Who killed Putin critic Babchenko?
The Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko, a known critic of the Kremlin, was shot dead in Kiev on Tuesday. Formerly a soldier in the Chechen war, Babchenko worked as a war reporter and opposed Russian intervention in Ukraine. Commentators examine the motives behind the murder.
This could happen to any Russian citizen
Babchenko is an arbitrary victim, pro-government political scientist Taras Beresovez writes in Obozrevatel:
“The Ukrainian secret service had reliable information about an imminent terror attack in the capital. ... But because the domestic security service SBU and the federal police were prepared, the Russian secret service wasn't able to carry out what it had planned. ... Very probably it then randomly picked Babchenko as a victim - one Russian migrant among many, so to speak, and a well-known figure from the anti-Putin opposition. ... That in turn means that any other Russian citizen who corresponds to these criteria could have been targeted. Because there was no particular reason to kill Babchenko of all people.”
Always the same excuses from the Kremlin
Russia's denials that official Moscow had anything to do with the murder are not convincing, writes investigative journalist Oleg Kashin in Republic:
“The official Russian spokespersons have long since had a first-aid box of arguments at the ready for whenever Russia is accused of a new crime. ... Now that they are repeating these arguments one after another, it's like a generous gift to those who already suspected that Putin is behind every murder. Advice of this kind is pointless, but still: if Russia's representatives want to be trusted by those who listen to them, they should perhaps think about reviewing the contents of their first-aid box and putting together a new line of defence for such cases.”