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Russian secret service seizes copies of book linking it to 1999 bombings


MOSCOW : Russian police and FSB special service have seized a load of books allegedly linking the FSB to deadly bombings in 1999 that led to the current war in separatist Chechnya, the books' sellers said.

Some 4,400 issues of the book entitled "FSB blows up Russia" and authored by former FSB agent Alexander Litvinenko, now exiled in Britain, were confiscated en route from the western city of Pskov to Moscow, Alexander Podrabinek of the Prima news agency said late Monday.

"FSB officials said the books were seized as anti-government propaganda," Podrabinek explained, adding that the seized load's whereabouts were unknown.

Prima ordered the books, which were printed in Latvia, for sale in Russia, in what Podrabinek said was a legal transaction "observing all customs formalities."

Litvinenko, a former lieutenant colonel, charges the FSB with involvement in the bombings on September 9 and 13, 1999 which destroyed two buildings in Moscow, killing more than 200 people.

The FSB repeatedly denied any involvement in the attacks.

Nearly 300 people died in four explosions in Russia in mid-1999, attacks that led to the launch of the ongoing war in Chechnya.

The war in Chechnya prompted a wave of nationalism that swept Vladimir Putin, then the Russian prime minister, to the presidency half a year later.

Litvinenko obtained political asylum in London after blowing the whistle on an alleged plot by the FSB to assassinate the self-exiled tycoon and Kremlin insider Boris Berezovsky, who had supported the conspiracy theory behind the bombings.

Litvinenko was sentenced in absentia last month to a three-and-a-half-year suspended jail term in Russia for abuse of authority.
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