Public Service Reminder: Vladimir Putin is not a nice man
**Posted by Phineas
“Not nice,” as in “probably blew up 300 of his own people to pave his way to the presidency.”
Via Michael Barone, David Satter is an American journalist for The Wall Street Journal who specializes in modern Russia. He also has the honor of being the first US reporter expelled from Russia since it was called the USSR. In the course of writing about his expulsion and why he plans to continue reporting on Russia, he relates this tale, which should send a shiver down anyone’s spine:
Other questions that hang over the Putin regime are the fates of his murdered political opponents, Alexander Litvinenko, Anna Politkovskaya and Natalya Estemirova. But most important of all is the question of who was responsible for the 1999 apartment bombings in Russia that served as the pretext for Moscow’s second war against the former Soviet republic of Chechnya. The bombings terrorized all of Russia, created a wave of patriotic fervor and swept the previously unknown Mr. Putin into the presidency. The Russian authorities blamed the bombings on Chechens, but when an unexploded bomb was discovered in the basement of one building, the terrorists were caught and proved to be agents of the Federal Security Service or FSB, a successor to the old KGB.
Vladimir Putin was a long-time KGB officer and head of the FSB under President Yeltsin.
I remember speculation about a false-flag operation at the time the bombings occurred: Russia needed an excuse to crush the Chechens, who had essentially beaten her in the first war, and showing himself to be a tough leader (he had been appointed prime minister and anointed Yeltsin’s heir before the apartment bombings) would boost his chances in the coming election. But at the time, I thought that was just Russian paranoia talking. But now, putting that in context with everything else that’s happened under “Vlad the Terrible,” I have to wonder.
Read the whole thing, but don’t worry; we have Barack Obama, John Kerry, and the whole Smart Power team looking out for us.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)