HOME     SOCHI 2014     SOCHI 2014 FOLLOW-UP

Lubomyr Prytulak
Posted on www.xoxol.org/putin/sochi-2014.html 07-Jan-2014 01:03pm PST, last revised 10-May-2014 09:29am PST


However painful, the magnitude of the debacle must be faced:

Olympic medals Vancouver 2010, showing Russia in 11th place

Russia at the 2010 Winter Olympics

The 3 gold medals was the worst ever result for Russia since competing after the breakup of the Soviet Union, while the 15 total medals were the country's second lowest output after the 2002 Winter Games.  This was seen as a national humiliation considering that Russia would host the next Winter Games at Sochi.


And all the greater humiliation for Russia when one considers how small some of the countries are that beat us: the population of Russia outnumbers the population of Norway 30 to 1, of Switzerland 18 to 1, of Austria 17 to 1, of Sweden 16 to 1, of Netherlands 8 to 1, and so on.  And Canada, trying extra hard because it was the host of the 2010 Olympics, wins the most golds even though Russia's population outnumbers Canada's 4 to 1.

The root of the problem seemed to be that our officials in charge of athlete preparedness had been assigned their positions on the basis of cronyism, a staffing methodology guaranteed to produce incompetence.  However, I have completely corrected this error by putting Alexander Zhukov in charge, someone I know can start doing the job right for a change:

Olympics-Deputy Prime Minister Zhukov elected Russian Olympic chief
May 20, 2010, 3:22 p.m. | Interfax-Ukraine

MOSCOW, May 20 (Reuters) — Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov was elected president of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) on Thursday after being endorsed by the Kremlin hierarchy.

He succeeds Leonid Tyagachyov, who resigned as ROC chief on March 3, two days after President Dmitry Medvedev ordered top sports officials to quit or be fired following the country's worst ever showing at February's Vancouver Winter Olympics.

Zhukov, a close ally of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, was the only candidate for the post after being nominated last month following a high-level meeting in the Kremlin.  [...]


But the job proves to be more difficult than could have been expected, and it may be a while yet before Zhukov gets his bearings:

Christain Science Monitor logo
Vancouver Olympics: Embarrassed Russia looks to 2014 Sochi Olympics
Russia's dismal showing at the Vancouver Olympics may be the least of the Kremlin's worries as allegations of corruption mar preparations for the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
By Fred Weir, Correspondent MARCH 1, 2010


Sochi — no snow, lots of corruption

"It would be very hard to find a place in Russia that has no snow in the wintertime, but that's just what Putin did," says Boris Nemtsov, a former deputy prime minister, Sochi native and coauthor of a critical report on the Olympic preparations around Sochi.

"Sochi is the warmest place in Russia, with no infrastructure, no experience in winter sports — it doesn't even have a hockey team — and many other problems," he says.  Among those he lists corruption, which he says has reached Olympian heights amid the scramble for the kind of gold that comes from construction contracts.  [...]

The $130-million road

But Mr. Nemtsov claims that a road being built along the left bank of the Mzymta River, to connect the mountaintop sports venue of Krasnaya Polyana with the seaside Olympic center, will be the world's most expensive road.

"This road is costing $130 million per kilometer to build," he says.  "That's about 50 times the average cost of a highway in the United States and an indication of how utterly corrupt these preparations around Sochi have become."

Last year Nemtsov, a cochair of the opposition Solidarnost movement, stood as a candidate in Sochi mayoral elections that were won overwhelmingly by the Kremlin-backed favorite.  Many critics at the time decried what they called a stage-managed election marked by fraud, suppression of media freedom, and the massive deployment of official resources to ensure the desired result.  [...]

Nemtsov argues that it might be wiser to consider holding the Games in Moscow, where plenty of Olympic-quality facilities and infrastructure already exist, rather than continuing the rapid and allegedly heedless development of Sochi.  But he says that the political reputation of Vladimir Putin has become so intertwined with the Sochi venue that no discussion of alternatives is possible.

"Putin believes that this is his personal project.  He's very proud that he brought the Winter Games home for Sochi, and this will be the enduring legacy of himself and his presidency," says Nemtsov.

"So, he's ready to spend unlimited funds, and take any kind of environmental risks, to make it happen."  [...]


It is estimated that the games will cost more than $50 billion, five times more than the initial estimates of Olympic Committee and more than double the cost of previous London Games.  Winter Olympic Games in Sochi will therefore be the most expensive Olympics in history.


The pressure on me to raise Russia to first place is enormous.  If host Canada could stand first in Vancouver 2010, then host Russia should be able to stand first in Sochi 2014, the expectation being all the stronger because Russia has four times the population of Canada, and because Russia is vastly outspending Canada on preparation, and because I have given the project my personal backing and regard it as the enduring legacy of my presidency.

I might add, incidentally, that the humiliation that Russia has been enduring of late goes beyond Olympic performance, and in fact has a thousand manifestations, some seemingly small, but nevertheless keenly felt when they occur.  For example, look at the G8 photo below, and tell me what you see.  What you see is Russia being humiliated for the thousandth time.  Believe me, I was there, and I felt it like a slap in the face.  Like a stab in the heart would be more accurate.  We were supposed to be marching abreast, but they deliberately shut me out, deliberately left me behind, knowing all the while that a photographer was recording their little joke.  And they're all laughing at my discomfit, Obama the loudest, I bet it was his idea.  Germany and England and the US shutting out Russia! — So, what else is new?  Like a fool, I'm trying to smile my way into their good graces, but that got me nowhere.  No more Mr Nice Guy is what I started thinking then and there, and is what I've been thinking ever since.

Vladimir Putin left behind during G8

That particular G8 meeting was one of the unhappiest events that I ever had the misfortune to suffer through.  Perhaps I will get a chance to say more about it later.


The rich Russian tradition of cheating in Olympic competition testifies to our intelligence and creativity and determination, and therefore is a source of pride among us, and an example to be imitated and expanded, and certainly a cause of much merriment and story-recounting.  My tears as I read the Barukh Hazan account below are tears not only of laughter at the confusion and frustration we caused our opponents, but also are tears of pride at Russian resourcefulness.  However, it might be better if such accounts were not as readily available over the Internet as they seem to be.  I thought I told Dmitry to warn Google that I'll kick them out of Russia unless they remove these particular pages from Google Books, and yet here they still are:

Olympic Sports and Propaganda Games: Moscow 1980
By Barukh Ḥazan

p. 183

thrower Yuriy Sedich throwing the hammer a distance of 81.80 meters, a new world and Olympic record.  Some also noticed that in doing so he clearly overstepped the throwing circle.  Austria's television on 4 August showed in slow motion the foul.  It also showed the Soviet referee, standing one meter away from Sedich, watching his foot overstepping the barrier, and nevertheless raising the white flag.  A successful attempt.  A new world record.  A gold medal.

Several Western reporters noticed that whenever Soviet javelin thrower Danis Kula was throwing, Soviet officials supervising the competitions opened the stadium gates behind Kula, thus creating a wind canal which helped him throw his javelin to 91.20 meters.  A new Olympic record.  Another gold medal.  Incidentally, the point of whether the stadium gates were actually opened and why gave rise to a heated dispute after the games.  The Soviet stand was that the gates had not been opened, and if they had, it was in order to admit trucks carrying supplies to the stadium.  This was also the position of Adrian Paulen, chairman of the Internal Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF), in an interview published in several East European newspapers, including Bratislava's Pravda of 1 August 1980.  Numerous Western journalists, however, maintained that the gates were indeed opened, and no trucks were seen in the area.

Australian triple jump athlete J. Campbell jumped 17.50 meters, some 15 centimeters more than Soviet jumper Jaak Uudmae, and enough to win the gold medal.  The referee raised the red flag.  The athlete's persistent request for explanation did not help him much.  There was no footprint over the line, so there could be no foul.  Later on it was explained that in the second step of his triple jump Campbell had ostensibly dragged his foot on the ground.  Red flag.  Another gold medal for the Soviet Union.

The Soviet public in Lenin Stadium was frequently hostile toward foreign competitors, particularly when a Soviet athlete looked as though he or she was on the verge of losing the gold medal.  This could also be observed in some of the team ball games.  But nowhere was it more obvious than in the case of the pole vault competition.  Everything possible was done to disturb Polish pole vaulter Wladislaw Kozakiewicz.  Yet despite the whistling, noise, and derogatory cries Kozakiewicz vaulted to a new world and Olympic record.  Triumphantly he made the only too well known Italian gesture with his arms, the continental equivalent of "up yours..." and turned to all four directions of the stadium to make sure that there was no misunderstanding.  This of course did not prevent the Soviet press and most of the East European press from endlessly praising the fairness and friendliness of the Soviet public.

Soviet diver Aleksandr Portnov had a comfortable points lead when disaster struck and he botched a dive, ending up almost on his back.

p. 184

Shock, confusion.  No gold medal?  No way.  The referees decided that Portnov had been disturbed by the Soviet(!) public, something which had affected his concentration.  Against all logic, fairness, and rules, he was permitted to repeat his dive.  This time it was perfect.  First place.  Another gold medal.

The most blatant injustice was done to Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci, the triple Olympic champion of Montreal.  She needed a 9.95 grade on the beam — one of her best areas — to become absolute Olympic champion again.  She did very well.  There was no doubt that she would get the (deserved) 9.95.  The jury deliberated for more than forty minutes.  No decision.  Yuriy Titov, Soviet president of the gymnasts federation, and Ellen Berger, G.D.R., head of the female technical commission of the international gymnasts, went to the jury.  After a heated discussion the jury complied with the dictate.  The Romanian head of the jury Maria Simonescu, refused to press the button which showed the score on the screen.  No problem; Kolog Nomus, the Soviet referee pressed it.  9.85.  The Soviet gymnast Davidova won.  Another gold medal.

On the following day, 25 July, the entire Romanian press was outraged.  Scinteia, the party organ, devoted 2,000 words to the event.  "A flagrant violation of sports ethics and the Olympic spirit," "fraud," "unfair verdict," "an Olympic title snatched from Nadia's hands" — these were only some of Scinteia's expressions.  Bucharest Romana Libera of 26 July joined in: "fraud," "injustice," "disregard of appeals," plus many other words describing Olympic injustice, lack of objectiveness, and so forth, embellished its pages.  [...]

Sovetskiy Sport of 4 August claimed that 9,292 drug tests were conducted during the games (Austria's Kurier of 10 August claims that only

p. 185

2,486 tests were conducted).  There was not even one single incidence of a positive test.  In other words, an Olympic gathering of nonusers.  This of course only meant that the testing systems were one step behind the science of doping.  So many of the G.D.R., U.S.S.R., and Bulgarian female athletes looked like sure contenders in the Miss Ana Bolica contest, so many of them displayed a physique and muscles resembling those of their countries' wrestlers and weightlifters, and so many of them had been banned in the past for using illegal drugs (the Bulgarian Totka Petrova and the Russian Olga Rukavishnikova, to mention only two) — that the entire show of negative tests looked ridiculous.

The gates of the stadium were alleged above to have been thrown open to create a tailwind to extend a Soviet javelin throw, but were also thrown open to tip the Polish pole-vaulter mentioned above off balance, which, along with the harassment by spectators, left him with a negative impression of Russians.  Hardy-har-har!  Who cares what a Polish pole-vaulter thinks!  My only regret is that we failed to get Kozakiewicz's medal nullified for his unsportsmanlike outburst:

Gold Medalist Wladislaw Kozakiewicz shows what he thinks of Russians Władysław Kozakiewicz Gives the Bras D'Honneur in 1980


Polish athlete Władysław Kozakiewicz had just won the gold medal in the pole vault when he shocked the world by giving the "bras d'honneur," or "arm of honor" to the Russian officials and fans for their attempts to throw him off his game in the competition.  [...]  [T]he hometown Russian fans in the stands had been acting unruly toward any competitor not wearing Soviet red.

The Russian officials had been doing the same in a different way — opening up stadium doors while Kozakiewicz was attempting his vaults so the wind would affect his performance.

And so my order has long gone out that every Russian involved in the Sochi 2014 Olympics should learn from, and improve upon, the sterling examples of our earlier cheating, recorded not only by Barukh Hazan as quoted above, but more importantly recorded in the minds of the many Russians who have participated over the years not only in Olympic games, but in all sporting events.  Our future cheating should strive to net more points than ever before, and yet should strive by its higher cunning to be less detectable than ever before.

And as became evident starting at the bottom of p. 184 of the Barukh Hazan article above, Russian reliance on chemicals to achieve a high medal count has always been massive, and for Sochi 2014 must not only be kept massive, but must be extended beyond all precedent.  Given that Russia is the host, we will be able to do the lion's share of the drug testing, and so we will be able to award the athletes the same diploma for drug-free performance that we awarded them in Moscow 1980.


Anyone who has watched the Godfather movies understands the pride that is felt by leadership which has acquired the power to kill, and understands as well the veneration which the public feels toward such leadership.

I talk like that to heighten morale among my Sochi agents, and I expand.  I tell them that Russia is destined for Great Empire.  I tell them that shedding blood for Empire is necessary and commonplace.  I tell them that Russian performance at Sochi helps expand Russian Empire — the better we do at Sochi, the more we are admired and loved, and the greater the atrocities the world will permit us to commit in our drive to regain Empire.

I actually bring newspaper clippings with me to my pep talks, newspaper clippings demonstrating that murder needs to be committed for Empire, and demonstrating more importantly that murder for the sake of Empire brings no punishment.  The world takes notice of Empire-justified murder one day, forgets it the next, and Empire expands apace, unstoppable because it is divinely preordained.

ARE YOU NOTICING A PATTERN HERE? cartoon shows PUTIN MUST GO protestors being killed off   Nineteen Russian journalists who died in the course of their professional work   Journalists who died in the course of their professional work (2000-2009)

The evidence of my Empire-justified murder campaign can be read in articles such as the following for which links are supplied, and from which only the title and a short quote are shown below:

Putin Gets Away with Murder
The Weekly Standard   23 Oct 2006   www.weeklystandard.com/~

On Vladimir Putin's 54th birthday, one of his fiercest domestic critics, the journalist Anna Politkovskaya, was shot to death in her apartment building in central Moscow.  She worked for the weekly Novaya Gazeta, Russia's last independent newspaper.  Its deputy editor was murdered a couple of years ago, and the killer was never found.

Two More Critics of Vladimir Putin Take Bullets in the Head
Washington Post   20 Jan 2009   www.washingtonpost.com/~

What is indisputable is that Russians live in a political climate in which those who criticize Mr. Putin or the human rights violations of his government can be murdered with impunity.

KREMLIN, INC.  Why are Vladimir Putin's opponents dying?
The New Yorker   29 Jan 2009   www.newyorker.com/~

Since 1999, when Vladimir Putin, a career K.G.B. officer, was, in effect, anointed as President by Boris Yeltsin, thirteen journalists have been murdered in Russia.

Truth is being murdered in Putin's bloody Russia
The Guardian   18 Dec 2011   www.theguardian.com/~

How many more, Mr Putin?  How long are we supposed to mourn fellow journalists who died trying to tell us, and their fellow Russians, what a slack, slimy, savage state you run?

The Putin Murders
La Russophobe   larussophobe.wordpress.com/~

As Russian (and Eastern European) history well demonstrates, it isn't always necessary to kill millions of people to frighten all the others: A few choice assassinations, in the right time and place, usually suffice.

Committee to protect journalists   cpj.org/~

56 Journalists Killed in Russia since 1992/Motive Confirmed
24 Journalists Killed in Russia since 1992/Motive Unconfirmed

List of journalists killed in Russia
Wikipedia      en.wikipedia.org/~

The dangers to journalists in Russia have been well known since the early 1990s but concern at the number of unsolved killings soared after Anna Politkovskaya's murder in Moscow on 7 October 2006.  While international monitors spoke of several dozen deaths, some sources within Russia talked of over two hundred fatalities.

And I am proud to add that I kill for Russia not only journalists, but politicians and political activists and businessmen as well, but which data is too voluminous for me to cite at the moment.

And more numerous than my murders are my assaults which fall short of killing, but which nevertheless impart the very grave message that the march of Empire is not to be obstructed.  Assaults such as the following:

  Journalist Mikhail Beketov fought graft and paid in blood
Russian Journalists, Fighting Graft, Pay in Blood
New York Times   17 May 2010   www.nytimes.com/~

Mikhail Beketov had been warned, but would not stop writing.  About dubious land deals.  Crooked loans.  Under-the-table hush money.  All evidence, he argued in his newspaper, of rampant corruption in this Moscow suburb.  [...]

"Last spring, I called for the resignation of the city's leadership," Mr. Beketov said in one of his final editorials.  "A few days later, my automobile was blown up.  What is next for me?"

Not long after, he was savagely beaten outside his home and left to bleed in the snow.  His fingers were bashed, and three later had to be amputated, as if his assailants had sought to make sure that he would never write another word.  He lost a leg.  Now 52, he is in a wheelchair, his brain so damaged that he cannot utter a simple sentence.

Anna Politkovskaya is one of the most prominent of the murders with which I am credited:

When the elevator opened on the ground floor, her killer was waiting.  He shot her four times — the first two bullets piercing her heart and lungs, the third shattering her shoulder, with a force that drove Politkovskaya back into the elevator.  He then administered what is referred to in Moscow, where contract killings have become routine, as the kontrolnyi vystrel — the control shot.  He fired a bullet into her head from inches away.  Then he dropped his weapon, a plastic 9-mm Makarov pistol whose serial number had been filed away, and slipped into the darkening afternoon.

Michael Specter, Kremlin, Inc. Why are Vladimir Putin's opponents dying?  The New Yorker, 29 Jan 2007     www.newyorker.com/~

Putin critic Anna Politkovskaya shot to death
Anna Politkovskaya

And here are the sorts of Anna Politkovskaya writings that left me no choice but to kill her:

Putin has, by chance, gotten his hands on enormous power and has used it to catastrophic effect.  I dislike him because he does not like people.  He despises us.  He sees us as a means to his ends, a means for the achievement and retention of personal power, no more than that.  Accordingly, he believes he can do anything he likes with us, play with us as he sees fit, destroy us as he sees fit.  We are nobody, while he whom chance has enabled to clamber to the top of the pile is today Tsar and God.  In Russia we have had leaders with this outlook before.  It led to tragedy, to bloodshed on a vast scale, to civil wars.  [...]  I want no more of that.

Anna Politkovskaya as quoted in Michael Specter, Kremlin, Inc.  Why are Vladimir Putin's opponents dying?  The New Yorker, 29 Jan 2007     www.newyorker.com/~

We are hurtling back into a Soviet abyss, into an information vacuum that spells death from our own ignorance.  All we have left is the internet, where information is still freely available.  For the rest, if you want to go on working as a journalist, it's total servility to Putin.  Otherwise, it can be death, the bullet, poison, or trial — whatever our special services, Putin's guard dogs, see fit.

Anna Politkovskaya as quoted in Wikipedia   en.wikipedia.org/~

Before leaving the topic of murder, it will be instructive to underline that there is indeed no limit to the murder that we rulers of Russia permit ourselves to commit for the propagation of Russian Empire, because if we permit ourselves to murder the Pope, then we permit themselves to murder anybody on earth.

As I, Vladimir Putin, did not join the KGB until 1975, I am unable to take credit for the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II on 13 May 1981, but I am nevertheless proud to say that I was a member of the machine that was responsible for that attempt, and that at the time of the attempt I was already happily soaking up the ethos of killing off all who stood in our way, and that I continue to practise today the lessons I learned well in my youth.

  Pope John Paul II in 1980 wounded in assassination attempt
Wikipedia logo
Pope John Paul II assassination attempt

[...]  Several theories exist concerning Mehmet Ali Ağca's assassination attempt. One, strongly advocated since the early 1980s by Michael Ledeen among others, is that the assassination attempt had originated from Moscow and that the KGB had instructed the Bulgarian and East German secret services to carry out the mission.  The Bulgarian Secret Service was allegedly instructed by the KGB to assassinate the Pope because of his support of Poland's Solidarity movement, seeing it as one of the most significant threats to Soviet hegemony in Eastern Europe.  [...]

Of course it is to be expected that artists will notice that my killing knows no bounds, and will capture that observation in their work, for which recognition I can only be grateful.

Will Putin poison in Sochi? HAVE THE DALAI LAMA KILLED
"Have the Dalai Lama killed."
"But sir, that isn't the ... "
"Do as I say!"

Everybody knows that I kill, and everybody fears and respects me because I kill.  I am proud of my killing.  This is who I am, and this is how I want to be remembered.  On my tombstone, I want this portrait:

Putin the killer holding two semi-automatics


I must admit that I picked out three of the best of the cartoons which celebrate my poisonings — I won't say which ones — and had them scanned and enlarged and printed and framed, and put them on the walls of my den, where they have received much favorable comment:

Will Putin poison in Sochi? THAT AWKWARD PAUSE
Will Putin poison in Sochi? YOUR BEARD FELL OUT
Will Putin poison in Sochi? THE RASPUTIN JIGGER OF PUTIN
Will Putin poison in Sochi? HOW AWKWARD FOR ME
Will Putin poison in Sochi? FOR MY CRITICS
Will Putin poison in Sochi? WHAT'S YOUR POISON?
Will Putin poison in Sochi? POLONIUM POISONING
Will Putin poison in Sochi? THOSE WHO DID THIS SHOULD BE
Will Putin poison in Sochi? PUTIN, VLADIMIR PUTIN
Will Putin poison in Sochi? PUTIN'S HOT MEALS FOR DEFECTORS
Will Putin poison in Sochi? PASS THE PLUTONIUM PLEASE
Will Putin poison in Sochi? I LOOKED THE MAN IN THE EYE
Will Putin poison in Sochi? A FIELD GUIDE TO DEADLY FUNGI
Will Putin poison in Sochi? BOOK SIGNING TODAY
Will Putin poison in Sochi? KREMLIN COMPLAINT DEPT


  KHATTAB poisoned by Vladimir Putin
d 20 Mar 2002

Wikipedia logo

Ibn Al-Khattab    en.wikipedia.org/~

He was killed during the night of March 19–20, 2002, when a Dagestani messenger hired by the Russian FSB gave Khattab a poisoned letter.  Chechen sources said that the letter was coated with "a fast-acting nerve agent, possibly sarin or a derivative".

Also mentioned in THE CBW CONVENTIONS BULLETIN at   

  YURI SHCHEKOCHIKHIN poisoned by Vladimir Putin
d 03 Jul 2003


Russia's poisoning "without a poison"
By Julian O'Halloran    BBC File on 4    news.bbc.co.uk/~

"He complained about fatigue, and red blotches began to appear on his skin.  His internal organs began collapsing one by one.  Then he lost almost all his hair."

This was how a witness described the mysterious illness which struck down 53 year old Yuri Shchekochikhin, a member of the Russian Duma or parliament, in June 2003.

Within 16 days of falling ill Shchekochikhin was dead.  And both colleagues and family suspect he was murdered.  [...]

"And the specialist whom I contacted said that with 90% certainty Yuri's case was a poisoning and most likely he was poisoned with thallium."  [...]

  Lecha Islamov poisoned by Vladimir Putin

d 21 Apr 2004

Moscow Times LOGO

Chechen Warlord Dies in Hospital
26 April 2004     www.themoscowtimes.com/~

Chechen rebel warlord Lecha Islamov has died in a Volgograd prison hospital in what his relatives say is a case of deliberate food poisoning.  He was 42 or 43.

Islamov, who died Wednesday, was sentenced last June to nine years in prison on charges of hostage-taking and organizing an illegal armed formation, and was being transferred to a new prison when he fell ill.  [...]

Islamov's relatives told Kommersant that law enforcement officials gave Islamov some sandwiches in his cell in Krasnodar several hours before he boarded the train for a prison in Mordovia.  He fell ill almost immediately but was only hospitalized in Volgograd on March 23, they said.

Islamov's lawyer told Kommersant that Islamov could not speak or move and that his hair began falling out and his skin began peeling.  In the end, his heart and kidneys failed, the lawyer said.  [...]

At least three other senior rebels have died in custody since 2000, Kommersant said.  Salman Raduyev and Turpal-Ali Atgeriyev died from internal bleeding, while Ruslan Alikhadzhiyev died of a heart attack, according to official autopsies."

  Roman Tsepov murdered by radiation poisoning

d 24 SEP 2004

Sunday Times LOGO

The Putin bodyguard riddle
Jonathan Calvert    The Sunday Times    12/3/2006    www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/~

A former bodyguard to President Vladimir Putin was murdered with a poison that produced symptoms remarkably similar to those of Alexander Litvinenko it emerged yesterday.

Roman Tsepov died aged 42 in 2004 after suffering severe radiation sickness brought on by a mystery substance he had ingested with food or drink.

The case suggests that use of radioactive poisons — similar to the polonium-210 that killed Litvinenko — may be more widespread than previously thought.  [...]

In the early 1990s he set up Baltic-Escort, a security business, that provided bodyguard services to Anatoly Sobchak, the then mayor of St Petersburg, and his deputy, Putin.  [...]

In September 2004 he was admitted to Sverdlov hospital in St Petersburg with severe food poisoning.  As in the case of Litvinenko, doctors were baffled as his condition grew worse over the first two weeks.

He began to show classic symptoms of radiation sickness: he grew pale, his hair fell out and his white blood cell count fell.  He died before he could be taken to a specialist hospital in Germany.

The investigation into the case is still continuing.  There are reports that Tsepov could have ingested the poison in a powder or liquid form while eating a meal.  The city prosecutor's office in St Petersburg has described the case as a "premeditated murder".

  Alexander Litvinenko, before and after polonium poisoning, at University College Hospital
d 23 Nov 2006

New York Times logo
Alexander Litvinenko
18 Dec 2012      topics.nytimes.com/~

Alexander V. Litvinenko, a former K.G.B. officer and critic of the Kremlin who had won asylum in Britain, died in November 2006, after drinking tea laced with a radioactive isotope, polonium 210, at a meeting with Russian contacts in London.  He was 43.

Mr. Litvinenko's death created one of the most stirring dramas of espionage since the cold war.  It chilled relations between Britain and Russia, leading to tit-for-tat expulsions of diplomats.  Russia's refusal to hand over the man accused of killing Mr. Litvinenko has since stymied efforts to restore normal ties.

The British authorities have accused Andrei K. Lugovoi, a former K.G.B. bodyguard who is now a member of the Russian Parliament, of murder and requested his extradition from Russia.  But Russian authorities say their Constitution forbids extradition of their own citizens.  [...]

The British Government seems convinced that Litvinenko was murdered by Russia:

BBC NEWS logo  
Russia "backed Litvinenko murder"
By Mark Urban    8 July 2008    news.bbc.co.uk/~

The murder of former Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko was carried out with the backing of the Russian state, Whitehall sources have told the BBC.

A senior security official told Newsnight there were "very strong indications it was a state action".

Mr Litvinenko, who was a fierce critic of former Russian President Vladimir Putin, was poisoned in London in 2006.

UK investigators suspect former KGB agent Andrei Lugovoi of the murder, but he has always denied any involvement.

The BBC has been told that Russia's internal security organization, the FSB, operated under Mr Putin with far more autonomy than the organizations usually entrusted with foreign espionage operations.

Our source said: "We very strongly believe the Litvinenko case to have had some state involvement."  [...]

And Alexander Litvinenko himself seems convinced that I am personally responsible, in his last hours writing a final statement which ends with words addressed to myself:

  Alexander Litvinenko, polonium poisoning victim, in London hospital
CNN.COM logo
Full statement by Alexander Litvinenko
24 Nov 2006      www.cnn.com/~

LONDON, England (CNN) — A former KGB spy, in a statement read after his death, accused President Vladimir Putin of orchestrating his killing.

Here is the full text of the statement dictated by Alexander Litvinenko:


But as I lie here I can distinctly hear the beating of wings of the angel of death.  I may be able to give him the slip but I have to say my legs do not run as fast as I would like.

I think, therefore, that this may be the time to say one or two things to the person responsible for my present condition.

You may succeed in silencing me but that silence comes at a price.  You have shown yourself to be as barbaric and ruthless as your most hostile critics have claimed.

You have shown yourself to have no respect for life, liberty or any civilized value.  You have shown yourself to be unworthy of your office, to be unworthy of the trust of civilized men and women.

You may succeed in silencing one man but the howl of protest from around the world will reverberate, Mr. Putin, in your ears for the rest of your life.

May God forgive you for what you have done, not only to me but to beloved Russia and its people.

In the interests of brevity, I will omit detailing poisonings that did not prove fatal — such as those of Nikolay Khokhlov, Karina Moskalenko, and Anna Politkovskaya — with the exception of the nonfatal dioxin poisoning of Viktor Yushchenko.

  Viktor Yushchenko before and after dioxin poisoning

Wikipedia logo

Viktor Yushchenko      en.wikipedia.org/~

[...]  In August 2009, The Lancet published a scientific paper by Swiss and Ukrainian researchers on the monitoring, form, distribution, and elimination of TCDD [2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzodioxin] in Yushchenko after he presented with severe poisoning.  The 2004 TCDD levels in Yushchenko's blood serum were 50,000-fold greater than those in the general population.  This new study also concluded that the dioxin "was so pure that it was definitely made in a laboratory".  [...]

On September 27, 2009 Yushchenko said in an interview aired on Channel 1+1 that the testimony of three men who were at a dinner in 2004 at which he believes he was poisoned is crucial to finishing the investigation, and he claimed these men were in Russia.  Ukrainian prosecutors said Russia has refused to extradite one of the men, the former deputy chief of Ukraine's security service, Volodymyr Satsyuk, because he holds both Russian and Ukrainian citizenship.  [...]

It seems that my reputation for poisoning rests mainly on the five above fatal cases (Khattab, Shchekochikhin, Islamov, Tsepov, Litvinenko), and on the four nonfatal (Khokhlov, Moskalenko, Politkovskaya, Yushchenko).  But what this brief list fails to give me credit for is the large number who are considered to have died of natural causes, but in fact were killed by poisons which leave no trace, or at least leave only a trace that is so unusual that it is unlikely to ever be detected.

Of course Kremlin poisoning tradition under Communist rule goes right back to Lenin and his Cheka, with the applications of cyanide spray to Lev Rebet and Stepan Bandera being historical instances that lie within living memory, approximately halfway between the earliest and the most recent.

KGB Poison Factory book cover   Lev (Leo) Rebet, murdered by Moscow
Lev (Leo) Rebet
cyanide sprayed 12 Oct 1957
  Stepan Bandera, murdered by Moscow
Stepan Bandera
cyanide sprayed 15 Oct 1959

It was on the express orders of Sakharovsky, and with the approval of Khrushchev, that two well-known Ukrainian émigré activists were murdered in Germany in the 1950s.  A KGB assassin using a gun that fired poison gas killed Lev Rebet of the National Labor Alliance in 1957 and Stepan Bandera of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists in 1959.

Oleg Kalugin, The First Directorate: My 32 Years in Intelligence and Espionage Against the West, St. Martin's Press, New York, 1994, p. 238.


Russia has several laboratories whose names change over time, and which it is sometimes convenient to refer to collectively as the Kamera, which invent and test exotic biological and chemical agents, as outlined in the Wall Street Journal by Boris Volodarsky, the author of the book whose cover is shown just above:

Wall Street Journal logo
The KGB's Poison Factory
By BORIS VOLODARSKY      Updated April 7, 2005 12:01 a.m. ET      online.wsj.com/~

[...]  Whatever its official name, Kamera's products — poisonous biological and chemical agents — have been constantly refined over the years as advancing science opens new possibilities and as Kremlin leaders have new requirements.  They are highly specialized, tailored for each recipient to cause the desired effect — usually death or incapacity — in specific ways.  But one thing in their design is constant.  They must make the victim's death or illness appear natural or at least produce symptoms that will baffle doctors and forensic investigators.  To this end the Kamera developed its defining specialty: combining known poisons into original and untraceable forms.  [...]

I'm reminded of the 1955 attempt on Nikolay Khokhlov, a defector from the KGB.  He drank a cup of coffee at a public reception in Germany in 1957 and fell ill.  In his blood the doctors found traces of thallium, a metallic substance commonly used as rat poison.  But the appropriate treatment had little effect and it was not until weeks later when Khokhlov was close to death that imaginative doctors at a U.S. Army hospital in Frankfurt found the hitherto undreamed-of answer.  The thallium had been subjected to atomic radiation so that the metal would slowly disintegrate in the system, giving symptoms as common as gastritis as a patient slowly died of radiation poisoning.  By that time, the thallium would have disintegrated and left no trace even for an autopsy.

Countless others — literally countless, for who can count poison victims when no poison is detected? — suffered this fate.  I have identified more than a dozen examples through the years.  The Chechen rebel leader Khattab was poisoned by the FSB in March 2004.  A KGB agent poisoned the food of the Afghan leader Hafizullah Amin in December 1979.  Trotsky's secretary Wolfgang Salus died mysteriously in 1957.  The anti-Soviet emigré writer Lev Rebet was thought to have died from a heart attack in October 1957 until the KGB assassin defected four years later and told how he had sprayed a Kamera mist containing poisonous gas from a crushed cyanide ampoule into Rebet's face as he passed him on a stairway.

The Kamera also provided ricin in tiny, specially tooled pellets to be injected undetected, with hardly the pain of an insect's sting, causing death without trace.  Lent to the Bulgarians, this poison pellet killed the anti-Communist emigré radio journalist Georgi Markov in 1978 in London.  His cause of death and the means of its delivery were discovered only long afterward, and by chance.  Oleg Kalugin, former KGB general who now lives in the U.S. and who was in charge of this operation from the Soviet side, described it in "Spy Master," published in 1994.

The nature of the poisons themselves sometimes determined the delivery system: the ricin pellet in a sharp-tipped umbrella, the spray vented from a tube hidden in a rolled newspaper, a poison-carrying bullet (designed for Russian emigré Georgy Okolovich in 1955) shot from a very short range pistol concealed in a cigarette packet.  The Kamera leaves to other parts of the Russian services the task of getting its poison to the victim, like putting the powder into Khokhlov's coffee cup.

If the Kamera is somehow behind Mr. Yushchenko's problems, it did its work with great skill.  Some 20 specialists, from dermatologists to neurologists, were unable to make an exact diagnosis in his case.  "It is an atypical case," said Dr. Korpan, "One seldom observes complex acute disease combined with neurological signs."

Russian intelligence veterans will also recognize, as I do, the characteristic campaign of Soviet-style "active measures" to confuse the issue.  Officials in the government of Leonid Kuchma said that the candidate ate some bad sushi, or maybe caught a virus, or even disfigured himself on purpose to win electoral points.  And they accuse the doctors and laboratories of "medically falsified diagnoses."  Former KGB Colonel Viktor Cherkashin, who handled the two notorious American traitors Robert Hanssen and Aldrich Ames, was recently quoted as saying, "I have my doubts about whether Yushchenko was poisoned at all.  It looks more like a dermatological problem."  [...]

The following excerpt serves to reveal the uninhibited mind set that is needed by the people who work in my KGB poison factories, and perhaps also the uninhibited mind set that is needed by the people who administer out in the field the poisons which those factories synthesize.

Wikipedia logo
Poison laboratory of the Soviet secret services


Human experimentation

Mairanovsky and his colleagues tested a number of deadly poisons on prisoners from the Gulags ("enemies of the people"), including mustard gas, ricin, digitoxin, curare and many others.  The goal of the experiments was to find a tasteless, odourless chemical that could not be detected post mortem.  Candidate poisons were given to the victims, with a meal or drink, as "medication".

Finally, a preparation with the desired properties called C-2 was developed.  According to witness testimonies, the victim changed physically, became shorter, weakened quickly, became calm and silent and died within fifteen minutes.  Mairanovsky brought to the laboratory people of varied physical condition and ages in order to have a more complete picture about the action of each poison.

Pavel Sudoplatov and Nahum Eitingon approved special equipment [poisons] only if it had been tested on "humans", according to testimony of Mikhail Filimonov.  Vsevolod Merkulov said that these experiments were approved by NKVD chief Lavrenty Beria.  After his arrest, Beria himself testified on August 28, 1953 that "I gave orders to Mairanovsky to conduct experiments on people sentenced to the highest measure of punishment, but it was not my idea".

In addition to human experimentation, Mairanovsky personally executed people with poisons, under the supervision of Sudoplatov.  [...]


My Kamera chemists tell me that it is inadvisable to speak openly about the newest additions to the tools in our chemical and biological toolbox, and so I will speak only of a toxin that is already widely known — Carbon Monoxide — on the understanding that what I say applies equally, and sometimes more, to the newer toxins which I do not name.

Carbon Monoxide is colorless, odorless, and tasteless, meaning that a Sochi athlete will be unable to see it, smell it, or taste it.  By binding tightly to the hemoglobin molecule, Carbon Monoxide makes that molecule unable to deliver oxygen, and so one of the effects of Carbon Monoxide inhalation is to reduce the delivery of oxygen to the muscles and to the brain.  Less oxygen to the muscles means hastened pain and fatigue.  Less oxygen to the brain means narrowed perception, slowed reflexes, impaired balance and coordination.  Because the affinity of Carbon Monoxide to hemoglobin is strong, the effect of Carbon Monoxide inhalation is both instantaneous and lasting, making it possible to impair performance by delivering a dose one second before competition all the way to one or a few days before competition.

The effect that is sought is not the death of the athlete, or even any evident incapacity, but only the smallest of decrements in the almost super-human functioning that it takes to win gold, and therefore only the smallest dosages would need to be administered.  The desired effect is something like reducing the probability of a skater successfully completing a quad from 90% to 70%.  A skater whose probability of completing a quad is 70%, and who has three quads in his program, has only a 34% probability of completing all three of them successfully.  That's the kind of small slump in performance we're looking for; anything bigger would be suspicious.  Or who's going to suspect poison if a skier's run time drops from the 05:36:11 that he got in practice to the 05:38:82 that he gets in competition?  The desired impairment is so small that the athlete will be unaware of it, will not feel either tired or sluggish or woozy, and might come to suspect that he was not up to par only after turning in a poorer performance than expected.  That very small degree of impairment can be produced by means of a single inhalation of heavily-carbon-monoxide-enriched air, or by means of several inhalations of less-heavily-carbon-monoxide-enriched air.

Furthermore, the very small amount of Carbon Monoxide poisoning that is sought may not be detectable in the blood of the athlete, and if it is detected, it would mean nothing, as Carbon Monoxide is produced by all combustion, sometimes more and sometimes less depending on circumstances, and so that it is possible to get an accidental dose in many everyday situations without the involvement of malevolent intent — from heaters, furnaces, stoves, boilers, engines of cars and trucks and buses.

Average levels in homes without gas stoves vary from 0.5 to 5 parts per million (ppm).  Levels near properly adjusted gas stoves are often 5 to 15 ppm and those near poorly adjusted stoves may be 30 ppm or higher.


And, more pertinent to the Sochi athletes, Carbon Monoxide can also be produced by snow-blowing or snow-moving equipment, by snowmobiles, and by ice-resurfacing machinery, which brings to mind the possibility of giving an entire hockey team a dose of Carbon Monoxide during their practise session:

It has been noted in "Occupational and Environmental Medicine" that indoor ice-resurfacing can subject people to negative health effects.  Indoor ice-resurfacing has resulted in "cases of acute Carbon Monoxide and Nitrogen Dioxide poisoning ... resulting from the release of pollutants".  Exposure to high concentrations of these gases can cause "acute and chronic illness".  Recommendations that have been made with the aim of improving air quality include: regular maintenance of ice resurfacers; utilization of pollution control devices (like a catalytic converter); proper ventilation; wider use of electric ice resurfacers instead of fossil-fuelled machines; and keeping close tabs on air quality within the arena.


And a whiff of Carbon Monoxide can be delivered in a vast number of locations — inside cars and buses and trains, through the ventilating conduits in dormitory rooms, in dressing rooms, in elevators, in washrooms, in toilet stalls, in restaurants and cafeterias, in waiting areas, as for example ones utilized immediately prior to competition.  Even if say a German team were to bring its own busses and its own drivers and its own fuel to Sochi, a KGB vehicle just in front could release Carbon Monoxide as the two drove down a highway, and which would leak into the German bus that was trailing behind.  Carbon Monoxide can be delivered to an athlete even in an open space if it is released exactly upwind.  Carbon Monoxide can be delivered in the airplane that he flies to Sochi in, it can be delivered in the airport at which he catches that plane, it can be delivered in the taxi that he takes to get to that airport.  The avenues of administration are practically infinite.

Carbon Monoxide, in short, can be viewed as the devil's gift to the Olympic poisoner, or perhaps should be viewed more accurately as God's gift to Vladimir Putin, redeemer of Russian Empire.  And it bears repeating that however suitable Carbon Monoxide may at first glance seem to be in the Sochi 2014 context, Kamera chemists have synthesized new toxins that may be even more suitable, many of which are not gases.  The foreign athletes can be reached not only through the air they breathe, but through everything they eat or drink, and through everything they touch, as through their bedsheets and pillowcases and towels, and through their bath soap and their laundry soap and their toothpaste, and the cash that they handle, and the hands they shake, and on and on, such that no matter how hard they may try to seal themselves off, they inevitably overlook a dozen gaping holes in their defences through which Kamera toxins can be delivered.

Perfect poisons, and innumerable ways of delivering them — these are the powers that destiny has placed in my hands.


WELCOME SOCHI 2014 Bear Stomp by Vasily Slonov
By Vasily Slonov  www.slate.fr/monde/74285/jeux-olympiques-russie-poutine-sotchi-censure-vasily-slonov

The impression that poisoning athletes is problematic vanishes once the details are clarified.

I Am Free Of Base Motives

It is said that killing one man is murder, but killing a million men is conquest.  I am a conqueror, and I have a ways to go before I rack up a million, but I'm working on it.

My goal of keeping Russia and Ukraine united is like Abraham Lincoln's goal of keeping the Union and the Confederacy united.  That ultimate fusion cost a million American lives, and if a million lives are lost binding Ukraine to Russia, that will be a small price to pay, and I am ready to have the Ukrainians pay it.  In comparison to such stakes as these being wagered in international politics, all talk of who slid faster across snow is child's play, and whether the baubles were awarded fairly is frivolity.  No one should question how the Olympic medals are doled out because the question is silly and because I need those medals and others don't.

Nobody Is Going To Get Hurt

  Tetyana Chornovol before Putin-Yanukovych had her beaten
Journalist before Putin chastisement
  Tetyana Chornovol after Putin-Yanukovych had her beaten
Journalist after Putin chastisement

Everyone has seen the sorts of corrective actions I am forced to perform for the sake of Russian Empire, as for example to this Ukrainian journalist for her sin of writing unsympathetically about the gangsters I installed to rule Ukraine (to adopt the language this sort of nasty person takes pleasure in provoking me with).  I have applied the same corrective action — and some more extreme — to thousands of other journalists and obstructionists of every stripe, and hope to continue doing it until my dying day, and to as many as choose to come forward begging for the same.

  Hypothetical three-gold-medalist Olympic skier undrugged by Carbon Monoxide
Athlete before Putin Carbon Monoxide
  Hypothetical zero-gold-medalist Olympic skier drugged by Carbon Monoxide
Athlete after Putin Carbon Monoxide

The before-and-after pictures of athletes whom I will involve in my Sochi 2014 plan would leave a quite different impression.  On the left, for example, you see a hypothetical foreign skier able to win three gold medals; on the right you see her after a dose of Carbon Monoxide, or equivalent, and able to win none.

As I don't lose sleep over the evident thing that the journalist forced me to do to her, does anyone imagine that I'm going to lose sleep over the hidden thing that the athlete would be forcing me to do to her?  Yes, forcing is the right word — she would be forcing me to drug her.  She would be coming to appropriate Sochi gold medals only to satisfy her vanity, whereas I need those medals to build Russian Empire.  Which of these goals is the more important?  Which the nobler?  If one goal has to yield to the other, which goal should it be?  If I leave her just as beautiful and just as smiling as when I found her, who can complain that I have harmed her?

To those timid souls who argue that circumstances do not permit the administration of exact doses, and that among the effects of too much Carbon Monoxide is permanent brain damage, I would reply that you can't make omelets without breaking eggs, and you can't create empire without taking risks, and permanent brain damage is simply a risk that I am willing to take.

And it might be helpful to remind everybody what I mean when I say that I have given journalists more extreme corrective treatments than merely beating them up.  Consider that when the three of us — Viktor Yanukovych and Leonid Kuchma and I — contracted out the murder of Ukrainian journalist Heorhy Gongadze back in 2000, we stipulated such more extreme treatment, and we got it:

The Tarashcha coroner, Ihor Vorotyntsev, began the autopsy on the body on Friday, the day of discovery, and had it ready on Monday, November 6.  By law, the local prosecutor should have witnessed the autopsy, but he was not present.  After the coroner hosed and cleaned the earth off, he found a relatively fresh, headless, naked, partially skinned body, decaying on the extremities of the fingers and toes.  While decay on the extremities was normal for a fresh corpse, the skinning of the legs and forearms shocked him.  "The skinning revealed the leg muscles like in an anatomical illustration, and suggested that sadists had been at work," he surmised.

JV Koshiw, Beheaded: The Killing of a Journalist, Artemia Press Ltd (www.artemiapress.co.uk), Reading England, 2003, pp. 125-126.

Torturing Heorhy Gongadze to death was not in vain — one hundred journalists who might have otherwise emulated his brashness fell silent.  Anybody who doubts that Gongadze deserved what he got should watch the video of how he humiliated Leonid Kuchma on national television.  Love me, love my lieutenants, I always say.  For the time being, I reserve the video of my extreme treatment of Gongadze for the private enjoyment of myself and my closer associates.

And so I put it to you that the Sochi 2014 athletes will be treated like royalty.  None will be skinned alive.  None will be killed.  None will even be beaten.  However strongly such options are mandated in other situations, they won't be used in Sochi, at least not on the athletes.  And as none of these measures can be considered crimes when performed in the service of Empire, neither can it be considered a crime when in the service of Empire an athlete is altered in some trivial way that nobody notices, that even the athlete is unaware of, and that even a forensic laboratory is unable to detect.

To My Coworkers I Can Guarantee That Nobody Is Going To Be Punished

If The New York Times and the Washington Post and the BBC and The Wall Street Journal and CNN and The Guardian and The New Yorker, and so on and so on, publish evidence that I am a murderer and a poisoner, and those accusations simply slide off me like water off a duck's back, how troubled should anybody on my team be if a few foreign athletes complain that they were surprised at how poorly they performed, and suspect that they had been poisoned?

Suspicion is one thing, evidence quite another.  We aren't going to leave evidence of poisoning because our poisons either vanish without a trace, or are so new that nobody knows how to test for them, or are present in such small quantities as to fall within the range of normal variation.  And even if any poison is detected and identified, we can always muddy the story with uncertainty and confusion and contradiction, such that in the end the total punishment doled out will equal the total punishment doled out earlier for the dioxin poisoning of Yushchenko or for the Polonium poisoning of Litvinenko — which is no punishment at all.

I Am Only Extending An Olympic Tradition

I could understand some opposition to my plan if it were introducing something radically new, but it only envisions a small variation on an Olympic tradition of long standing — the tradition of doping, by which I mean the Olympic tradition of positive doping.

Positive doping aims to improve performance by means of illicit chemical or biological procedures, and has a more powerful counterpart which I call negative doping and which of course aims to impair performance by means of illicit chemical or biological procedures.  One can appreciate the respective potencies of the two by noting that whereas it is feasible to give all Olympians a pill which depresses their performance to that of the average non-athlete, it is utterly impossible to give all average non-athletes a pill which will uplift their performance to the level of the Olympic athlete.  Much more can be accomplished by dragging down than by lifting up.  Whereas Russia has heretofore differed little from other countries as to how much positive doping it relies upon, I now envision the possibility of leaping ahead of all other countries by, for the first time in history perhaps, employing negative doping on a massive scale.

Another principle on which it is safe to rely — that if it is possible to seize an unfair advantage and get away with it, then pretty much everybody will end up seizing it, and anybody who doesn't will get left behind.  Negative doping is today's unfair advantage that I am going to seize, and creative though I am often said to be, I doubt very much if the same advantage hasn't been spotted by everybody else, and so that I am forced to engage in negative doping in order to prevent the opening up of a negative-doping gap.

I Will Be Selective

As it is mainly the medal hopefuls that need to be neutralized, the majority of athletes might be allowed to compete unpoisoned.  And I already know who these medal hopefuls are.  I have dossiers on every one of them.  I have read their emails and their FaceBook postings.  I know what grades they got in high school, and what church they attend, and who they vote for.  I know their favorite movies and their favorite books and their favorite foods and their favorite drinks.  I know exactly what kind of friends they dream of meeting in Sochi, and I know how to make sure that they will meet just such friends, and I can ensure that all these friends will be in my employ, and that they will all be trained in the delivery of chemicals.

On second thought, I take back what I said about poisoning only the medal hopefuls.  Gold often goes to the unknown athlete of whom little had been expected.

Overall, though, what I know everyone will be thankful for is that nothing is being left to chance.  Sochi 2014 is in good hands.  Everybody can relax!


My popularity with the Russian electorate really soared in 1999 when I started killing Chechens and Dagestanis in volume, which incidentally caused some property damage.  But that's democracy in action — you give voters what they want or they throw you out of office, and what my Russian voters clearly wanted from me was carnage in Chechnya.

Russia leaves Grozny, Chechnya in ruins
Russia destroys Grozny, Chechnya
Russia destroys presidential palace in Grozny
Russia destroys auditorium in Grozny, Chechnya

There are those twisted minds who say that my killing Chechens and Dagestanis yesterday is what prompts them to strike back — as with their suicide bombings — today.

To that fallacy, I have an answer ready.  My years spent in the study of chess have taught me to have an answer ready for every fallacy.  The cause of them killing us today is not me killing them yesterday.  The cause is me having killed too few of them yesterday.  The cause is half-measures, my own half-measures I must confess, but which I intend to make up for, right after Sochi 2014.  I will fill that mass grave in Dagestan shown below to the brim, and a hundred others afterward, and I will not stop until the Caucasus is pacified.  That has been the Russian Cure for the disease of restlessness everywhere and throughout history, but successfully exemplified nowhere better in recent times than in Ukraine.  Just look and admire what a meek people the Russian Cure has produced — I install a common street criminal to rule over them, and they respect my choice by calling him Mr President!

Dagestan mass grave awaits more bodies

If I had given the Chechens and Dagestanis in 1999 the complete Russian Cure that I will be giving them after Sochi 2014, they would today be too pacified to circulate posters like the following, which I don't mind personally because they testify to my accomplishments as a conquerer, but which I fear might cause my foreign athletes some discomfort, and I place the comfort of my foreign athletes above all other considerations.

Boycott Sochi 2014 poster: THE LAND OF GENOCIDE

The Circassians have produced a particularly nasty series of posters, which surprises me given how ancient their grievances are, if you can call being integrated into one of the world's great superpowers a cause for grievance.

Circassian Boycott Sochi 2014 poster

Sochi located on the territory traditionally owned by Circassians.  In this area the Russian Empire made a series of actions that is qualified as ethnic cleansing and genocide.  Building and construction process, actually, takes a place on graves of killed Circassian people.

Country, which distributing iniquity on the planet; which absorbs territories of independent countries; which even in the 21th century kills inhabitants of other countries and as well in its own territory; which is not respect human rights, which has totally no freedom of speech, has no right to organize sports and other international events!     discovergeorgiablog.wordpress.com/2012/11/19/no-sochi-2014-so-why/

Sochi is built on a mass grave boycott poster

Sport Ring Behind Barbed Wire, Boycott Sochi 2014 poster
Attack helicopter is appropriate image for Sochi 2014
Sochi 2014 is the Putin Olympics but Medvedev lends a hand
Sochi 2014 is a show put on by the Nazi Vladimir Putin

What really gets me about all this give-and-take, which is normal in a democracy, is the lack of respect, which I think is abnormal everywhere, even in a democracy.  Why just the other day a Chechen journalist asked me whether Russia's decades-long destruction and murder spree in Chechnya wasn't really heading towards the loss of Chechnya to the Russian Empire?  We were walking down a narrow hall, and for a moment the crowd around us had fallen away, and we were shoulder-to-shoulder.

"Are you joking?" I asked him.

He continued, I thought unnecessarily loudly, "In 1959, Russians were more numerous in Chechnya than were Chechens, the ratio being 1.24 Russians for every Chechen, whereas in 2010 the balance tipped strongly in the other direction with 50 Chechens for every Russian.  Doesn't this suggest", said the whippersnapper, "that the Kremlin bosses have been pursuing policies that are shrinking the Russian Empire, even while they imagine they are preserving it?"

I glanced around, there was nobody near enough to have heard what he had said.

I leaned toward him and said softly, "I had Heorhy Gongadze skinned alive for asking questions like that in public.  You're lucky that nobody heard you."

He was just a kid, this Chechen journalist, and I was giving him a second chance.  I hoped that he would learn something from my very brief lesson in manners.  If he didn't, I'm sure I'll be able to find room for him in one of those mass graves that I'm having dug.  And of course I was only kidding about having him skinned alive.  I don't do that very often.  Probably I'd just have him shot.


  Ten world leaders at G8 summit   Heil Hitler caption can make a waver look like a Nazi saluter
Heil Hitler!

The photographer keeps calling out to us to raise our right hands as if greeting some imaginary person off to the side, but I refuse to do that because I see the trap — anyone can be clipped out later and shown above a caption making him look like a Nazi.  I'm already suffering enough embarrassment from photographs purporting to show my father fighting for Hitler.  The last thing I need is to project the appearance that his attraction to Naziism was heritable.

I see that Angela and Barack aren't saluting either, but that may be because they didn't understand the photographer's instructions.

  Vladimir Putin refuses to wave right hand, standing beside David Cameron and Barack Obama

To the photographer's repeated entreaties, I eventually gesture with my left hand "You can just stop right there, because I'm not going to do it!"  And I'm looking right at the photographer when I make my STOP! gesture so that it can't later be insinuated that I had been saluting a Hitler statue or a Nazi flag.  And notice that my hand doesn't reach high enough for it to be taken as a Sieg Heil or whatever — it unmistakably conveys STOP BARKING INSTRUCTIONS AT US! and nothing else.

And they think I'm unaware of what the central message they want these photographs to broadcast to the world, but I'm very much aware.  It's clear as day.  Everyone who sees these photographs will blurt out "My God, I had no idea he was that short!"  "Poor thing! — Trying to build an empire, and he's only a dwarf!"  I know people say these things because I have recordings of them saying them, lots of recordings, more than you can imagine.  And after that first impression they plough on to some very derogatory speculations: "He's too short to radiate authority, and so he has to give enormous bribes to get his orders obeyed.  That's why Russia is so corrupt."

It's all about height, this fake photo session, isn't it?  The only conceivable reason for lining us up together like this is to reduce each man's distinguishing characteristic to his height.  And to make him look like a Nazi, I shouldn't forget to add.

And why am I the only one who wasn't informed just how dark my jacket was supposed to be?  I stuck out like my jacket was glowing with Polonium 210.  And how did it come to pass that every last one of the dark-jacket wearers also has a gold pin in his lapel?  Do they all read GQ?  Well I do too, from cover to cover, and so does my tailor, but that apparently isn't enough.  Are they all Rosicrucians or Masons or something?  Or did they all agree beforehand to wear a gold pin, but deliberately kept me out of the loop?

  Angela Merkel making eyes at Shinzo Abe angers Vladimir Putin

Miserable as the situation already is, it gets worse.  Angela turns her back on me and makes eyes at Shinzo!  I can't believe this is happening to me.  I've got the oil and the gas, she needs the oil and the gas, and yet she's flirting with Shinzo who has no oil and no gas!  Does she understand diplomacy and international relations, or doesn't she?  I can barely contain my exasperation.

One good thing that shows up in the photos, though, is that I'm the only man present whose chest strains to burst out of his suit.  Just compare Shinzo's chest to my own, for example, and tell me which is the man's and which the wimp's!  He might have the bigger GDP measured in dollars, but I've obviously got the bigger girth measured in centimeters.  It's a pretty sad state of affairs when a man is reduced to measuring his own worth by a number churned out by accountants.

  Vladimir Putin ignored as Angela Merkel flirts with Shinzo Abe

And so I'm standing there alone like a leper who has burst upon the scene uninvited, and to whom everybody is giving a wide berth, while right beside me Angela leans into Shinzo while collapsing with laughter.  What a great time they're obviously having together, the leper standing nearby notwithstanding.  The leper in his Polonium-blue suit without a gold pin.

Anyway, I don't think Angela is really attracted to Shinzo, I think she's going out of her way to deepen my humiliation.

  Vladimir Putin deliberately frightens Angela Merkel with a large black dog in 2007

OK, I guess I'd better fess up.  It could be that Angela is getting her revenge for a little trick I pulled on her a while back.  Yes, her staff had notified us that she has an aversion to dogs, and would appreciate being protected from any encounter with dogs in Moscow.  The reason given was that she had been bitten by a dog in 1995.  Yeah, sure!  I'd like to see the scar that supports that story.  My bet is that she's just got an irrational phobia, and made up the story about the dog bite to make herself look less neurotic.

Whatever the case, I couldn't resist the wonderful opportunity — to throw at her the biggest dog I could get my hands on, and watch her squirm.  Settles immediately the question of inferiority and superiority, of who is governed by frivolous emotion and who by steely determination.  And once the ado commenced, I was gentleman enough to not roll on the floor laughing at her discomposure, although unable to restrain a snicker or two.

So, from then on, I think Angela started to fear me, which is not at all a bad thing, and to avoid me as well, which is what displeased me on this occasion.  They should have taught her in Chancellor School how to take a joke.

  Vladimir Putin as a Judo black belt

But these photographs deserve little attention, they are so misleading in showing only surface appearances, while leaving hidden what everyone present actually feels and perceives, and which is that although I may be among the physically-smallest participants present, I am at the same time clearly the deadliest.  If any of those big lugs in the G8 photographs were to become impertinent, he just might find himself smashed to the ground by a genuine black belt.

  Vladimir Putin bare-chested with horse

Skill in the combat and martial arts is important in any tussle, to be sure, but sheer physical strength counts for a lot too, and I'm not deficient in that department either.  Just look at those pecs and ask what world leader can display finer!  If any of those world leaders that lined up to show off his height also had my pecs, he'd be flashing them in front of every camera aimed at him, whereas I do it only rarely.  Like how many photos of me bare-chested have I released in total?  Would you guess a thousand or a hundred?  Maybe fifty?  Wrong!  Wrong!  Wrong!  You couldn't be more wrong!  I do own a thousand or so that I could release, but I've actually released maybe a measly twenty.  Surprising, but not hard to explain — it's simple modesty.

  Bare-chested Vladimir Putin holds rifle with telescopic sights

But I don't want to leave the impression that I'm a street brawler.  I'm something just a bit better than that.  I'm a warrior.  And I'm many other things as well, that I hope to have the opportunity to describe on these pages.

As for example something that I don't often speak of to others, but that fascinates me whenever I begin jotting down my pensées in private as I am doing now, and that is the powers that have been gifted me.  The power of life and death over others.  The power to win submission from the fiercest and most powerful of animals, and from the fiercest and most powerful of men.  The power to perform acts of superhuman strength.

These gifts are often captured in art, which though depicting things that have not as yet happened, nevertheless do show things that might actually happen if my powers continue to expand as they have been doing.  These works of art are better than photographs because photographs merely record the past, whereas art extrapolates current trends into the future.  It is the photographs of me standing beside world leaders that are phony and which I cannot bear to look at, and it is the works of art which capture my essence and which I gaze at rapturously.

Vladimir Putin rides a shark   Vladimir Putin carries a shark that he has just killed with his bare hands

Vladimir Putin rides mother Kodiak brown bear in the presence of her cubs

And that's only the physical side of me.  My intellect is also second to none.  I can not only pin every one of those G8 leaders to the mat, I can also, for example, whip every one of them in chess.  Of course with a few of them it's not a question of beating them at chess, it's a question of whether they have ever heard of chess.  The artists — bless their hearts — give me full credit in the brains department.

Putin and Bush play chess

Putin and Obama play chess

Putin and Obama play chess

Thinking that the G8 leaders would welcome an opportunity to exercise their brains, I suggested that we all participate in a chess tournament in our spare time at the summit meeting, the originality of which idea is testified to by the laughter with which it was greeted.  People often laugh when confronted with something they hadn't thought of before.  "We could make it a summit tradition," I continued.  "Arrive at the summit with brain unstrung, leave the summit with brain fine-tuned by chess!  I would be happy to conduct a chess workshop to raise the quality of play."

Vladimir Putin conducts chess tutorial
I was imagining that my G8 chess workshop would look something like this

There was a moment's silence, which was broken by Angela asking me "What's your FIDE rating?"  "What's FIDE?" I asked.  "It's an improved measure of inflation", she answered.

Well, I just stopped talking.  What else can you do when a woman turns totally irrational?  One minute the subject is chess, the next she's veered off into inflation.  If that's an indication of German intelligence, then I would predict that the Russian economy will overtake the German economy by the end of my first five-year plan — but I digress.

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