It’s easy for peanut-gallery observers far away from the action to ask questions those closer to the scene might not ask. So, I’ll ask it: Did Russian strongman/president Vladimir Putin have a hand in the assassination of a leading critic of his government?
I’m not sure if the Russian criminal justice system has a presumed-innocent clause in its framework, but having watched Putin from a great distance over many years, and knowing of his background, my darker side tells me something just doesn’t smell right in Moscow.
Boris Nemtsov was gunned down on a Moscow street — in the shadow of the Kremlin — this past week. Who is this fellow? He was considered perhaps Putin’s leading critic. He had a huge political following in Russia and was seen by some as a serious political threat to the Russian president. Many thousands of them marched in tribute to the slain leader.
Now, what about Putin?
His background is worth examining. In his previous life, Putin fellow led the KGB, the intelligence agency of the Soviet Union, the one-time “Evil Empire” made infamous by its known practice of eliminating critics of the communist regime. The KGB’s name went away when the Soviet Union vaporized in 1991, but its infrastructure has remained pretty much in place, even as the agency was split into two parts.
Putin has served a couple of non-consecutive tours of duty as Russia’s president. Each one has demonstrated the hallmark of this individual’s makeup.
He is as ruthless as ruthless gets. He took over a portion of Ukraine, a supposedly sovereign country bordering Russia. The term “bully” doesn’t even come close to describing Putin.
I have this terrible feeling in my gut that Vladimir Putin — at the very least — just might have a good idea as to who killed Nemtsov. If he does — and I believe that’s the case — let’s not expect Putin to give up whoever did the deed.