Rebellion: the Litvinenko Case

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In-depth 2008 documentary by Andrei Nekrasov on murdered agent Alexander Litvinenko, Russian Mafia, Vladimir Putin, KGB and the Chechen wars. The production is billed as ‘a testimony’ by Andrei Nekrasov, drawing on interviews the film-maker conducted with dissident spy Alexander Litvinenko before the latter’s death by poisoning in November 2006. The film can’t make the ties between Russian politicians, oligarchs and security forces any easier to fathom out; what it does is to make them murkier and more fascinating, either by what Nekrasov intuits (alleged links between Premier Putin and the Stasi, for one) or how such intelligence is presented. Superb use is made of footage that looks as though it’s been smuggled out itself: of police brutality, neo-Nazi rampages, hushed nocturnal conversations in which Litvinenko expresses fear for his family’s lives. The director is of the Moore/Broomfield school of documentary- makers unafraid to put themselves on camera, though here that stance looks more like bravery than egotism. Putting himself out there results in at least one real coup towards the end of this gripping, often chilling investigation: an encounter with Andrei Lugovoi, prime suspect in Litvinenko’s murder. ‘Would you like a cup of tea? ‘ Lugovoi asks casually. ‘No thanks,’ is the response. A wise man, this comrade Nekrasov.

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