Putin’s murderous regime Estonian Life
09 Feb 2018 Tõnu Naelapea
Recently, leaving Tartu College at the noon hour, I was approached by a communist. A bearded, shabbily-dressed individual, of approximate age to qualify as a millennial. That was not the give-away. It was the pamphlet that he offered, the placards his cronies were waving, asking for support for the Communist Party of Canada (CPC).
The young man said that the party has a pending lawsuit against the City of Montréal for damages incurred in actions during the 2015 federal election campaign. A trial was to begin January 22, 2018.
I asked – have you read the Black Book of Communism? He had never heard of it. The scholarly work confirms the deaths of at least 100 million people due to communist terror and bloody repression.
It boggles the mind in 2018 that such naïfs exist. One wonders why the communist ideal, proven not to work, still holds appeal. In an age of fake news, allegations versus facts, this is perhaps not that surprising. People raised in comfort and security cannot conceive of what the communists did.
Present day Russia and China are still communist, but capitalist-communist. Their elections are anything but free, decided in advance, pressure tactics rule. Oligarchs in both countries are fleecing their people, ruling by the tried and true methods that communism relied on. Money and political power –always two prime motivators for ruthless people.
Days after this encounter I chanced upon a necessary book for comfortable members of not only the CPC but also Western society as a whole to read. Amy Knight has written five books, over 30 scholarly articles and numerous pieces on Russian history and politics. Edward Lucas, writing in The New York Times, called her the world’s foremost KGB scholar. Her latest is 2017’s Orders to Kill: The Putin Regime and Political Murder. The research is impeccable and reveals the Russia of today to be as much of a gangster state as it was during the Soviet years. Indeed, Russia has historically relied on terror.
What is frightening is that so few are aware of how Vladimir Putin ascended to power, and how he has kept it, while claiming to be a democrat. This through arranging - or having others arrange - the killing of his vocal enemies. The West, as Bill Browder has written, has created a myth that Vladimir Putin can be appeased, that he will behave himself when faced with sanctions, or other diplomatic means.
Knight debunks this approach masterfully. The focus on political murder is important, as Putin’s regime has manipulated the West, eliminating democratically minded opponents residing abroad. The case of Alexander Litvinenko, a former FSB (successor of the KGB, where Putin cut his chops) officer receives deserved attention. Litvinenko “saw the light”, chose to work against Putin, and was poisoned in London, in what Knight calls an act of nuclear terrorism. The Polonium 210 that was administered to his tea also affected many others, for the poisonous material leaves traces wherever it is used. Litvinenko’s killers were bumblers, leaving evidence throughout London and Hamburg of Polonium 210 presence. It has a very long half-life.
Covert violence is a Kremlin tradition in silencing critics. Knight presents numerous cases that have received attention, but have been not been acted upon by democracies for political reasons. Among them are the murders of journalists such as Anna Politkovskaya and Natalia Estemirova, both recognized in the West as crusaders, human rights activists. And of Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer who exposed high-level government corruption.
Knight believes that Boris Berezovsky did not commit suicide but was murdered thanks to his opposition of Putin. She presents numerous facts as proof – the official verdict is that the cause of death is still undecided.
The Boston Marathon bombing had Russia’s footprints all over it. With the Sochi Winter Olympic Games on the horizon, Russia’s ruler wished to divert attention from internal terrorism and make it an international issue, according to Knight. This with factual evidence, of how two Chechen brothers, responsible for the carnage, were ripe for recruitment. The FSB was much too clever for the FBI, duping their American counterparts.
The mere fact that Russia has acted on foreign soil, in the UK and the USA, shows that there are no limits that they will accept. On their own soil too, as the murder of Boris Nemtsov, almost three years ago, on February 27, 2018, proved. He was eliminated for many reasons. A major reason was in Nemtsov engaging U.S politicians to get the Magnitsky Act passed. Nemtsov testified before the U.S. Senate Foreign relations Committee that Putin had transitioned from a “sovereign democracy“ (a misnomer used by the Kremlin) to “overt political repression. Moscow saw this as treasonous.
The final straw for the Kremlin was Nemtsov “casting the shadow of corruption” on the Sochi Games. Lucrative contracts for building Games infrastructure were awarded to Putin cronies. According to Nemtsov, amounting to some $26 billion worth of embezzlement and kickbacks.
Knight has noted in another book that Putin suffers from what we know of as small man’s syndrome, or Napoleon complex. Ivan the Terrible, Stalin and Lenin were also small in stature. When Nemtsov, a tall, handsome man (compare that with Putin’s similarity to Dobby the elf, made famous in the Harry Potter movies) had the temerity to publicly make the Putin comparison with his predecessors, it might have signed his death warrant.
Her book should be required reading. Available from better bookstores, public libraries, and through various internet sites.
Co-opting terrorism for political advantage confirms that the Russians will stoop at nothing to further their international and domestic goals.