Aleksei Devotchenko, a well known Russian actor, was found dead Wednesday in his Moscow apartment. He was 49 years old.
He was one of the public faces of anti-Kremlin protests in 2011, after elections that millions of Russians believed were stolen by Putin's party. In that year, he wrote "I am sick of this empire-state, with its lies, conspiracy of silence, legitimized theft, bribe-taking and all its other virtues."
This February, acknowledging that the inevitable doom of the Putin regime would not come soon, be wrote on his blog, "The thaw is over. We are looking forward to a long winter."
I don't know how he died, and the world may never learn.
Reportedly, at various times, Russian officials have said about his death:
a. they suspected his death was of a "criminal nature"
b. there were no signs of violent death
c. he may have died of a heart attack
d. he was found in a pool of his own blood after injuring himself while drunk
Hmmm. What does that suggest to you blokes?
His friend and colleague Stanislav Sadalsky wrote that according to his information, Devotchenko had been murdered.
Putin's Russia has some history of his most vocal critics meeting violent death.
Possibly, his death was some sad misadventure unrelated to his participation in protest.
Or possibly, he was murdered by his state, or destroyed himself in despair over the tragedy that has overtaken his country.
If you follow headlines from Russia, you may have noticed the death some days ago, in Moscow, of Christophe de Margerie, who was the chief to Total SA.
Total, based in France, is one of the world's 6 leading oil companies.
de Margerie was outstanding in that he was one of the most pro-Russian business leaders in the West, and probably the most if Germany is excluded. He courted controversy in the last months of his life by cozying up to Russian leaders as their popularity in Europe was falling.
Though even he, in the last hours of his life, was trying to warn the Russian government from continuing their insanity: it's bad for business.
He died at Vnukovo Airport, when his private jet collided with a snowplow that was in the process of clearing the runway.
The driver of the snowplow is now in the criminal justice system, having been accused of drunkenness at the time of the fatal collision.
But those who understand aviation (Martin!) will be aware that the tower controllers also have responsibility in such an accident: it's their job to coordinate all runway and taxiway movement, whether by aircraft or ground vehicles like the snowplow.
Now, an official from the Interior Ministry, which has responsibility to investigate legal implications of this accident, has said that there are reasons to believe that the tower controllers were also drunk.
It is only thanks to good fortune, that it was a private jet and not an airliner full of people that was lost.
So, here we have a possible (not confirmed!) scenario: drunken air traffic controllers dispatching a drunken equipment operator, in conditions where fog limited visibility to about 1000 feet. Russia: a Class Act.
I saw a TV program on PBS about how minorities are eliminated in Russia. Quite a few videos of people being shot point blank and dumped into graves. There were people in the Government behind the groups doing the killing.
Here is a video of Metro in Moscow. They posted it to show the Russian dislike of foreigners,,, but it is dated Oct 2013! I watched 4 mins out of 16 and only could understand the word Russia.
If this action is being carried out against foreigners,,, it doesnít really matter why or where!
ďMass violence against foreigners in Russia
Hundreds of masked Russians blocked subway exits, monitoring if any non-Russians were coming out. A group of non-Russians was caught by such people on a train as well, and brutally beaten. They shouted 'kill them, kill them'. And: 'Power to Russians'. The Russian police could not do anything to protect the victims. These kinds of events take place in Russian cities on a daily basis. Foreigners and especially Westerners are not welcome.Ē
 In a ranking of the world's five largest organized crime groups (by annual gross income), only one is Russian! And they came in a number two... this is really a black eye for Russia's reputation. Maybe it's some little consolation, that Russia beat out Italy's two largest mafia gangs, and Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel.
 But a sweet win for Russia: although the Russian Federation has only 1/2 percent of the world's population, it consumes 12% of the world's heroin!!! That's right, per-capita heroin use in Russia is 24 times that of the rest of the world!
A piece by Masha Gessen, a perceptive commentator with roots in both Russia and the USA.
Gessen explains that at the very beginning of his regime (back in 2000), Putin told the oligarchs that they could keep most of their wealth, by giving up all political power. [She doesn't mention that he summoned many of Russia's wealthiest businessmen to a meeting at Stalin's dacha -- symbolism they could not fail to understand.]
Putin harshly punished those few oligarchs who dared to stray from his line. In his gangland empire, their fortunes can be stolen in a heartbeat.
Those in the West who have been hoping that the oligarchs will rise up against Putin will be disappointed, according to Gessen.
Even after the lion had attacked the clown, he still continued to provoke it. Idiot people. They all deserve everything they get from wild animals forced to do pointless silly tricks for human amusement. They belong in an African jungle; not captive in Lviv city centre. Their teeth and claws must have been extracted because it seems impossible anyone could escape three attacks unharmed.
Mauling of the cruel jailers - with teeth and claws in place. That really would be justified amusement.
Most people do not know the difference between Soviet Union or FSU countries, they are synonymous with Russia today and in years past. Many people also think that lions and tigers are indigenous to jungles in Africa. However you will find lions sleeping on the Atlantic beaches of Africa.
BORIS NEMTSOV, FAMOUS RUSSIAN CRITIC OF PUTIN, ASSASSINATED NEAR MOSCOW KREMLIN
News reports from within the past hour:
Nemtsov, aged 55, was walking on the Bolshoi Kammeny Most (Big Stone Bridge) roughly 1 km from Red Square, when at he was felled by bullets from a passing car. At least seven shots were reported by witnesses.
Nemtsov was a vice premier under Boris Yeltsin, the first president of the Russian Federation. For the past 12 years, he has been an outspoken critic of Putin's policies, including graft and other forms of corruption, and Putin's heavy interference in Ukraine.
In two days, Nemtsov (leader of the People's Freedom Party) was going to lead a mass rally against Putin's contribution the Russia's economic crisis, and participation in the war raging in Ukraine.
Even though I think about the moral disease and rot in Russia on a daily basis, I am shocked by this news.
Yet another eerie parallel to Germany in the 1930s.
Those millions of Russians who despise what Putin is doing to their country, must be near despair.