VodkaPundit

The Road to Hell Is Paved with Poisoned Opposition Leaders

(AP photo)

(AP photo)

It’s dangerous to oppose Vlad Putin:

Vladimir Kara-Murza Jr., who has long been based in Washington, was in a hotel in Moscow when he suddenly lost consciousness May 26 and was hospitalized with what his wife called “symptoms of poisoning.” The 33-year-old is a coordinator for Open Russia, a nongovernmental organization which on the previous day released a documentary film accusing close Putin crony and Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov of human rights abuses including torture and murder.

“Doctors have just confirmed that he was poisoned,” Andrei Bystrov, an opposition activist and friend of the Kara-Murza family, told The Telegraph. “As to what with, they can’t say yet. It could be anything.”

Kara-Murza, a dual Russian-British citizen, was a close associate of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, who was assassinated in February.

Why the sudden need to kill Kara-Murza? It’s not as though Putin is facing an “election” any time soon, and Kara-Murza can’t be all that effective in Russia if he spends most of his time in Washington. Maybe Putin’s people just saw an opportunity during Kara-Mirza’s visit. Maybe something more sinister is going on.

For more on that possibility, and with a tip of the hat to Longtime Sharp VodkaPundit Reader “Formerly Neil,” here’s John Schindler:

I’m not sure why this caused a ruckus, since the reality, visible to anyone with eyes to see, is that Russian aggression over the last year and more has created a very unstable environment in Eastern Europe. Not to mention that the Russian military was simulating nuclear attacks on NATO countries as far back as 2009, back when ties between Moscow and the West remained far from chilly, indeed positively reset-y. The post-Cold War order has been destroyed by Russian acts in Ukraine, and we’re headed towards some sort of new system — whether through renewed Cold War or actual war remains to be seen.

I am increasingly pessimistic that a wider war can be averted, not least because Putin has been winning off his gambling, despite holding an intrinsically weak hand, and gamblers tend to keep playing when they’re winning.

“GOFO” is milspeak for “General Officer/Flag Officer.” IE, somebody with stars on their shoulders and in a position to know. And if Putin really is willing to risk a European war, knocking off high-ranking opposition leaders might be an effective opening volley.

It’s time to allow yourself to be nervous.