Political murders in Russia are always ordered by the top man rather than being the decision of some subordinate group, Igor Eidman says; and once a Kremlin leader demonstrates he is ready to use this technique, the potential hit list usually contains those who have most infuriated the dictator.
For Stalin, those included Trotsky, Mikhoels, and Konovalets; for Putin, it has already included Litvinenko, Nemtsov, Voronenkov, Kara-Murza Junior, the Skripals, and Verzilov, all people who have infuriated Putin by their statements or actions, the Russian commentator says.
This suggests, Eidman continues, that those at greatest risk from the Kremlin are those who have angered Putin the most. And he suggests that “the top there potential victims of Putin” in the coming weeks and months include:
- “Bill Browder. Putin hates him. He is practically ‘the Trotsky of today.’ The most active critic of the Kremlin in the West. I think,” Eidman says, “that the dictator would have killed him long ago” if there were a way to do so at less cost to himself. “It is completely possible that the Russian special services simply are awaiting a suitable case to dispatch Browder.”
- “Alexei Navalny. Putin also obviously hates ‘this person’ too. In contrast to Browder, it would not be hard to seize Navalny but this would threaten unpredictable consequences including an intensification of conflict between the authorities and young people. However, Putin at any moment can decide that Navalny has crossed a red line and to kill him is more suitable than not.”
- “The banker Sergey Pugachev. For Putin, he is a traitor. He belonged to a quite near circle and now is giving the Western media their common secrets.”
Of course, Eidman says, Putin’s “list is much longer. These three are simply the most obvious names.”
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Tags: assassinations, FSB (Russia's Federal Security Service), GRU (Russian Military Main Intelligence Directorate), international, murder, Op-ed, Putin, Russia, Russian opposition, Russian opposition murder, Russian state terrorism, SVR (Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service)