British diplomat Tony Brenton reveals the true horror of life in Vladimir Putin’s neo-Soviet state in the Daily Mail:
Should you get home to find the door to your flat unlocked from the inside, that’s just the FSB (the KGB’s successor) letting you know they called. If you pick up the phone to hear your voice played back, as I have, someone is recording your conversations. Such was my life in Russia during my time as a senior official and then as British Ambassador from 2004 to 2008.
Jackson Diehl, blogging at the Washington Post:
International criminals with ties to the Russian government are accustomed to enjoying impunity. A couple even sit in the parliament despite being charged by foreign police with murder. So it’s not surprising thatthe extradition from Thailand to the United States Tuesday of Viktor Bout, a notorious arms trafficker known as the “merchant of death,” has prompted loud cries of outrage from Moscow.
“Extreme unjustice,” fumed Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Said the Foreign Ministry: “There is no doubt that the illegal extradition of V.A. Bout came as a consequence of unprecedented political pressure” from the United States.
You’d think that the Obama administration had kidnapped a national hero. So it’s worth recalling just who Moscow is defending. Bout, a 43-year-old former Russian army translator, has for two decades supplied weapons or cash to rogue regimes and terrorist movements around the world — including the Taliban and al-Qaeda. He has fueled massive bloodshed in Africa, flying weapons into places like the Congo, Liberia, Sudan and Sierra Leone.