Cheat-Seeking Missles

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

New Stuff On Death Of Latest Putin Foe

Ivan Safronov, the smiling guy on the right, is the latest opponent of the Putin regime to meet an untimely and questionable death. He died last Friday in a mysterious fall from the fifth floor of his apartment building.

He lives on the third floor.

For those who missed the earlier reports, here's a good background story. Basically, according to the Moscow Times, the ever more notorious FSB -- the Federal Security Bureau, which follows closely in the KGB's footprints -- was not happy with Safronov's reporting on sensitive weapons systems. Safronov was a retired Colonel assigned to Russia's Strategic Missile Forces, so he had a lot of savvy, extensive connections and a pretty highly tuned BS-sniffer.

Perusing Nexis today I found an article in the Russian publication Defense & Security that raised a killer question or two in somewhat broken English:
According to investigators, a day later he committed suicide. [sic] This meant that the clever, joyful and successful journalist, 50 years old, a colonel, did not even point a pistol at his temple but ascended to the fifth floor and jumped down. He did not go to the tenth or twelfth floor of any neighboring house to ensure instant death, but went instead to the fifth floor to have a torturous death from fractures.
Seem a bit odd to you? Safronov had just returned from an arms sale expo in Abu Dhabi, a place rife with shady deals and questionable transactions.

I wonder what kind of weapons deals the Russians had made at the expo, what Safronov knew about the deal, and who knew what Safronov knew.

It's getting tougher and tougher to be a Putin critic -- or even a decent, hard-working reporter -- in Putin's Russia.

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