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Heard in Russia: Litvinenko, Human Rights, Medvedev Talks to Belarus

"My Agent Sasha" by Paolo Guzzanti
"My Agent Sasha" by Paolo Guzzanti

"My Agent Sasha" - Litvinenko and the Mitrokhin Commission

In this interview with RFE, Paolo Guzzanti, author of the book "My Agent Sasha", says that former FSB agent Alexander Litvinenko, fatally poisoned three years ago, may have been murdered for giving testimony to the "Mitrokhin Commission"-- the Italian parliamentary commission headed by Guzzanti that, from 2002-2006, investigated ties between Italian politicians, the KGB and its post-Soviet successor, the FSB. According to Guzzanti the book, published three months ago, contains documents and previously secret information indicating that Litvinenko was the commission's main source of information. "I think that the probability that Litvinenko was killed because of the Mitrokhin Commission is very high. Putin really had a big motivation to halt the commission's work," Guzzanti tells RFE. [read in Russian]

Human Rights Activists Tell President the Truth

On Monday, President Medvedev met with members of the state-sponsored Council for Cooperation on the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights Institutions. The October municipal elections, attacks and murders of rights activists and journalists, and corruption were on the agenda. Speaking to RFE, Fund for the Defense of Glasnost President Aleksei Simonov describes the meeting as a "businesslike consultation." Alexandr Auzan, President of the Association of Independent Centers for Economic Analysis says that Medvedev showed interest in the council's suggestions. Valentin Gefter, director of the Institute of Human Rights, voices skepticism about such meetings, which he characterizes as a ritual. "Of course little is decided during them," he told RFE. [read in Russian]

Medvedev Talks to Belarus Media; Lukashenko's Wary

On the eve of the 10th anniversary of the Russian-Belarus Union, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev met yesterday with Belarusian media, including representatives of the country's independent publications. "Novy chas" editor Aleksei Korol participated in the meeting and tells RFE that, on prospects for democracy in Belarus, Medvedev said, "Belarus is a sovereign country, it defines its politics alone," Korol says that Belarusian President Aleaxandr Lukashenko was "very wary" of the meeting and prevented chief editors of state media outlets from attending it. [read in Russian]