Wednesday, April 18, 2018

‘An Epidemic of Murders’ – Russian Politics Increasingly Resembles a Crime Report, Kirillova Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, April 18 – “The more cynically the top Russian powers that be are, the more people die at its hands,” Kseniya Kirillova says, leading to “an epidemic of murders” ranging from those that attract international attention even when the regime’s attempts fail as in the Skripal case to more obscure figures who far more often are murdered successfully.

            The US-based Russian journalist says that in Russia today, people are being killed “at all levels beginning from the highest and ending at the regional ones. Some of these murders undoubtedly can’t be carried out without approval ‘from on high,” while those lower down need only the backing of the regional FSB (

            It would be “extremely naïve,” Kirillova says, “to think that there exists one common for all ‘killer list.’ In fact, we cannot imagine how many such lists there are or may soon be compiled.” For the most prominent victims, Novichok can be employed while for those further down the scale, “illegal” drugs, a bullet or “an unexpected fall” from an upper floor.

            Kirillova points out that “human life in Russia is being devalued every day. In fact, how can one speak about its value in a country which threatens the entire world with nuclear weapons, advises its own population what to take with it into bomb shelters, and puts out the idea that ‘death is beautiful’?”

            These bitter conclusions, she says, are prompted by the death of journalist Maksim Borodin, who was the first to write about the losses of the Vagner “private” military company in Syria. “He died in a hospital without regaining consciousness after falling from the fifth floor of his own apartment building.”

            Kirillova says she knew Borodin for approximately ten years as a result of their work together on the Novy Region portal. When that portal split over the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Borodin continued to work in Yekaterinburg but fully supported those like Kirillova who went over to the Ukrainian outlet.

            “He like many other thinking people in Russia understood the disastrous nature of the annexation of Crimea and the war that has followed and tried to write the truth even in difficult Russian circumstances,” she continues. In addition to the Vagner story, “he conducted several regional investigations and as always did so without fear of raising the most dangerous themes.”

            Neither Kirillova nor those who knew Borodin better believe the official version that the Yekaterinburg journalist committed suicide. Such an action, she says, would not have been in character; and therefore, she concludes that he was killed by the criminal regime he so often worked to expose.

            It would be naïve to suggest that Putin personally has been behind each of those murdered in the regions. “However, Putin created the system in which it is easy to attack and even kill those who cause problems, and death is in its eyes a suitable solution for the problem of an ‘inconvenient’ individual.”

            “The contempt for human life which Putin and his entire regime show cannot but affect the entire country,” Kirillova says; “and the main targets in that country turn out to be always the best, the most honest and the most uncompromising people.” And in that sense, Putin bears responsibility for each of these tragic deaths. 

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