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The Daily Vertical: Getting Away With Murder (Transcript)

  • Brian Whitmore

The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect the views of RFE/RL.

Ten years ago, Vladimir Putin got away with murder.

Ten years ago, Kremlin agents assassinated a British citizen on British soil.

Ten years ago, Russia launched what one lawyer called "a nuclear attack on the streets of London."

Ten years ago, Russia truly went rogue.

Now it's not that Putin's Russia was exactly a model global citizen before the brazen killing of Aleksandr Litvinenko back in November 2006.

But when Litvinenko was lethally poisoned by Kremlin agents after drinking tea laced with the rare radioactive isotope, polonium, in a London hotel, it marked a turning point.

It heralded Russia's transformation from being a mere international pain in the ass to being a full-blown outlaw state.

It was the point where the Kremlin stopped even pretending to play by international rules and stopped pretending to abide by normal standards of decency.

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Months later, Russia would launch a wave of cyber attacks on Estonia's parliament, banks, and government offices.

Less than two years later, Russian tanks would roll into Georgia.

And just over seven years later, Putin's little green men showed up in Ukraine.

A decade ago, Vladimir Putin got away with murder in the heart of London.

And ever since Aleksandr Litvinenko died on November 23, 2006, the world has been living with the consequences.

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