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Back In The USSR

Via MSNBC, an Associated Press report on Ivan Safronov’s death: Russia opens inquest into reporter’s death

A journalist who fell to his death from a fifth-story window had received threats while gathering material for a report claiming Russia planned to provide sophisticated weapons to Syria and Iran, his newspaper said Tuesday.

Prosecutors have opened an inquest into the death of Ivan Safronov, a military affairs writer for the daily Kommersant who died Friday in what some media said could have been murder.

Kommersant reported that Safronov told his editors he would write a story about Russian plans to sell weapons to Iran and Syria via Belarus, but they said he had not yet submitted the article.

In the old days the transaction would have gone through Bulgaria, but now they use Belarus because Aleksandr Lukashenko needs to pay his bill for Russian natural gas.

It’s a pretty interesting shopping list: MiG-29 and Su-30 fighters, Iskander [SS-26 Stone] surface-to-surface missiles, S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems, and the Pantsyr-S1 missile/cannon close support anti-aircraft defense systems. The anti-aircraft systems are top shelf and pose a real problem for an attacking air force. The aircraft and Iskander systems are targets and a waste of money against either the US or Israel, unless the intention is to divert resources.

Putin has transferred his belief system from Karl Marx to Gordon Gekko, so he will sell weapons to anyone with cash.

Like Henry II of England, he doesn’t have to order people to be eliminated, it just happens. Of course, this might be the result of the people who talked to Safronov in the UAE realizing they should have kept their mouths shut, and removed a potential obstacle to their career advancement.


1 Karen { 03.07.07 at 8:36 am }

Like Who’d *believe* (for even a minute) that anyone would keep a “Window Open” to “accidentally fall out of” during a Russian Winter?

Me thinks this reporter was too close to the revealing the truth for someone’s comfort.

2 Bryan { 03.07.07 at 9:53 am }

He could have also had an apartment that someone wanted.

We will probably have to wait to see which of the typed suicide notes the court “accepts.” There are often several to choose from, but no typewriter in the apartment.