’s Russia and comparing it unfavorably to America?

I could hardly believe it as Carlson shopped for eggs, bread and wine and remarked on how a plentiful basket of groceries only cost $100 in Moscow.

‘We just put in the cart what we would actually eat over a week,’ Carlson said. ‘We all [guessed] around $400 bucks. It was $104 U.S. here.’

That’s only a thin sliver of reality.

No average Russian family spends $100 in a day. Only a rich American could enjoy such a luxury.

If Carlson really wanted to tell the story of the Russian people, he’d travel outside of Moscow – to see those living without gas, electricity and indoor plumbing.

If Carlson really wanted to speak the truth, he would have acknowledged that hardly anyone in my country has any savings while many more are deeply in debt.

And, of course, if Carlson was truly horrified by the murder of political dissidents, he would have acknowledged that no single Russian citizen – regardless of their wealth – is free.

Forceful condemnations were nowhere to be found in his interview with Putin just last week ¿ when Carlson allowed the invader of Ukraine to spin lies about the war that he alone started.

Forceful condemnations were nowhere to be found in his interview with Putin just last week – when Carlson allowed the invader of Ukraine to spin lies about the war that he alone started.

Where was Carlson's newfound moral clarity when he posted videos from inside a Moscow subway and grocery store (above) this week glorifying Putin's Russia and comparing it unfavorably to America?

Where was Carlson’s newfound moral clarity when he posted videos from inside a Moscow subway and grocery store (above) this week glorifying Putin’s Russia and comparing it unfavorably to America? 

Is a basket of groceries more important than fundamental human rights?

What a humiliation to my people.

Just like the American journalist Walter Duranty, who won a Pulitzer prize in the 1930s for his reporting on Joseph Stalin’s government, Carlson overlooks the obvious.

Duranty praised Stalin for ushering in a so-called Soviet golden age, but he ignored the millions dying, starving, forced into cannibalism and held in prison settlements.

In a stunning admission last week, Carlson was asked to justify his failure to bring up Alexei’s plight during his groveling Putin interview and he explained away state-sponsored murder as simply the cost of ‘leadership.’

No, Carlson.

It is not.

Putin’s perspective mustn’t ever be legitimized.

His authoritarian kleptocracy mustn’t ever be celebrated.

If Carlson was truly horrified by the murder of political dissidents, he would have acknowledged that no single Russian citizen ¿ regardless of their wealth ¿ is free. (Above) Police detain a man during a protest against the jailing of opposition leader Alexei Navalny in the Siberian city of Omsk, Russia, on Jan. 31, 2021

If Carlson was truly horrified by the murder of political dissidents, he would have acknowledged that no single Russian citizen – regardless of their wealth – is free. (Above) Police detain a man during a protest against the jailing of opposition leader Alexei Navalny in the Siberian city of Omsk, Russia, on Jan. 31, 2021

In a stunning admission last week, Carlson was asked to justify his failure to bring up Alexei's plight during his groveling Putin interview and he explained away state-sponsored murder as simply the cost of 'leadership.'

In a stunning admission last week, Carlson was asked to justify his failure to bring up Alexei’s plight during his groveling Putin interview and he explained away state-sponsored murder as simply the cost of ‘leadership.’ 

Today, even as Russia is weakened by Putin’s failing war in Ukraine, the regime’s repression is worse than ever before.

Once the families of political activists were safe from retaliation. No more. Today, even the relatives of those who refuse to be conscripted into the Ukraine meat grinder are made to pay.

The only consolation that Yulia Navalnaya or I or millions of Russians can take from Alexei’s death is that it may strengthen the West’s determination to continue fighting.

It will not be enough for America to express their sympathy and move on. This is the moment.

A Ukrainian victory would strike a deafening blow against a regime whose lifeblood is violence and intimidation.

‘This regime and Vladimir Putin must bear personal responsibility for all the terrible things they have been doing to my country, to our country, Russia,’ said Yulia Navalnaya on Friday.

I pray she’s correct.

Alexei is dead and Putin remains.

But hope is a solace.



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