Vladimir Putin is preparing for a new reelection that will keep him in power. The Russian leader does not want surprises and continues with the purge of opponents, with the imprisonment of the main dissident of the regime, Alexei Navalni, who has been sentenced to another 19 years in prison for extremism. In recent months, criticism of the war in Ukraine has been increasing and the Kremlin has acted forcefully with the arrest of several citizens who participated in civil protests, as reported EFE.
Prison, however, is not Moscow’s only tool of repression. So much so that in the last 20 years of his mandate, Putin and the Kremlin have been allegedly involved, according to complaints from international organizations, in the death of opponents, activists and journalists who dared to expose their rejection of the president’s authoritarian methods.
On the list of deaths, usually mysterious and unsolved, are lawyers, opposition leaders, former KGB officers and social activists. The purge leaves at least ten suspected cases.
Journalist Anna Politkovskaya, an American of Urkanian descent, became one of the main voices critical of the Chechen war, coming to openly confront and criticize Putin. Her reports and her lectures led her to gain popularity among the Russian population, but also the hatred of those close to Putin. In 2006, after receiving death threats, a neighbor found her bullet-riddled body in the elevator of the central Moscow building where she lived. Her murder has always been shrouded in mystery and the alleged culprits were not convicted until 2014.
The former FSB (former KGB) officer was poisoned with polonium-210 in London in 2006. Weeks before his murder, he had accused the Kremlin of being behind the murder of the journalist Anna Politkovskaya.
Opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, once Yeltsin’s deputy prime minister, was assassinated in 2015 as he was crossing the bridge from Bolshoi Moskvoretsky, about 200 meters from the Kremlin, in Moscow. In the days before his death, the politician had openly criticized Putin and his war plan in Ukraine. At that time, the conflict was focused on Donbas.
After he was shot, police seized all writing and hard drives from his Moscow apartment. A journalistic investigation carried out by BBC, The Insider and Bellingcat proved that Nemtsov was watched and followed by agents of the FSB (former KGB) during the year prior to his murder.
Sergei Skripal and Yulia Skripal
the old russian spy Sergey Skripal And your daughter, Yulia Skripal, were poisoned in the UK in 2018 with Novichok, a nerve agent. Skripal had dual citizenship, Russian and British, and had been convicted in Moscow in 2004 of high treason, although he managed to settle in London after a spy swap.
Human rights defender Natalia Estemirova was, like Anna Politkovskaya, one of the voices that rose up against the war in Chechnya and the crimes against humanity that Russian forces were committing. In 2009 she was kidnapped and murdered without Russia even conducting an investigation into her death, according to a conviction from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
Stanslav Markelov was a well-known Russian lawyer who represented journalists and human rights activists persecuted by the Kremlin. He defended Elza Kungayeva, a young Chechen woman who was brutally murdered by the Russian colonel Yuri Budanov and also the journalist Anna Politkovskaya. In 2009 he was shot to death several days after he announced that he would appeal Budanov’s release.
Critical of the Krmlin, oligarch Nikolai Glushkov was found dead in his London home in 2018 with signs pointing to murder by strangulation. The businessman, who had been deputy director of one of the largest Russian airlines, had to flee the country after revealing that the airline had supported international espionage operations.
He has not been the only oligarch who has faced Putin and ended up dead. Boris Berezovsky, one of the biggest magnates in the communication sector, had to go into exile in London after having shown himself with the regime. There, in his house in the British capital, his body was found. His death has always been shrouded in mystery since the official account pointed to suicide, something that has always been questioned by the Russian opposition.
Oppositionist Alexei Navalny has just been sentenced to another 19 years in prison. Before being arrested, in 2020, was poisoned with Novichok nerve agent, the same one that was used to try to kill Sergei Skripal and his daughter. Navalny managed to survive after receiving medical treatment in Germany.