Former Russian Spy, Government Critic. He was born in Voronezh. After graduating from school in 1980, he was drafted into the army. He rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel, and from 1988 served in the counterintelligence departments of the Soviet KGB and its successor agencies. At a 1998 Moscow press conference he publicly criticized the leadership of his agency for illegal activities. He was arrested several times on questionable charges and was acquitted or had the charges dismissed on each occasion. In 2001 he left Russia and settled in England, which granted him political asylum. He worked as an author and lecturer and was a frequent critic of Russia's Putin government. In early November 2006, Litvinenko fell seriously ill while investigating the slaying of investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya, who had also been critical of Putin. He died of heart failure at London's University College Hospital. Before his death he claimed he had been poisoned and dictated a statement blaming Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Bio by: Bill McKern