Monday, March 13, 2017
Questions continue to surround the role Russia may have played in President Trump's election last fall, and about the president's professed admiration for Vladimir Putin's skills as a strong leader. What the president doesn't talk about is the unfortunate fate that stalks some of Putin's most prominent critics. They have been victims of unsolved shootings, suspicious suicides and poisonings. Tonight, the story of one of them. Vladimir Kara-Murza was an opposition activist, on the front lines, protesting Putin's policies, organizing demonstrations and town hall meetings. He knew he was on a dangerous mission. When we met him last year, he told us that one day in May 2015, he learned just how dangerous.
Vladimir Kara-Murza: I was in a work meeting with my colleagues in Moscow, when I suddenly started to feel really sick. And I went, within about 20 minutes, from feeling completely normal to feeling like a very sick man. Then I don't remember anything for the next month.
In recent years quite a few of Putin's enemies have perished by swallowing things they shouldn't have. In 2006, Russian-spy-turned-Kremlin-critic Alexander Litvinenko drank tea laced with polonium-210.
Two years earlier the Ukrainian politician Viktor Yushchenko had somehow ingested dioxin. He survived but was disfigured.
But the list of those who've come to die unexpectedly after running afoul of Mr. Putin is long. Political opponents and human rights lawyers have been shot; rogue spies hunted down; overly inquisitive reporters have perished in mysterious plane crashes or by car bombs, by poison or gun-fire. Journalist reporter Anna Politkovskaya was poisoned and shot.
Then there are enemies who kill themselves, one by hanging, one by stabbing himself to death with two knives, and one by tying himself to a chair and jumping into a swimming pool.
Some of Putin's opponents are in prison, others forced out of the country like Mikhail Khodorkovsky, probably Putin's most famous living critic.
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