The diabolical professional sophistication evident in the poisoning of
Alexander Litvinenko makes it absolutely clear that this was not the
work of amateurs.
This leaves only two logical possibilities: journalist Anna
Politkovskaya and Alexander Litvinenko were flagrantly murdered in the
center of Moscow and in the center of London for purposes of
intimidation by the Russian intelligence services on orders of the
president of Russia, or they were "liquidated" by breakaway groups
within the intelligence services that are engaged in a merciless power
struggle within the Kremlin.
If it is the first case, fascism has already triumphed; the situation
portrayed in Vladimir Sorokin's novel, "Day of the Oprichnik," is
already here; and all of us for whom such a regime is ethically
unacceptable and aesthetically repugnant are going to be killed with
varying degrees of brutality no matter what we now do or say.
So let us look at the second possibility, no matter how improbable it
may seem. This scenario suggests that Chekist fascism is barging its way
to power and that the only obstacle in its path is a president who does
not want to wreck the Russian constitution and find himself marooned
indefinitely in the Kremlin as its puppet.
It would be entirely reasonable to comment that, even so, President
Vladimir Putin bears moral and political responsibility for the
situation that has developed, and to scornfully denounce those gangsters
fighting it out in the Kremlin that have been maddened by all the oil
and gas billions they have gotten their hands on. That would oblige us
to revert to scenario No. 1.
However, it seems that there is still a chance to save our country. But
for this we will need an exceptionally broad coalition of politically
active citizens rallying to the defense of the present constitution. We
will also need a legally elected president who enjoys the trust of the
majority of the Russian population.
We will need something else: The political will of the president himself
and his readiness to put his trust in this coalition and in the belief
that the Russian people have in him. Only if he will do that has he any
prospect of facing down forces that he is evidently no longer able to
control within the top-down structure of the "administrative vertical"
that he and his ever-obliging political advisers have created.
By a broad coalition I mean more than those parties that are
traditionally classed as "democratic" and "liberal" and that have
representatives in the Citizens' Congress; more even than the
oppositional parties on the left. In today's highly volatile situation,
the success of an anti-fascist coalition requires also the participation
of a significant section of the "party of government""people who are
loyal to Vladimir Putin but who are not prepared to accept that the
intelligence services should be unaccountable and unchallengeable. It
requires the involvement of a business community that wants to be free
to work in Russia and not constantly to feel under threat. It needs to
include those civil servants in the bureaucracy who retain a sense of
responsibility for the welfare of the state, as well as many leading
figures in the mass media.
The viewpoint of people like these was persuasively articulated about a
year ago in the renowned "Letter to the Congress" signed by18 prominent
members of the ruling United Russia party. They specifically warned at
that time that "the security ministries and services are becoming an
independent political force." The letter was hushed up, and its authors
and their like-minded colleagues opted for a behind-the-scenes struggle
rather than defending their political views in public. They redirected
their energies into the dead-end policy of trying to come up with a
It should be cl