Former KGB agent and government critic/super hero Alexander Litvinenko was poisoned and killed recently by using polonium 210, a favorite killing method among Cold War spies, at the Itsu sushi restaurant in London. Mr.Thursday condemns the public poisoning of ex-KGB agents active in the robust years of the Cold War. Not only do such acts deter such “whistle blowers” from revealing secrets (although possibly damaging to a state’s reputation) that the public has a compelling interest to discover, e.g. the war in Chechnya.
However, Litvinenko’s polonium 210 poisoning is not the first to occur in an Eastern European state. In fact, poison has long been the method of choice for offing political rivals. President Victor Yushchenko of Ukraine’s Nasha Ukrayina (Our Ukraine) Party was poisoned with dioxin, which left his face deformed and destroyed his intestines. Georgi Markov, a Bulgarian dissident who expressed his criticism of the Bulgarian communist regime through radio, novels and plays, was poisoned with ricin in 1978 (also by the KGB) with the poison injected into his system through the tip of an umbrella.
So why is it that Eastern European states, many working together with the KGB, employ poisoning as an effective means of eliminating political opponents?
Perhaps it is the old world flair of a good, covert poisoning that unearth’s memories of Rasputin, Dostoevsky and collective farming. Maybe it’s a lingering derivation of the Cold War mentality to prefer secret murders to avoid public embarrassment and controversy rather than democratic transparency advocated by Mr.Thursday. The KGB and Eastern European block are not alone in this trend, even if the methods of other worldly powers receive less attention in the press.
Perhaps it is derived from the bleak nature of Eastern Europe. Not only does a secret poisoning create an agonizing death for the victim, but it also provides intimacy for the killer reflecting the tumultuousness of nature and weather. They’re a fatalistic people anyway.
However, Mr.Thursday holds the position that Eastern European political poisonings are based out of a desire to kill the political opponent without directly involving the sponsoring government.
The late Litvinenko now continues a long history of poisoning by European war lords leading back to the days of Socrates. Eastern Europe is proud to be sponsoring autocratic regimes and military coup d’etats in Her states for years to come. It’s quite a distinguised tradition; however, we will not be eating at Itsu sushi restaurants for some time.