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From Alexander Litvinenko to Nikolay Gluskov, when death stalked Russians in Britain

Last year, ex-double agent Sergei Skripal survived after being poisoned, but Aeroflot boss Nikolay Gluskov wasn’t as lucky.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Dec 16, 2019, 10.45 AM IST
Gluskov received political asylum in the UK in 2010, although in 2017, he was convicted in absentia in Russia.
Britain has been a dangerous place for Russians, and a string of wealthy and fugitive Russians living in the UK have met grisly ends in the last 15 years. It started with defector Alexander Litvinenko. In 2006, the 43-year-old, who specialised in tackling organised crime in his native Russia before fleeing to Britain in 2000, was working as a journalist and consultant for British intelligence services. In October that year, he accused Vladimir Putin of ordering the murder of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya. And on November 23, Litvinenko himself died of poisoning.

He became the first known victim of lethal polonium 210-induced acute radiation syndrome. It’s said that agents had slipped the radioactive polonium into his tea at a London hotel.It’s not just Russians, but also Georgians who have been at risk. In 2008, Badri Patarkatsishvili, 52, a businessman and politician, was found dead at his Surrey mansion after claiming hitmen had been sent from Georgia “to do something” to him.

Patarkatsishvili, who had contested presidential elections in his native Georgia, was involved in some of the most successful companies in modern-day Russia. However, after his death, the police didn’t find anything suspicious in his house.

Alexander Perepilichnyy, 44, was a key witness in a 140 million pounds tax fraud probe. He had lived in the UK since 2009, and by 2012, was said to be working with British secret services. On November 10, 2012, Perepilichnyy was out for a run near his house when he collapsed and died soon after. It’s said that he may have died of food poisoning, and though the police have ruled out foul play, allegations he had ingested gelsemium — a very rare toxic plant found only in China — have persisted.

Boris Berezovsky was a Russian oligarch and government official, and a vocal critic of Vladimir Putin. In 2003, UK granted him political asylum, after which he was convicted of fraud and embezzlement in absentia in Russia. Alexander Litvinenko was among Berezovsky’s closest associates, while Badri Patarkatsishvili was also a close business partner.

On March 23, 2013, Berezovsky’s body was found hanging in a locked bathroom. And though there was speculation that Russia may be involved, the police found nothing of concern, and it’s believed he committed suicide due to depression and debt.

Last year, ex-double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter survived after being poisoned witha nerve agent. But Aeroflot boss Nikolay Gluskov wasn’t as lucky. Gluskov received political asylum in the UK in 2010, although in 2017, he was convicted in absentia in Russia. The UK refused his extradition. On March 12, 2018, a week after the Skripal poisoning, Gluskov is said to have died, apparently strangled in his London apartment.

Crime And Punishment: Five Russians Who Ran Afoul Of The Law And Made News

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1. Anna Chapman

20 Jul, 2017
Born Anna Vasil’yevna Kushchyenko, the f lame-haired Russian got a British citizenship through marriage. In June 2010, she was arrested along with nine other Russians on conspiracy charges in New York. She pleaded guilty and was deported to Russia as part of a prisoner swap. She has since become a famous model and television star in her home country. She was recently in the news for her pro-Trump Instagram profile.(Image: Instagram/@anya.chapman)

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