Diplomatic relations with Russia have always been difficult and tense, to say the least. The current president, Vladimir Putin has been controlling his position as head of the state fiercely over the past years. In order to maintain such a position, certain things must happen and certain people must be dealt with.
A recent British investigation linked Vladimir Putin to the death of Alexander Litvinenko, which happened in 2006. Overwhelming evidence points out that he either commanded or at least approved poisoning Litvinenko with polonium-210, a highly radioactive substance.
Trails of polonium where found all over London, at his hotel, restaurant and on the plane seat from his flight from Moscow to London. Andrei Lugovoj, a former KGB bodyguard, and Dmitry Kovtun, a former Soviet army officer, where accused of slipping the radioactive substance into the deceased’s tea.
However Putin denied extradition and appointed Lugovoj to the lower house parliament or the State Duma, giving him immunity to prosecution. This example of political terrorism was unveiled only because it happened in London and not on Russian territory.
This most recent event comes in addition to the assassinations of journalists and opposition leaders at the school in Beslan in 2004 and the sieges of Moscow’s Dubrovka Theater from 2002. Before that we had the apartment bombings from 1999 that initially brought Putin to power.
The first post-Soviet political assassination took place at the Ostankino television tower in 1993. Boris Yeltsin killed 46 unarmed pro-parliament protesters and wounded 124 and then attacked the parliament building. He then abolished the Russian parliament and introduced a presidency with dictatorial powers. Next he started the Chechen war in 1994 and almost ruined the country and its economy through corruption.
The second Chechen war that started in 1999 was sparked by some apartment bombings that claimed 300 lives. This series of events ultimately led to Vladimir Putin winning the presidency. Afterwards, an unexploded bomb was found and the person who planted it turned out to be an agent of Russia’s intelligence agency, the FSB. Duma deputies Sergei Yushenkov and Yuri Shchekochikhin, investigative reporter Anna Politkovskaya, and Alexander Litvinenko all tried investigating the apartment bombings and all of them wound up dead.
Consequent events at the Dubrovka theater and Beslan school were even worse. In each case over a thousand hostages were seized by Chechen terrorist. Instead of negotiating, Putin killed the terrorists, together with 318 hostages, of which 186 were children.
Former deputy prime minister Boris Nemtsov was the latest political figure to lead the opposition against Putin. He was found murdered on the Mosvoretsky Bridge, opposite the Kremlin, on the 27th of February 2015. The location is under 24h surveillance of Putin’s personal guard and the State Duma refused to conduct an investigation.
In light of the recent events in the Middle East, it is very important to not overlook such information. Russia is one of the key players involved in the ISIS conflict. As the situation is escalating in the Middle East and Europe, international relationships will become tenser. Since the whole scenery is so volatile, it would be easy for one of the players involved to spark a large scale conflict. This could very well affect all the countries involved, including the U.S. and could lead to a WW III. We’ve seen it happen in the past in similar situations. It’s no point in denying it; the best thing would be to prepare for it.
Do you think Russia is more threatening to our national security than ISIS? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.