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Last Updated: Sunday, 3 June 2007, 08:50 GMT 09:50 UK
The Litvinenko affair
On Sunday 03 June Andrew Marr interviewed Marina Litvinenko and Alex Goldfarb

Please note "BBC Sunday AM" must be credited if any part of this transcript is used.

Marina Litvinenko
Marina Litvinenko

ANDREW MARR: Welcome to you both.

Marina, let's talk first of all about what Mr Lugovoy said this week.

He said at his press conference that it was impossible for him to have been involved in this because he had his family with him, he wouldn't have exposed them to radiation.

And he's accused the British Secret Services of being implicated in all of this.

MARINA LITVINENKO: I mean maybe more important what happened 22nd May, when he was named like first suspect of killing my husband, and of course it was his way to defend himself, what he's saying on this press conference.

In my opinion it's not the best way. And even I just don't like to comment what he said, because he is the murderer of my husband.

ANDREW MARR: And you're quite sure about that are you?

MARINA LITVINENKO: After all job what was done by Scotland Yard, and decisions was taken, Coroner, Prosecutor says, it's very serious for me, because for me it's enough evidence to say he's murderer of my husband - trust English authorities.

In my way I'm absolutely sure. Next week on Wednesday there is going to be meeting of countries G8.

ANDREW MARR: The G8 meetings, yes.

MARINA LITVINENKO: And sure all countries have to support United Kingdom, to ask about extradition of Mr Lugavoy from Russia, because of absolutely new case, is that nobody could be, have to resist, is not any constitutional law to extradite Russian person from Russia, because it's completely different . And again I'm¿

ANDREW MARR: So you'd like to see the Americans and the Germans¿


ANDREW MARR: ..and everybody else saying to the, saying to Mr Putin¿

MARINA LITVINENKO: This authority, United Kingdom..

ANDREW MARR: ¿you must, you must let this man¿


ANDREW MARR: ¿face your¿

MARINA LITVINENKO: Because in my¿ I'm absolutely sure what happened last November, it's like act of terrorism against British citizen here in England.

ANDREW MARR: And do you think, the argument that the British Secret Services helped kill your husband is incredible?

MARINA LITVINENKO: It's incredible, it's nonsense, and I just don't like to comment on that. ANDREW MARR: All right, thank you. Mr Goldfarb let's set some of the political background to this, which you've written about, the two of you, in this book 'Death of a Dissident'.

To what extent do you think that Boris Berisovsky, who's made some fairly inflammatory remarks about the Putin regime recently, is responsible for some of what's happened by elevating Putin in the first place before he fell out with him?

Alex Goldfarb
Alex Goldfarb

ALEX GOLDFARB: Well Boris is obviously, bears much of responsibility for Putin becoming the President of Russia because Boris was a very prominent part of the Yeltsin circle, and when they decided to have Putin succeeded Yeltsin, he was part of the decision-making circle.

And now he is trying obviously to kind of atone for that, because what happened is that the initial idea of those reformers to put Putin as their candidate for the presidency was to continue the reforms, not to dismantle democracy, and this is the background of course to Sasha's story in the book.

ANDREW MARR: But how do you react when Mr Berisovsky for instance said recently that Putin needed to be overthrown, and ultimately by force?

ALEX GOLDFARB: Well, what happened after Mr Putin's coming to power is that normal elements of democratic process have been completely destroyed. There is no free media, their Parliament has been totally subdued to the executive branch, the independence of a federal system of regions of Russia from the centre has been essentially destroyed, and Putin assumes de facto dictatorial powers and controls the message. So there is no way of changing this regime through democratic means and ¿ doesn't work.

ANDREW MARR: So it has to be changed by force, you suggest?

ALEX GOLDFARB: So the only way this regime can be changed is by some sort of a non-constitutional process, and the model that Berisovsky's talking about is the process that happened to topple the government in Ukraine for example ¿

ANDREW MARR: So a people's revolution from up¿ from below, rather than violence?

ALEX GOLDFARB: Yes that's what, yes that's what he says. There is a distinction of course between a violent overthrow and the revolution when people go in the streets, which may turn violent in the end because that depends on the reaction of the Government.

ANDREW MARR: Marina Litvinenko, just tell us what the last few months have been like for you, because its an¿ you haven't been sure about your own health, because you were clearly exposed to a certain degree of polonium radiation poisoning. Do you know how much that's affected you yourself, and indeed your son?

MARINA LITVINENKO: I'm very happy to say my son completely clear. He doesn't have any notice of up level of polonium in his body. I ¿ but still be unclear how it's harmful for me. But I still be okay, and I still be good enough to do what I do. And of course all these months have still been very painful for me, because everything is just acted up. I don't have my privacy, I haven't been inside with my faith, but it's okay.

ANDREW MARR: Right. Sitting here with Mr Goldfarb, and writing this book, you have become in a way a campaigner as well. Do you feel safe in this country?

MARINA LITVINENKO: Yes, I feel safe in this country, and more safe than usually because everything what's around me - people, Scotland Yard, everything - I just feel safe with all this.

ANDREW MARR: Alex Goldfarb, you've been campaigning for a long time, you know what a difficult man Mr Putin is going to be to win round. Do you think there is any chance at all that Mr Lugovoy will be extradited, even with you know diplomatic words at the G8?

ALEX GOLDFARB: Well I'm very sceptical because Mr Lugovoy didn't have any motives for killing Sasha. He obviously, in my eyes, acted on behalf as an agent of the Russian government, and they would never let him out, not for any legal reasons but because he will talk and tell who gave him polonium.

So on that I am sceptical, which doesn't mean that Britain should not insist on this, because after all there are two parts in this terrorist attack. One is the perpetrator, Mr Lugavoy, and this could be anybody, and the other is the people who sent him on this mission and ¿

ANDREW MARR: What if Putin says after what Mr Berisovsky has said, I want to trade him?

ALEX GOLDFARB: Well that he's been saying all along, but that was not the purpose of this attack. The purpose of this attack was essentially to settle scores between Putin and Berisovsky, they have been locked in this very passionate personal animosity for years, and Sasha simply got in¿

ANDREW MARR: Got in the way, all right. Well listen, thank you both very much indeed for coming on. Good luck, thank you.


NB: this transcript was typed from a recording and not copied from an original script.

Because of the possibility of mis-hearing and the difficulty, in some cases, of identifying individual speakers, the BBC cannot vouch for its accuracy

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