Murder in the Time of Putin
by Jeremy Putley
Original to La Russophobe
Murder is the most distinguishing aspect of Vladimir Putin’s time in high office. Murders carried out by agents of the government, by government-sponsored members of the siloviki, above all by the Russian military in Chechnya, and by Putin’s protégé Ramzan Kadyrov as Chechnya’s ruler, will surely come to be recognised by historians of the era as the feature which most distinguishes the leadership of Vladimir Putin from his predecessors. Murder has not been so common an occurrence in Russia since the days of Joseph Stalin. Murders certainly became more frequent during the presidency of Boris Yeltsin than they had been, but beginning with the assassination of Galina Starovoitova by agents of the Russian security services in 1998, when Putin was head of the KGB, the frequency of murder has been on the increase, while endemic corruption continues unchecked.
Putin’s rule began in blood. The 1999 apartment building bomb explosions in Moscow and other cities killed more than 300. These murders, carried out to provide a spurious justification for prime minister Putin’s war in Chechnya, are believed with good reason by historians to have been the work of agents of the Russian FSB – particularly because they were never properly investigated.