The widow of a spy who was allegedly murdered by former KGB agents has described a family holiday to Blackpool as “the happiest time of her life”.
Marina Litvinenko’s husband Alexander, himself a former Soviet officer, died seven years ago on Friday in hospital in London – three weeks after a meeting with two former Russian colleagues.
Mr Litvinenko, known as Sacha to his family, had sought asylum in the United Kingdom in 2000 after he had accused Kremlin officials of killing opponents.
Seven months later the couple visited Blackpool with their son Anatoly.
Speaking in Saturday’s Daily Telegraph, Mrs Litvinenko said: “This was probably the happiest time in our lives, because we had just been granted the right to stay in Britain.
“We were in Blackpool for the dancing festival.
“In Russia I was a professional ballroom dancer and teacher, and I had always wanted to go to England, which has all the best dancers and teachers.
“We stayed in Blackpool nearly a week, and I watched the dancing every day.
“Anatoly celebrated his seventh birthday there; he loved the beach and the swimming pool. Sacha wasn’t so interested in dancing, but he was very fit and he would run 10km along the beach every day.”
Two former KGB agents, Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitri Kovtun, are wanted by police to face murder charges in connection with Mr Litvinenko’s death.
However, Russia has refused to extradite them.
Mrs Litvinenko added: “I want to know why international interests must be protected over my right to justice.
“It’s personal, because my husband died, but it’s also in the public interest: a radioactive substance was brought into the country and many people were contaminated.
“I am a British citizen – British law should provide justice to British citizens.”