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Depositphotos.com | venakr | Kreml in Moskau

© Depositphotos.com | venakr | Kremlin in Moscow

Putin’s message to his “traitors”

From Putin’s point of view every critical journalist is a “traitor”. Putin has also called the Wagner boss Prigozhin, who has now probably died in a plane crash, a “traitor”.

During my penultimate visit to Mikhail Gorbachev in Moscow in 2016, I learn that he co-founded and financially supports the newspaper Novaya Gazeta, one of the few independent newspapers in Russia. Since 2000, five journalists from this newspaper – including Anna Politkovskaya – had been murdered and other colleagues seriously injured. Politkovskaya had reported critically on the Chechen war. At that time, Gorbachev and I had written the book “Never Again War – Come to Your Senses” together.

During my last visit to Mikhail Gorbachev in 2019, I learn that on the same day a colleague of Novaya Gazeta had a bucket of slurry poured over her head as she got out of her car. She had written a critical article about Stalin’s rule the day before.

In Putin’s view, any critical journalist is a “traitor.” Putin has also called Prigozhin, the Wagner boss who has now probably died in a plane crash, a “traitor.” In Russia, the death penalty applies to “traitors.” The list of these “traitors” is long.

Some examples:

  • The most prominent Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny. He was poisoned on a flight to Siberia in the summer of 2020 and returned to Moscow after treatment at the Charite in Berlin. In August 2023, he will be sentenced to 19 years in prison for alleged extremism.
  • In August 2019, a Georgian is shot dead in Berlin’s Tiergarten park. The Berlin court speaks of “state terrorism”. According to it, Russian authorities are behind the “contract killing”.
  • Yulia and Sergei Skripal. The ex-spy and his daughter also narrowly survived a poison attack in Salisbury, England, in March 2018. The British government and Scotland Yard blame Russian intelligence for the poison attack.
  • Boris Nemtsov. The Russian opposition politician is shot dead from a car in February 2015. He was considered a Ukraine supporter. The suspected murderer is convicted, but Nemtsov’s family complains that the masterminds were not really searched for.
  • Putin critic Alexander Litvinenko dies in November 2006 after an attack using the radiation poison polonium 210. Litvinenko accuses Putin of being behind the assassination. One of the two suspects is now a deputy in the Russian Duma.
  • On February 16, 2023, Marina Jankina, an employee of the Russian Ministry of Defense, falls from the 16th floor of a high-rise building in St. Petersburg. She was responsible for financing the Ukraine war.
  • Deputy Science Minister Pyotr Kucherenko dies on May 23, 2023, while flying from Cuba to Moscow. He had called Putin’s Ukraine war a “fascist invasion.” Russian Putin critics are also said to have died in India and France, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reports.

Window crashes, poisonings, shootings: The current plane crash is just one “accident” in a long series of misfortunes of all kinds. In the shadow of the Kremlin, a variety of “accidents” happen to Putin’s opponents.

Two months after his revolt against the “assholes in the Kremlin” (Yevgeny Viktorovich Prigozhin), the head of Wagner (Wagner Group) is probably dead. And President Putin has condoled with the families of those killed in the current plane crash on state television! He described Prigozhin as a “capable” man who had, however, made “serious mistakes”.

The Kremlin denies involvement in the Prigozhin case. Kremlin spokesman Peskov: Such allegations are “an absolute lie.” Putin had previously honored the muzzler, criminal and war criminal Prigozhin as a “hero of Russia”.


Franz Alt 2023

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