Skip to comments.Putin's Enemies Have A Nasty Habit: Dying
Posted on 11/30/2006 6:01:36 AM PST by canuck_conservative
Alexander Litvinenko, who died horribly in a London hospital on Thursday, is only the latest critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin to meet a brutal death.
On Oct. 7, another critic, the journalist Anna Politkovskaya was gunned down in the lobby of her Moscow apartment building. Two years earlier, in July 2004, the U.S. journalist Paul Klebnikov was murdered as he emerged from the offices of the Russian edition of Forbes magazine. These killings and many others are linked to the deepest mystery of the Russian state. The mystery is the rise of Vladimir Putin.
In 1998, Vladimir Putin was named head of the Russian secret police, the KGB, now renamed the FSB. In August, 1999, a desperately unpopular Boris Yeltsin named Putin prime minister of Russia -- the fifth PM in less than 18 months. There seemed little reason to expect Putin to last any longer than his predecessors.
Then the bombs started going off. The first bomb hit a Moscow mall on Aug. 31, 1999, killing one person and wounding 40. Five more bombs followed over the next 17 days, striking apartment buildings in Moscow and in southern Russia. Nearly 300 people were killed.
Prime minister Putin blamed Chechen separatists, and ordered Russian troops to reconquer the province, which had won de facto independence in a bloody war from 1994 to 1996. This time, Russian arms won more success. Putin called a snap parliamentary election in December, 1999, and his supporters won the largest bloc of seats in Parliament.
On Dec. 31, 1999, president Yeltsin resigned. Prime Minister Putin succeeded as acting president. He granted Yeltsin and his family immunity from prosecution on corruption charges and shifted Russia's next presidential election -- originally scheduled for the fall of 2000 -- forward to March. Putin won handily.
Next he acted to reduce the power of the provinces, to renationalize private enterprise, and to close independent media outlets. Backed this time by the full power of the state and state-controlled media, Putin won 71% of the vote in the 2004 presidential election.
Despite Putin's enormous personal power, however, questions still linger about the means by which he won it. In addition to the six bombs that went off in September, 1999, there was a seventh that did not detonate. On Sept. 22, 1999, local police in the city of Ryazan discovered sacks of explosives in the basement of an apartment house. They found something else, too: a record at the local phone company of a phone call to one of the would-be bombers. The call originated at the FSB offices in Moscow.
After a two-day pause, the FSB explained that Ryazan police had stumbled across an FSB training exercise. The FSB took charge of the investigation, declared the sacks harmless, and quietly closed the case the week after Putin's election to the Russian presidency.
Meanwhile, the war in Chechnya weltered on bloodily. Most Russian journalists got the message that it was better for their health to focus on other subjects -- but not Anna Politkovskaya. Despite an attempted poisoning in 2004, she filed story after story about human rights abuses by Russian forces and the Putin-installed pro-Russian government in Chechnya. At the time of her death, she claimed to have found evidence of state-ordered torture in Chechnya. Any such evidence has now vanished: All her files and computers were seized by police investigating her death.
There is a Chechen link to the Klebnikov killing, too. At the time of his death, Klebnikov had been working on a story about the theft by Russian officials of funds for the reconstruction of Chechnya. In May, 2006, a Russian jury acquitted the two men indicted for Klebnikov's murder. By remarkable coincidence, the same jury had previously acquitted the same two men for killing one of Klebnikov's most important sources, a former deputy prime minister in the pro-Russian Chechen government.
As for Alexander Litvinenko, his offence was to have published in 2002 a book arguing that the September 1999 bombings were orchestrated by the FSB to bring Putin to power.
Measured by the number of stories posted and published in the world's English-language media (5,000 and counting as of Friday afternoon), the assassination of Pierre Gemayel in Lebanon was the week's top story. And yet in one way at least there is nothing very surprising about this story: Gemayel's probable killers are the rulers of Syria, an officially designated state sponsor of terrorism.
Vladimir Putin's Russia, by contrast, is a member of the G8, a veto-wielder at the UN Security Council, an honoured participant in international summits and conferences.
If this supposed ally in the war on terror is being run by assassins and bombers, isn't that a fact that deserves attention -- to put it mildly?
© National Post 2006
Kind of like anyone who gets close to the Clintons. They die or they end up in jail.
ANOTHER saddam hussein amongst us. BUT, mysteriously the LIBERALS keep focusing on Gitmo & abu ghraib. More selective moral outrage from the loony left? Me thinks so.
beat me to it
Why didn't I think of that?
Now the question becomes, what do we do about it?
Business as usual.
I grew up during the Cold War. When the USSR collapsed, I was hopeful that something good would come of it; however, when the billions in US aid began to disappear, I realized it was going to be a very long time before we had a true ally in the Russian state... if ever.
Communism is like liberalism... a psychological state, rather than any rational set of political beliefs. It will never disappear overnight.
It doesn't surprise me that they would kill a former spy but I'm having a lot of trouble believing that they would leave a trail as clear as this one is. If they want to send a message to former spies, there are a lot better ways of doing it than angering Europe.
Anyone want a cup of starbucks coffee?
True, but a less sophisticated killer, say, a person on the street who simply had a grudge against the former spy, would probably not be able to get his hands on Polonium 210. I would wager he would have just tried to shoot the man instead.
there are a lot better ways of doing it than angering Europe
I quite literally spit up my coffee when I read this. What could Russia possibly have to lose by angering Europe? :)
Hmm, this sounds familiar.
Wasn't Polonium one of Prince's ex-girlfriends?
<< Kind of like anyone who gets close to the Clintons. They die or they end up in jail. >>
Took the words from me mouth.
Unless you used to be and/or are Elian Gonzales, David Koresh or a member of his family or numbered among his friends, students and/or parishioners -- in which case any difference is likely too subtle and probably escapes you -- The tattered remnants of our Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights are all that (barely) set the Clinton Crime Family (slightly) apart from the likes of the principals and of the gangs that attached to the likes of Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Putin and Peking's present pack of predators.
Here it is: http://alamo-girl.com/0463.htm
We can call it Putincide.
Seems like Putin has gotten the Arkanicide afflication that BJ Clinton has had.
>I quite literally spit up my coffee when I read this. >What could Russia possibly have to lose by angering Europe? :)
Putin doesn't care much, he cut gas to Ukraine, invited HAMAS to Kremlin, M1-Tor to Iran etc, etc..
I coined the term "putincide" last week sometime.