Blowing Up Russia

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]

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


According to an interview, Yuri Felshtinsky started collecting materials about the Russian apartment bombings in 1999, not thinking that the FSB had anything to do with the terrorism acts.[5] 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. 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.

Campaign by Russian government against the book and its authorsEdit

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.[6] 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.[7] Podrabinek was summoned by the FSB on January 28, 2004. He refused to answer the questions.[8][9][10][11][12][13][14] 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.[15]

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.[16][17]

In 2006, Litvinenko was poisoned, allegedly by FSB agent Andrey Lugovoi. Confiscated copies of the book were kept by the FSB and destroyed in 2007 "due to death of the accused" Litvinenko.[18]

In 2015 the book was included in the Federal List of Extremist Materials, preventing any form of publication in Russia.[19]


Alexander Goldfarb said the book "would haunt Putin the way the image of the killed Tsarevich haunted Boris Godunov."[15] According to Oleg Gordievsky, "For clues as to who wanted Alexander Litvinenko dead, you need look no farther than his book Blowing Up Russia"[20] Sunday Times described the book as "A vivid condemnation of the Putin regime".[21] 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."[22] 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.".[23]

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.[24]


In 2001, the documentary film Assassination of Russia[25] 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, RFE/RL, Interview with Yuri Felshtinsky where he refutes opinion by Yulia Latynina about Russian apartment bombings
  5. ^
  6. ^ 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
  7. ^ State secret disclosed in the book about terrorist acts Archived 2011-08-23 at the Wayback Machine, Prima News, 2004-01-30
  8. ^ Гостайну не выдал Archived 2007-09-29 at the Wayback Machine by Orhan Cemal, Novaya gazeta, January 29, 2004 (computer translation)
  9. ^ FSB summons activist editor for questioning Archived 2007-02-17 at the Wayback Machine, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, January 28, 2004.
  10. ^ Kremlin threatens human rights activist Archived 2007-09-30 at the Wayback Machine by Lawrence Uzzell, Chechnya Weekly, Jamestown Foundation, February 4, 2004.
  11. ^ Правозащитника Александра Подрабинека вызвали на допрос в ФСБ Archived 2014-01-03 at the Wayback Machine,, January 27, 2004.
  12. ^ ФСБ: В книге "ФСБ взрывает Россию" разглашена гостайна,, January 28, 2004.
  13. ^ ФСБ и милиция арестовали тираж книги "ФСБ взрывает Россию" Archived 2014-01-03 at the Wayback Machine,, December 29, 2003.
  14. ^ ФСБ задержала тираж книги "ФСБ взрывает Россию",, December 29, 2003.
  15. ^ a b Copyright removed from books by Litvinenko and Felshtinskiy Archived 2011-10-07 at the Wayback Machine, Prima News, 2004-02-01
  16. ^ Interview with Mikhail Trepashkin, RFE/RL, December 1, 2007.
  17. ^ Трепашкин рассказал всю правду о «деле Литвиненко» Archived 2011-07-27 at the Wayback Machine, Yelena Vasilyeva, «Новый Регион – Екатеринбург», February 15, 2007
  18. ^ FSB destroyed book by Litvinenko, by
  19. ^ "Грани.Ру: Книга "ФСБ взрывает Россию" включена в список экстремистских материалов". Retrieved 2015-06-10.
  20. ^ "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. Retrieved 2009-08-20.
  21. ^ "A vivid condemnation of the Putin regime". Sunday Times. London. January 19, 2007. Retrieved 2009-08-20.
  22. ^ Plenketh, Anne (19 February 2007). "Blowing Up Russia, by Alexander Litvinenko & Yuri Felshtinsky". The Independent. London. Retrieved 2009-04-10.
  23. ^ "A vivid condemnation of the Putin regime". London: Sunday Times. January 20, 2007. Retrieved 2009-08-20.
  24. ^ Groskop, Viv (21 January 2007). "Secrets and spies". London: The Observer. Retrieved 2009-04-10.
  25. ^ Фильм BLOWING UP RUSSIA - Покушение на Россию


External linksEdit