Election by Assassination: Putin Wins by Killing the People's Choice
Photo from Timeline.com
In March 0f 2022, President Joe Biden said of Putin, "For God's sake, this man cannot remain in Power." To which, Putin's pompous puppy, Demity Peskov, piped up, "That's not for Biden to decide, the President of Russia is elected by Russians." Well, that must come as quite a surprise to the Russians!
One of the most surprised would have to be Alexei Navalny, who famously labeled Putin's political party, United Russia, a "party of crooks and thieves". He was allowed to run for Mayor of Moscow twice, but not allowed to win. He was also arrested on trumped-up charges of "embezzlement" twice. So he decided to conduct his own embezzlement investigations which culminated with a film which focused on approximately1.2 billion USD embezzled by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. Naturally, when he tried to run in the 2018 presidential election and, due to popular support was sure to win, he was barred from running by the Central Election Commission due to those trumped up convictions. This caused massive demonstrations. Fearing his ability to motivate people and confront monsters, he was poisoned in 2020. Novochok was spread on his underpants likely on orders from Putin. He was evacuated to Germany where he received life saving treatment. Being less fearful of Putin than Putin was of him, he returned to Russia and was arrested for violation of parole. He celebrated by releasing his newest documentary, Putin's Palace. History of the World's Largest Bribe, about Putin's massive corruption operations. A must see. He is serving 11.5 years in prison. Now, with the release of a new film by Daniel Roher, Navalny, about his poisoning and arrest, he may never see the light of day so long as Putin lives. So much for the Russians choosing their president.
Boris Nemstov also thought it was up to the Russian people to decide who they wanted to be president. Wrong again. Nemstov who was the deputy prime minister under Boris Yeltsin was expected to succeed him. He was nudged out of the way by Putin but continued to campaign against corruption and the illegal 2014 takeover of Ukraine's Crimea. Five days before he was to march at the head of a massive protest, he was gunned down in the street in 2015, in broad daylight, within meters of the Kremlin. This is the cost of running for president in Putin's Russia. It was blamed on "Chechens". But now some astute investigations by Bellingcat, The Insider and the BBC reveal that Putins FSB was behind it. Not that anyone needed convincing.
Certainly not Alexander Litvinenko, the intelligence agent who defected to the West and was poisoned in London where he lived in 2006.This was a gruesome and lingering death brought on by having his tea laced with deadly radioactive polonium-210. Two Russian agents,
Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitry Kovtun, were convicted of the crime but flew the coup back to Moscow. Killing Russians in Russia is one thing but killing them on foreign soil is another, you might say.
But don't say it to Sergei Skripal and daughter Yulia. Skripal was a Russian spy recruited by the British in the 1990s. This sort of thing happens all the time and he was not a "high-level" guy. He was arrested by the Russians and released in a spy swap with America in 2010. In March of 2018 he and his daughter Yulia were found, foaming from the mouth, on a bench at a beach in England where they lived. They had been poisoned with Novochok, possibly sprayed on the door handle of their home. Very luckily the poison was not enough to kill them and they recovered. But thanks to the who-gives-a-shit attitude of Putin's assassins, who discarded the "perfume" bottle in the neighborhood in which they used it, another woman died after she accidentally found the contaminated bottle. Her husband, who also handled the bottle did not die but did go blind. Skripal was a guy who posed zero threat to Putin. But Putin fancies himself the "Godfather" and once he thinks you crossed him, he must have revenge.
However, in fairness to a fiend, he is only following in a long line of poisonous Russian politics dating to at least the 15th century, as this excellent article by Linda Kinstler explains. Ancient history aside, it was the "father of the Revolution", Vladimir Lenin, who really got the ball rolling with his KGB Poison Factory, better known as the Kamera. For the Soviets, who—due to their own mistrust and paranoia—spent as much time killing each other as they did the enemy, poison was a natural choice. It fit perfectly with their habit of carrying out a crime and then disclaiming any knowledge of it. Discovering "evidence" that someone else was the perpetrator, the so-called "false flag", is often part of the plot. But Putin has raised the "technique" of his namesake to an art and deployed it in total contempt of other countries sovereignty.
Alexander Perepilichny and Sergei Leonidovich Magnitsky were not running for office but both were involved in exposing massive theft from the Russian state coffers, carried out by Russian officials. Again, nothing of this kind can be carried out without Putin's okay and without him getting the biggest cut. One of the perks of being an absolute dictator. Perepilichny handed over documents showing how 220 million was stolen through Heritage Capital Management. Its a complicated story which you can read about here. The point is that things got too hot for him in mother Russia, so he left to live a quiet life in England. However he suddenly dropped dead while jogging in 2012. Toxin from a Chinese flowering plant Gelsemium was found in his stomach but no proof of how it got there was established. Sergei Magnitsky was a mild mannered tax advisor who also reported massive theft by Russian officials in regard to the same company. He was rewarded with arrest and thrown in jail in 2008. He died after being held without trial for 11 months. The United States passed the Magnitsky Act, "barring those Russian officials believed to be involved in Magnitsky's death from entering the United States or using its banking system." (Wikipedia) The other part of the story is that one of the founders of Hermitage, American Bill Browder, who set up the fund in 2005 believing that Putin was on track to clean out crime and modernize Russia, became one of the most vocal critics of the regime when he saw the massive theft that was going on. Now he fears for his own life though he hasn't stopped speaking out. Putin even suggested to Trump that he hand over Bill Browder in exchange for letting Robert Muelller go to Russia as part of his investigation into Russian meddling in the American election.
Vladimir Kara-Murza is another critic of the regime of "crooks and thieves" (and we must not forget, murderers). He was poisoned twice but refused to die. At least, not that way. After the second poisoning in 2017, he left Russia and lived for awhile in the USA. Now he has returned to the "old country" because, like Navalny, he refuses to be isolated from those who continue the fight for freedom. Now he has been jailed on charges of “deliberately disseminating false information about Russian military forces”, a charge which can bring a 15 year sentence. He did an interview for Frontllne in 2017 which is a brief and clear history of the rise of Putin. A must read.
Viktor Yushchenko was fortunate in that he did not run for President of Russia but of Ukraine. Even so, running against Putin's hand picked man, Viktor Yanukovych, was tantamount to the same offense. The Ukrainian system requires one of the candidates to garner over 50 % of the vote or face a runoff. In the 2004 election, neither candidate did and in a runoff, Yanukovych was the clear winner. Except that he wasn't. Massive fraud was the winner and the Ukrainan people were not standing for it. Huge demonstrations, which came to be known as the "Orange Revolution" forced a new election. This was won by Yuschenko who immediately took sick and had to be transported to Austria for emergency treatment. Pictures of his badly distorted face, the result of having digested a massive dose of toxin, were widely posted at the time. He survived and went on to serve as president for five tumultuous years. After 5 years of battles between parties, strongman Yanukovych was ready to throw his hat in the ring again. He was elected but immediately began moves to cancel a pending European Union membership in favor of accepting a bailout and closer ties with Russia—which was clearly not what the people wanted. This led to violent clashes between protestors and the police, known as the "Maidan Revolution". Putin lost another chance at controlling the country through a puppet regime when Yanukovych fled to Russia and the parliament fired him and held another election in 2014. He now enjoys a comfortable retirement in Putin's warm embrace.
But the whole incident was just another reason for Putin to hate Ukraine and determine to get his revenge. Which he did immediately by marching into the Crimea and proclaiming it part of Russia. He also moved troops into Donesk and Luhansk all under the pretext of protecting Russians living in the area. Ukraine was just trying to rebuild it's government and had little power to organize a resistance. The world protested, cut some ties, but did little to punish Putin. Ironically, it may have been this very lack of attention that he found so dissatisfying: dictators love to stand on balcony's while the loving masses applaud, you know. So he decided to invade and gain the admiration he truly deserves. But the poison he has been sprinkling so freely around the world's kitchens has now come back to pollute his own pantry. And, even as he has made thousands of graves in Ukraine, it is the place where he too will be buried.