Opinion on the Klebnikov murder

Posted in Russia | 17-Jul-04

"Contract killing from any number of sources. It could have been revenge from one of the oligarchs, it could have been someone who Klebnikov was investigating for a future article. Since the last of the independent media's been shut down in Moscow, it could have been a zealous SVR/FSB agent who saw Klebnikov as a leader among the Russian emigres who could rally support for independent media in Moscow. A few newspapers continue to publish, but even NTV is now fully under Kremlin censorship as of two weeks ago when Putin closed down their last two talking heads programs (one run by RFERL's former Moscow bureau chief who's no democrat), just shows you the lack of tolerance for dissenting views in Putin's Russia. The next step for Putin is to go after the foreign-owned Moscow Times which is run by a bunch of Americans and has a gutsy editorial on Putin's "orders to his diplomats." (Putin told his diplomats on July 12 to work to improve Russia's image abroad.)

It mainly shows that contract killings are still the order of the day in Moscow, and that even "foreigners" are not immune. We'll just have to see how things develop. The Moscow correspondent for Radio Free Afghanistan was knifed in the landing of his apartment building last week because he refused to move from the building even though it was under new ownership. He's in the hospital in a coma, don't know if he'll recover enough to work, again. This attack appears non-political; he just was foolish not to listen to the warnings to move out."