The Putin/Stalin Thread

Well, that didn’t take long. I’ve been writing in SNS for perhaps a year about Putin’s return to a Stalinist Russia, mostly focused on his destruction of free speech, democratic procedures, and the market economy. Now we get an added “bonus”: it appears possible that he’s been ordering assassinations through the FSB (the old KGB, his alma mater), both inside and outside Russia. None of this, to date, has been proved.

The latest incident involves the poisoning of past FSB colonel – and then detractor – Alexander Litvinenko, now a British citizen living in London. The short story, according to briefs in the Washington Post and the WSJ: Litvinenko was poisoned by an Italian contact Mario Scaramella (according to the British press) offering details on the recent assassination of Anna Politkovskaya, a journalist who had written, and was releasing new material, critical of Putin’s handling of Chechnya.

Here’s the part most folks will find interesting: the poisoning “hit list” attributed to the FSB in recent times includes Viktor Yuschenko, then candidate for president of Ukraine; and Politkovskaya herself, who claims she was poisoned in 2004 – as well as a target killed in London with a poisoned umbrella tip a few years earlier.

The part I find most interesting: Both Litvinenko and Politkovskaya believed that Putin himself had orchestrated a series of deadly apartment bombings, which led to his rise to power as he blamed and then invaded Chechnya.

It would appear that Putin may have put out assassination assignments against many or all of those who are telling this story in public – regardless of citizenship, or where they reside.

Using a fake threat to national security to enhance power and take away democratic process and individual rights ought to be an impeachable offense.

I saw a picture this morning of Bush and Putin at the APEC meeting in Vietnam; they were yukking it up together in the back row, while Hu Jin Tao stood quietly in front of them.

They seem very comfortable together.