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Russian poetry and poison with Luke Harding and Pussy Riot - books podcast


Guardian journalist Luke Harding and filmmaker Peter Pomerantsev discuss the assassination of Aleksander Litvinenko, and Masha Aloykhina of Pussy Riot shares the poetry that helped her survive prison

In the week that Vladimir Putin became embroiled in the international “Panama Papers” tax haven scandal, we peer into the dark heart of Russia. Guardian journalist Luke Harding and author and filmmaker Peter Pomerantsev discuss one of the most disturbing episodes of post cold war history - the assassination of dissident Aleksander Litvinenko in London with what Harding describes, in the title of his new book, as “a very expensive poison”.

The surrealism of the murder comes as no surprise to Pomerantsev, whose own first book, Nothing is True and Everything is Possible, is an investigation of the eye-popping self-delusion of what he describes as a kleptocratic society. Plus, we meet one of the women brave enough to stand up to it: Masha Aloykhina of the feminist collective Pussy Riot, who was jailed for two years along with her fellow members for performing a punk prayer in Moscow Cathedral, and who tells us about the literature that helped her to survive.

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