THE shocking death of Alexander Litvinenko made headlines around the world, but his wife Marina Litvinenko hit him hardest.
The former Russian spy died in 2006, weeks after poison was sprinkled in his cup of tea, and a public inquiry later concluded that the assassination was most likely authorized by Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
Who is Marina Litvinenko?
Marina Litvinenko is a former ballroom dancer and wife of the late Alexander Litvinenko.
Born in Moscow, Russia, she met Alexander in 1993 while he was working for the FSB – the successor to the KGB – investigating organized crime.
Marina, who fled Russia and moved to Britain with Alexander in 2000, affectionately gave her husband the nickname Sasha.
Since the death of her husband, Marina has been a staunch advocate of justice.
She established the Litvinenko Justice Foundation in 2007.
What did Marina say about the death of her husband Alexander Litvinenko?
In an interview with The Sun, Marina recalled the day her husband was poisoned in 2006.
Alexander began throwing up in the house he shared with Marina hours after meeting with Russians Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitry Kovtun.
He had had tea with the men at the Millennium Hotel in London’s Mayfair, and a later investigation revealed that his tea was laced with a dose of polonium-210.
Marina said: “Almost immediately Sasha realized that he had been poisoned. I tried treating it as food poisoning the first day.”
“The second day it got worse and he couldn’t stop vomiting, so we called an ambulance.”
Alexander was transferred to University College Hospital in central London and placed under armed police guard.
The dose of polonium-210 that Alexander drank was estimated to be twice the dose received by people at the epicenter of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster.
Alexander fought for 23 days before dying on November 23, 2006 at the age of 43.
His wife said: “Sascha was incredibly strong. The killers wanted him to die sooner.”
“Then people would never know about the polonium, would never know who was behind the crime.”
“It would just be another unexplained death in London.”
Marina also confirmed that from his deathbed, Alexander called the police to report his own murder.
The shocking moment was dramatized for the ITVX series Litvinenko, in which former Doctor Who star David Tennant plays Marina’s late husband.
In 2020, Marina sued Russia in the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) for £3.1million.
The ECtHR concluded that Russia had to pay Marina €122,500 in costs and other damages.
In 2023, this had not yet happened.
Marina did not remarry after Alexander’s death, but was in a relationship with a man who died of cancer in 2018.
She has said that anyone who enters into a relationship with her “must accept that Sasha is never an ‘ex.’ He is always here.”
Marina has also said that her goal is to have Putin brought to justice for war crimes and her husband’s assassination.
She said, “Although Alexander isn’t alive, I’ve always tried to keep his story alive.”
“After the invasion of Ukraine, it’s more important than ever.”
Does Marina Litvinenko have children?
Marina and Alexander together had a son named Anatoly.
In 2023 he was 28 years old and working in IT in the UK.
Marina told The Sun that life for Anatoly “wasn’t easy” after the death of his father and that he was “traumatized by what happened”.