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The father of Aleksandr Litvinenko pictured in London after the death of his son was announced (epa) November 24, 2006 -- Russian President Vladimir Putin today condemned any attempt to use the death of the former Russian intelligence agent Aleksandr Litvinenko for "political provocation."


Putin called Litvinenko's death a "tragedy," but said he had seen no definitive proof as yet that it was a "violent death."


Litvinenko died in a London hospital overnight, three weeks after being poisoned.


In a deathbed statement read out by friends, Litvinenko accused Putin of responsibility for his death.


The Kremlin has repeatedly denied that the Russian government was in any way involved.


British authorities today said Litvinenko was poisoned by radiation. Experts said today they had found a highly toxic isotope -- probably polonium-210 -- in Litvinenko's body.


(compiled from agency reports)

The Kremlin's Fallen Foes

Mourners in Moscow mark the 40th day after the killing of investigative journalist Anna Politkovsksya on November 15 (TASS)

DANGEROUS DISSENT. A surprising number of vocal critics of the policies of Russian President Vladimir Putin have been killed or have died mysteriously in recent years. Although the Russian government has denied any involvement in any of the cases, some Kremlin watchers have begun speaking of a clandestine campaign to eliminate dissent.

April 17, 2003: Sergei Yushenkov, veteran liberal politician, Duma member, and leader of a staunchly anti-Kremlin party, is shot dead in Moscow.

July 3, 2003: Yury Shchekochikhin , liberal lawmaker and investigative journalist, dies of a mysterious allergic reaction. Many believe it was a case of deliberate poisoning, but the incident was never investigated as a murder.

February 13, 2004: Former acting Chechen President Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev is killed in an explosion in Doha, Qatar. Two Russian security-service agents are later convicted of carrying out the killing.

September 2, 2004: Investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya falls ill mysteriously on a plane bound for the North Caucasus. Politkovskaya was heading to Beslan, North Ossetia, in a bid to negotiate the release of schoolchildren being held hostage there by Chechen militants.

December 2004: Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yushchenko , running for president as a pro-Western candidate against Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, is poisoned. He recovers and goes on to win the presidency, although his poisoning remains a mystery.

October 7, 2006: Investigative journalist and vocal critic of Russian policies in the North Caucasus Anna Politkovskaya is gunned down in Moscow.

November 23, 2006: Former Federal Security Service agent Aleksandr Litvinenko, a vocal critic of Russia's secret services, dies of a mysterious poisoning in London.


CHRONOLOGY

An annotated timeline of high-profile killings in Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union.



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