Blowing Up Russia

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Blowing Up Russia
AuthorAlexander Litvinenko
Yuri Felshtinsky
Original titleФСБ взрывает Россию
TranslatorGeoffrey Andrews
SubjectRussian apartment bombings
PublisherS.P.I. Books
Publication date
Pages322 pp.

Blowing Up Russia: Terror from Within (Russian: ФСБ взрывает Россию, FSB blows Russia up) is a book written by Alexander Litvinenko and Yuri Felshtinsky.[1] The authors describe the Russian apartment bombings as a false flag operation that was guided by the Russian Federal Security Service to justify the Second Chechen War and bring Vladimir Putin to power. The story was initially printed by Yuri Shchekochikhin in a special issue of Novaya Gazeta in August 2001[2] and published as a book in 2002. In Russia the book was prohibited because it divulged state secrets, and it was included in the Federal List of Extremist Materials.[3] However, it was published in more than twenty other countries and translated into twenty languages.[4]


In July 1998, Putin was appointed as the director of the Federal Security Service (FSB).[5] In August 1999, he became the prime minister of Russia.[6]

In September 1999, a series of explosions hit four apartment blocks in the Russian cities of Buynaksk, Moscow and Volgodonsk, killing more than 300, and injuring more than 1,000.[7]

According to an interview, Yuri Felshtinsky started collecting materials about the bombings in 1999, not thinking that the FSB had anything to do with the terrorism acts.[8] He was deeply disturbed after discovering that the bombings were in fact committed by the FSB. He consulted with Viktor Suvorov, a writer and former GRU officer, who defected to the UK in 1978. When asked: "Would you personally blow out the building with innocent people after receiving the order?", Mr Suvorov replied: "Of course I would. That is our job. We always follow the order." Felshtinsky contacted Alexander Litvinenko who became a coauthor of the book. Felshtinsky had known Litvinenko since 1998.

Shortly after the bombings, the ex-Secretary of the Security Council of Russia Lieutenant General Alexander Lebed claimed that he is "almost certain" that the bombings were organized by the Russian government.[9] In 2002, Lebed died in a helicopter crash.[10] According to Lebed's associates, the crash was caused by an explosive device.[11]

Publication and government response[edit]

The first edition of the book was published in 2002.[12]

Journalist Alexander Podrabinek who attempted to sell copies of the book in Russia

On December 29, 2003, Russian Interior Ministry and FSB units seized 4,376 copies of the book intended for Alexander Podrabinek's Prima news agency.[13] FSB lieutenant Alexander Soima said that the book was confiscated as a material evidence in the criminal case No 218 initiated in June 2003 for disclosing state secrets.[14] Podrabinek was summoned by the FSB on January 28, 2004. He refused to answer the questions.[15][16][17][18][19]

In response to FSB's banning their books, the authors granted the right to print and distribute the books in Russia to "anybody who wishes to do so" free of charge.[20]

Lawyer Mikhail Trepashkin said that he warned Litvinenko in 2003 about a menace from FSB confirmed by two sources. Trepashkin quoted the words of FSB officer Victor Shebalin saying that everyone who was involved in publication of the book Blowing up Russia would be destroyed and that FSB had deployed three agents to Boston to assassinate Yuri Felshtinsky.[21][22]

In 2006, one of the book's authors (Litvinenko) was poisoned, allegedly by FSB agent Andrey Lugovoi.[23] The European Court of Human Rights ruled that Russia was responsible for the assassination.[24] According to the results of an inquiry by the British Government, "The FSB operation to kill Mr. Litvinenko was probably approved by... President Putin."[25]

After Litvinenko was poisoned, confiscated copies of the book were kept by the FSB and destroyed in 2007 "due to death of the accused" Litvinenko.[26]

In 2015 the book was included in the Federal List of Extremist Materials, preventing any form of publication in Russia.[27]


Alexander Goldfarb said the book "would haunt Putin the way the image of the killed Tsarevich haunted Boris Godunov."[20] According to Oleg Gordievsky, "For clues as to who wanted Alexander Litvinenko dead, you need look no farther than his book Blowing Up Russia"[28] Sunday Times described the book as "A vivid condemnation of the Putin regime".[29] In a review for The Independent, Anne Penketh said that the book is "a densely written text" and "(f)or those seeking a reason for the killing of Litvinenko, this book contains the possible motive, although it does not mention the role of Berezovsky — sworn enemy of Putin — in bringing it out in the first place."[30] Historian Robert Service for The Guardian: "In 2002 their [Litvinenko and Yuri Felshtinsky] jointly written book failed to appeal to established publishers in the west. It has taken Litvinenko's murder for the book to appear in this updated edition ... as vivid a condemnation of the Putin regime as has yet been written.".[31]

Viv Groskop for The Observer wrote, that the book "rehashes the well-known argument that the 1999 terrorist bombing campaign that precipitated Russia's second war with Chechnya and propelled Putin to the presidency was in fact organised by Russia's own security services. David Satter, a former Moscow correspondent for the Financial Times, has written authoritatively on the subject." According to her, the book focuses "in excruciating, rambling detail" on the failed attempt by FSB agents to plant a bomb in a residential building in the city of Ryazan, but it fails to describe convincingly the overall involvement of Russian state security services in organizing the bombings.[32]


In 2001, the documentary film Assassination of Russia[33] was made on the basis of the book by French producers Jean-Charles Deniau and Charles Gazelle. Yuri Felshtinsky and Alexander Litvinenko worked as consultants for the film. The film was shown on TV in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, but not in Russia.


  1. ^ Felshtinsky & Litvinenko 2007
  2. ^ "FSB blows up Russia". Archived from the original on 2018-10-25. Retrieved 2016-03-29.
  3. ^ Felshtinsky & Litvinenko 2002
  4. ^ Yuri Felshyinsky against Yulia Latynina Archived 2015-12-10 at the Wayback Machine, RFE/RL, Interview with Yuri Felshtinsky where he refutes opinion by Yulia Latynina about Russian apartment bombings
  5. ^ Rosefielde, Steven; Hedlund, Stefan (2009). Russia Since 1980. Cambridge University Press. p. 139. ISBN 978-0-521-84913-5. Retrieved 21 May 2017.
  6. ^ "Yeltsin's man wins approval". BBC News. 16 August 1999. Archived from the original on 15 January 2009. Retrieved 22 June 2013.
  7. ^ Yeltsin, Boris (2000), Midnight Diaries, PublicAffairs, ISBN 978-1-58648-011-0, archived from the original on 2021-02-24, retrieved 2022-04-03
  8. ^ Соколов, Михаил (11 September 2009). "Беседа с американским историком Юрием Фельштинским". Радио Свобода. Archived from the original on 2020-11-30. Retrieved 2022-03-21.
  9. ^ "… после второго взрыва в Москве милиция нашла бомбу в подвале жилого дома в Рязани. Ещё через неделю французская газета «Le Figaro» спросила бывшего секретаря Совета безопасности России Александра Лебедя: возможно ли, что Российское правительство организовало террористические акции против своих граждан? «Я в этом почти уверен» — таков был ответ Лебедя." Source: Павел Хлебников. Крёстный отец Кремля Борис Березовский, или история разграбления России. — 2 изд.. — М.: Детектив-пресс, 2004. — 480 с, страницы 366-367
  10. ^ "Russia: Lebed Dies in Helicopter Crash". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 9 April 2008. Archived from the original on 2022-03-26. Retrieved 2022-04-03.
  11. ^ "Смерть Александра Лебедя - убийство?". Archived from the original on 2022-05-20. Retrieved 2022-04-03.
  12. ^ Литвиненко, А. В. ФСБ взрывает Россию: Федеральная служба безопасности — организатор террористических актов, похищений и убийств. — New York : Liberty, 2002. — 271 с. ISBN 0-914481-63-0
  13. ^ Case concerning the book “Blowing Up Russia: Terror from Within” being conducted by the FSB Archived 2011-08-23 at the Wayback Machine, Prima News, 2004-01-14
  14. ^ State secret disclosed in the book about terrorist acts Archived 2011-08-23 at the Wayback Machine, Prima News, 2004-01-30
  15. ^ Гостайну не выдал Archived 2007-09-29 at the Wayback Machine by Orhan Cemal, Novaya gazeta, January 29, 2004 (computer translation Archived 2014-12-23 at the Wayback Machine)
  16. ^ FSB summons activist editor for questioning Archived 2007-02-17 at the Wayback Machine, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, January 28, 2004.
  17. ^ Kremlin threatens human rights activist Archived 2007-09-30 at the Wayback Machine by Lawrence Uzzell, Chechnya Weekly, Jamestown Foundation, February 4, 2004.
  18. ^ "Грани.Ру: ФСБ: В книге "ФСБ взрывает Россию" разглашена гостайна". Archived from the original on 2022-05-18. Retrieved 2022-03-21.
  19. ^ "Грани.Ру: ФСБ задержала тираж книги "ФСБ взрывает Россию"". Archived from the original on 2022-03-21. Retrieved 2022-03-21.
  20. ^ a b Copyright removed from books by Litvinenko and Felshtinskiy Archived 2011-10-07 at the Wayback Machine, Prima News, 2004-02-01
  21. ^ Interview with Mikhail Trepashkin Archived 2008-03-07 at the Wayback Machine, RFE/RL, December 1, 2007.
  22. ^ Трепашкин рассказал всю правду о «деле Литвиненко» Archived 2011-07-27 at the Wayback Machine, Yelena Vasilyeva, «Новый Регион – Екатеринбург», February 15, 2007
  23. ^ "Грани.Ру: ФСБ уничтожает книгу Литвиненко". Archived from the original on 2020-12-01. Retrieved 2022-03-21.
  24. ^ Faulconbridge, Guy; Holden, Michael; Tétrault-Farber, Gabrielle; Osborn, Andrew (21 September 2021). Holton, Kate (ed.). "Russia was behind Litvinenko assassination, European court finds". Reuters. London. Archived from the original on 21 September 2021. Retrieved 21 September 2021.
  25. ^ "Full Report of the Litvinenko Inquiry". The New York Times. 21 January 2016. Archived from the original on 9 October 2016. Retrieved 3 April 2022.
  26. ^ "Грани.Ру: ФСБ уничтожает книгу Литвиненко". Archived from the original on 2020-12-01. Retrieved 2022-03-21.
  27. ^ "Грани.Ру: Книга "ФСБ взрывает Россию" включена в список экстремистских материалов". Archived from the original on 2015-06-10. Retrieved 2015-06-10.
  28. ^ "For clues as to who wanted Alexander Litvinenko dead, you need look no farther than his book Blowing Up Russia". The Times. London. January 13, 2007. Archived from the original on 2023-04-16. Retrieved 2009-08-20.
  29. ^ "A vivid condemnation of the Putin regime". Sunday Times. London. January 19, 2007. Archived from the original on 2014-01-04. Retrieved 2009-08-20.
  30. ^ Plenketh, Anne (19 February 2007). "Blowing Up Russia, by Alexander Litvinenko & Yuri Felshtinsky". The Independent. London. Retrieved 2009-04-10.[dead link]
  31. ^ "A vivid condemnation of the Putin regime". London: Sunday Times. January 20, 2007. Archived from the original on 2014-01-04. Retrieved 2009-08-20.
  32. ^ Groskop, Viv (21 January 2007). "Secrets and spies". The Observer. London. Archived from the original on 2013-08-31. Retrieved 2009-04-10.
  33. ^ "Фильм BLOWING UP RUSSIA - Покушение на Россию". Archived from the original on 2011-07-30. Retrieved 2011-08-25.


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