Who's murdering Russian journalists?

The cases of Shchekochikhin, Litvinenko, and Politkovskaya are among the best-known of the political murders in Russia under Putin, but there are many others where the pattern of likely regime or FSB involvement and a subsequent sabotage of the investigation is clearly evident, including the cases of the American journalist Paul Klebnikov, human-rights activist Natalya Estimirov, Duma deputy Sergei Yushenkov, and others. Seen as a whole, these cases make clear that what is involved is deliberate terror against the opposition that, in the unitary Russian system, could only be directed by Putin.

Unfortunately, American presidential candidates are often not interested in understanding the details of what is happening in Russia, and a particularly reckless candidate can become what Lenin described as a “useful idiot.” This is a person whose superficiality makes him ideally suited to serve Russian purposes and whose self-confidence is constantly stoked with signs of esteem from the Russian leaders, who assure him that whatever others may think of him, they are and will remain his true friends.

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