Leading challengers to Putin’s re-election are quietly disappearing, with murder investigations being shut down by the Kremlin, and the state media keeping mum. Putin has already silenced and nationalized the media, secretely shot opposition politicians in cold blood, and all but assumed his former KGB role. Anyone doubting that Putin is capable of any of these things should remember that the KGB (now FSB) had no qualms about killing 30 million people in the gulags, by starvation, and outright — and no reason to behave now, especially now that it firmly controls the media. The Russians themselves are united in supporting a return of dictatorship, and their opposition to liberal (as in pro-liberty) candidates .
Despite the dark path to a return of Soviet-era tyranny, there remain major differences between today’s Russia and the Soviets: with communism discredited worldwide, the new tyrants lack an ideology to excuse their power grab, and have no “noble experiment” they can use to solicit sanction and aid from the rest of the world. Not that the Russians arren’t eager to accept a new religion – here are the current “science” headlines on the Pravda website, the former official Party paper:
“A Girl with an X-ray vision”
“Remedy for Evil”
“Soviet Army fought UFOs”
“Are Dragons for real?”
For more, I highly recommend visiting the Center for the Future of Russia.
Update: Rybkin says he was drugged and kidnapped.