Murder Inc.

Murder Inc.

  • Michael Cholod
  • Mar 5th, 2024

Just a few weeks ago, Maksim Kuzminov, a Russian pilot who defected to Ukraine in his Mi-8 helicopter last year, was murdered by Russian hit men in Spain. Three days later on February 16, 2024, Putin upped the ante by murdering Alexei Navalny, the leading Russian opposition activist and sworn enemy, at a remote Arctic penal colony. Now, all eyes are on Vladimir Kara-Murza, an honorary British-Canadian and Russian opposition figure currently serving a 25 year prison sentence in Siberia for treason.

Putin and his regime are notoriously intolerant of any political opposition. It’s horrendous enough to routinely imprison grandmothers who dare to speak out, but murdering opposition figures and enemies of the state with impunity across Europe is staggering.

This ain't his first rodeo

Putin and his enforcers in the FSB (formerly the KGB), have a long history of eliminating anyone who challenges them or dares to expose the profound corruption within the Government of the Russian Federation. The poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko, a former FSBagent and defector to London in November 2006, was followed by the assassination of Boris Nemtsov in February 2015, just hours after he publicly supported a protest march againstRussia's war in Ukraine.

Putin's government is not the legitimate, democratically elected government of Russia. It’s a kleptocratic mob of thieves and assassins who’ve spent decades imprisoning and murdering their own people. 

With friends like this, who needs enemies?

You don't even need to be a vocal opponent of Putin to attract attention. From 2022 to 2024, 38 of Russia's most visible oligarchs, Putin’s mega-rich supporters and allies who control some of the largest corporations in Ukraine, died under suspicious circumstances. Having a dodgy heart attack in a hotel room is one thing, but falling from a basement window is another. One oligarch, Vladislav Avayev, a former Kremlin official and vice president of Gazprombank, was found dead in his luxury penthouse in April 2022. The FSB investigation concluded that Avayev murdered his pregnant wife and 13 year old daughter before somehow managing to shoot himself in the back of the head.

Bite the hand that killed you

Putin and his assassins feel they can kill whomever, whenever, wherever and for whatever reason they wish. But sometimes that arrogance can come back to haunt you. On November 16, 2009, Sergei Magnitsky a Russian tax advisor for Hermitage Capital Management, who was responsible for exposing corruption and misconduct by the Russian government was murdered while in police custody in Moscow. This led to Hermitage’s CEO, Bill Browder an American citizen who had moved to Moscow in 1996, to flee Russia and pursue a crusade to avenge his death. Browder spent the next three years as a fugitive from FSB hit-squads, while exposing Russian corruption and lobbying for legislation to punish Putin and his mob.

Browder's efforts resulted in the United States Congress and President Barack Obamaenacting the Magnitsky Act in 2012, barring those Russian officials involved in Magnitsky'sdeath from entering the United States or using its banking system. Subsequently, nearly a dozen other nations, as well as the European Union, have implemented Magnitsky legislation. The invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022 shocked the world and galvanised peace loving nations to enact some of the most draconian sanctions ever, including Canada's Special Economic Measures Act which takes Magnitsky sanctions to a new level. 

Last week at the funeral of Alexei Navalny in Moscow, thousands of Russians chanted "No to war", "Russia without Putin" and "Russia will be free". Let’s hope for the sake of Ukraine and most long-suffering Russian citizens that Navalny’s murder is a final nail in Putin's coffin. 

Slava Ukraini! Heroiam Slava!