Vladimir Putin accuses The West of ‘starting the war’
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Russian oligarchs, generals and other high-profile figures have been taken out by Russian President Vladimir Putin as he tries to quash opposition to his invasion of Ukraine, experts claim. For years, Putin has been challenged by only a handful of opponents, allowing him to enjoy complete control over Russia. But after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine got off to a disastrous start in the first half of 2022 ultra-nationalist figures began expressing their frustration.
Opponents of the war also challenged the Kremlin. Now,The Sun reports that 39 members of the Russian elite have mysteriously died or gone missing.
One example is Sergey Grishin – known as ‘Scarface’, and the oligarch who sold his Californian mansion to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
He died recently from sepsis after criticising Putin.
Grishin once asked former President Donald Trump for help, saying: “I want to be safe.
“I am kind of under fire right now by the criminal world of Russia…by the top government officials of Russia, too.”
Another man to suffer an unfortunate fate was Russian scientist Andrey Botikov – who created the ‘Sputnik V’ vaccine.
He was strangled with a belt in his apartment last week.
Jon Sweet, a retired US Army Military Intelligence Officer, and Mark Toth, a national security analyst, both told The Sun that Putin is killing his opponents or anyone he deems a threat to his power.
They compared Putin’s violent streak to a “modern-day FSB version of Murder Inc.”
Mruder Inc. was an organised crime group in the US that was accused of killing 1,000 people in the 1930s.
Mr Sweet said: “Anyone seen as a potential threat seems to have an attraction to an open window.”
Meanwhile, Professor Anthony Glees, an intelligence expert from the University of Buckingham, added that the murder of Putin’s enemies is just “course of conduct” for the Russian President.
He added: “There are two kinds of victim, as far as we can tell: those who are opposed to Putin’s Ukraine policies, frequently involved in big Russian corporations.
“And those who Putin believes have double-crossed him, oligarchs from the world of business who have taken the money but not done his bidding, whether kept cash not meant for them, or opposed him politically, or perhaps both.
“The big question for analysts is whether these killings are ‘political’ murders of political opponents who might be plotting to get rid of Putin, or ‘mafia’ killings designed to ‘encourage’ those who have taken Putin’s gold not to stray, to understand that they were given shed loads of money – which actually belongs not to Putin but the people of Russia – to do as Putin orders, not to spend on themselves.
“In my opinion, the two things are the same: Russia under Putin has become a state where political opponents can and will be killed and Russia under Putin is a mafia state, a network of foul criminals who believe that if they don’t hang together, they will ultimately hang separately.
“Death is always there to remind Putin’s cronies of their duties.”
The death of Colonel Vadim Boyko, one of Putin’s cronies, also baffled Russia watchers.
Boyko was found dead in his apartment last November. He had multiple bullet wounds when a junior officer found him at the Makarov Pacific Higher Naval School in the eastern city of Vladivostok.
Pavel Antov and his friend Vladimir Budanov died just days apart in the same Indian hotel last year.
Local lawmaker Antov had criticised the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
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Russia authorities said Antov had fallen from his hotel window while Budanov had suffered a stroke.
Security analyst Mr Toth discussed the soaring number of deaths among the Russian elite since the start of 2022.
He said: “The Kremlin, absolutely, is the connective tissue behind Putin’s modern-day FSB version of Murder, Inc. when it comes to the propensity for Russia’s elite ‘falling’ out of windows, conveniently dying of ‘heart attacks’, or committing ‘suicide’.
“We can’t know exactly how many, but most of these deaths are not people dying from natural causes or self-harm.
“Lightning can strike twice in the same place, but in Russia, it has struck upwards of 35 times.
“Why are we sure it is the FSB?
“Because while there is nothing ‘quiet’ about the manner in which Russia’s scientists, key bureaucrats, oligarchs, and generals are dying, once disposed of, their cases quickly go as cold as a Russian winter.
“In other words, each in their own way, is intended as very loud messaging directed at some level of Putin’s mafia cartel, but the silence that follows these assassinations is indicative of just how expertly they are planned and executed.”
He added: “The Kremlin wants the Russian public to know each of these men has died, but they don’t want Putin fingered for it – at least openly.
“Putin wants and needs his death sentences to be served cold.
“He does not want his victims to see it coming. Rather, Putin uses the fear that it may come at any time as a means of suppressing dissent.
“Putin’s game, therefore, is different from most mafia structures. He is, in effect, willing to murder his way down to get to the men he wants in charge.
“By making murder a one-way street that goes in the opposite direction of the Kremlin, Putin insulates himself.”
Professor Glees compared Putin’s ruthless streak to that of Adolf Hitler in the 1930s and 1940s.
He said: “Was Germany prior to Hitler’s death ‘stable’? Sadly, yes.
“Putin knows this and will take heart from it: after all, Hitler was defeated by the military might of his enemies, not by the hand of his own people who remained loyal to the last.
“In other words, his mafiosi conduct, killing and threatening, may seem to him not a sign of instability but proof that he can do what he wants with Russia.
“It is this that makes him so dangerous.”
The experts concluded that it will be “hard to get rid of Putin” and that “no one part of his mafia-like cartel is strong enough to get rid of him.”
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