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Poisoned Russian Ex-Spy Worsens 'Dramatically' --> Livinenko on November 20 (epa) November 23, 2006 -- Doctors at a London hospital say the condition of former Russian intelligence agent Aleksandr Litvinenko, who was poisoned in London three weeks ago, dramatically worsened overnight.

"We can confirm there was a dramatic deterioration in Aleksandr Litvinenko's condition overnight and that he is critically ill, in intensive care," Geoff Bellingham, the clinical director of the University Hospital College in London, told reporters.

Bellingham said doctors were convinced Litvinenko's condition was not due to a heavy metal such as thallium. He said radiation poisoning is also unlikely.

Litvinenko was an open critic of the Kremlin. Russian officials have denied any involvement.

(Reuters, AFP)
Russia's Democratic Development

Demonstrators speak with local politicians in Butovo about the destruction of a local forest in July 2006 (RFE/RL)

IS RUSSIAN DEMOCRACY MANAGING? Russian President Vladimir Putin has said Western powers seek to pressure Russia under the pretext of concern over its democratic development. He has said Russia is ready to listen to "well-intentioned criticism," but will not allow anyone to interfere in its internal affairs. The Kremlin has been criticized for stifling political oppostion, increasing central control over the media, and cracking down on the work on nongovernmental organizations.


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