The Questionable Vladimir Putin (Part 1)


It seems fashionable these days to speak well of Vladimir Putin. Is this the right political course of action? Why does Vladimir Putin raise concerns for so many people? Our next series of blog posts will be devoted to detailing the more unsavory actions of Vladimir Putin. I suspect you will think Vladimir Putin is a man of questionable character at the end of this series of posts.

Bombings of Moscow, Buinaksk, and Volgodonsk

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One of the most egregious charges against Vladimir Putin has to do with the bombings of apartments in Moscow, Buinaksk, and Volgodonsk. The bombings were used as a pretext for the second Chechen war.

In September 1999 apartments in Moscow, Buinaksk, and Volgodonsk were bombed and the attacks were attributed to Chechen rebels. Putin was head of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB ) at the time. Putin responded forcefully by vowing revenge against those who committed the bombings. His response to the bombings catapulted his reputation and allowed him to ascend to the presidency.

The official Russian narrative says that the bombings were carried out by Achemez Gochiyaev.

The Evidence

Cracks in the official story began to emerge as more evidence came to light. Remember, Boris Yeltsin was president and Putin was head of the FSB at the time. Yeltsin’ administration was in disrepute. Yeltsin fell into alcoholism and monetary corruption allegations were hovering over the administration. One of Yeltsin’s close associates, Boris Berezovsky was under investigation for embezzlement and Yeltsin’s daughters were said to have money stashed in Switzerland .

How do you get the country to place you in their good graces? Well, orchestrate a terrorist attack, of course. In June of 1999 Jan Blomgren of the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet and Giulietto Chiesa, a Moscow correspondent for the Italian newspaper La Stampa, reported that there was going to be an act of “state terrorism.” To be clear, they suggested that Russia would attack its own people as a political calculation.

David Satter is a journalist and an expert on Russia. He is the also a fellow of the John Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. Satter rejects the official narrative and says that the bombings were carried out by the FSB where Putin was head. We will quote Satter’s evidence :

1. The explosive used in the four bombings was hexogen, which is used for topping off a new generation of Russian artillery shells.
2. Hexogen is produced in only two factories in Russia, both of which are tightly guarded by the FSB.
3. More disturbing, FSB agents were actually caught planting a bomb in the basement of a fifth building in the city of Ryazan. After they were arrested by local authorities, Nikolai Patrushev, the head of the FSB, offered the bizarre explanation that the bomb had been planted by the FSB as part of a training exercise to test the residents’ “vigilance.”

Mysteriously, those who tried to investigate the bombings were killed. Sergei Yushenkov, Yuri Shchekochikhin, Anna Politkovskaya, and Alexander Litvinenko are no longer with us. They all investigated the bombings and they were all murdered between 2003 and 2006.

All of this evidence shows that Putin was at least complicit in his duties. As Satter puts it, “All available evidence points to Putin’s complicity in the 1999 apartment-building bombings in Russia.”

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