Putin Makes it hard on his Defenders

Early Saturday morning, unknown gunman murdered Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov. Nemtsov, a vocal opponent of Putin, planned to speak at an anti-Putin rally on Saturday. Putin had previously castigated his opposition as traitors and fifth columnists. Nemtsov also claimed to have proof that Russian soldiers were fighting in eastern Ukraine. Given this, Putin would be the obvious suspect in Nemtsov’s death, but there are a number of alternate theories. In the past, I’ve defended Putin, but if he ordered his opposition murdered, then he’s gone well beyond defending. After the chaos of the Yeltsin years, Russia desperately needed order. Putin’s economic policies, aided by high commodity prices, brought Russia out of its economic death spiral, and he deserves credit for it. Also, the West made a number of mistakes with regards to Russia -- aggressively lecturing Russia over gay rights and expanding NATO into the Baltics come to mind. Both of these fueled...(Read Full Post)