|Federal Law 153-FZ appears to be the smoking gun....|
According to information released by Wikileaks, Russian President Vladimir Putin "may have" known about the murder plot before it took place.
Daniel Fried, the US assistant secretary of state, has stated that he doubts that “rogue security elements” could operate in the UK “without Putin’s knowledge”.
Let us be absolutely clear about this: Russian Federal Law 153-FZ - passed in 2006 - states that "The special assignment units of the Federal Security Service may be used , by a decision of the President of the Russian Federation, against the terrorists and (or) their bases, located beyond the territory of the Russian Federation..."
153-FZ defines as "terrorists" or "extremists" any critics of the state, or of the Russian leadership.
The law is unambiguous: any operation such as that to liquidate Alexander Litvinenko could only have taken place with the prior authorisation of President Putin.
Lugovoi himself has spoken openly in the Spanish press about his comfort with the murder, actually stating that he "would have given the order himself", although the official line remains that he had no involvement.
During the past week, with elections looming in Belarus, Parliamentarians and journalists in Brussels met with activists from the democratic opposition who have been subjected to intimidation, and summary arrest - known in Belarus as "administrative arrest". We should not kid ourselves that democracy has already come to all of Europe - it clearly hasn't.
In 2012 Russians will go to the polls, and choose their president. Europe should prepare itself for the return of Vladimir Putin, and possibly for the greatest challenge to democracy since the fall of the wall.