Now, however, the current focal point of this particular form of disposing of one’s critics has migrated east to Russia. Vladimir Putin has a peculiar penchant for defenestrating Russians who oppose him. His latest such victim is Marina Yankina, a senior Russian defense official who got the heave-ho from the 16th floor of a St. Petersburg tower on February 15. Her crime? Gently criticizing the Kremlin for its Ukraine misadventure.
It’s not only Russian government officials who have plummeted from on high during Putin’s dictatorship. Opposition leaders, journalists and even Putin-friendly oligarchs who have gone only slightly astray have suffered the same fate. And a Putin faultfinder does not even have to reside in Russia to risk a plunge to the concrete. One of the more recent Putin victims, a sausage company executive, whose “crime” was waxing less than enthusiastic about Vlad’s effort to impale Ukraine, found himself involuntarily airborne during a visit to India. This happened only two days after his traveling companion did his own deep dive from the same hotel. The lesson should have been clear: demand rooms on the first floor.
Putin’s impunity even extends as far away as Washington, DC and encompasses non-Russians as well. Last August, a Latvian Putin critic tumbled out the window of his DC apartment a mile from the White House.
And, if a window is unavailable, a flight of stairs does just as well. Not long ago, a Russian real estate mogul met his end this way in France.
So, when the world gets around to bringing Vladimir Putin to account for his illegal war with its thousands of human rights atrocities committed against Ukrainian citizens, it would be a good idea to throw in the many murders for which he is responsible. This is assuming that prosecutors can find enough paper to contain their bill of particulars.
This is the man that Comrade Donald J. Trump persists in praising because this is what Russian assets do. Trump is at least correct in one respect: If he were still president, Putin would never have attacked Ukraine. Trump would have led the way to Kyiv strewing flowers all along Putin’s path.
Moreover, the man who absolved Saudi Prince Mohamed bin Salman of responsibility for the death and dismemberment of Jamal Khashoggi would be first in line to proclaim Putin’s innocence in the defenestrations and other assorted slaughters of innocents. That is what aspiring autocrats do.
Had Trump succeeded in erecting a Trump Tower Moscow, one can only imagine the number of bodies that would have taken flight from its upper-floor windows.
February 24, 2023