La Russophobe has Time magazine’s lengthy and considered article on the implications of the Litvinenko murder. One of the best roundups of the complex backstory to this confusing little episode that I’ve seen so far. Quick excerpt:
“Milton Bearden, a former CIA spy in Moscow, as well as other experienced intelligence hands, agrees it would be nuts for Putin–who has had good relations with British Prime Minister Tony Blair–to order an assassination on British soil of a British citizen who was no more than a pest. Says Bearden: “Take a deep breath and take a look at Putin and say, “Is he stupid or insane?”‘
“If not Putin, who might want Litvinenko dead? Plenty…
“Vladimir Ryzhkov, one of the few independent liberals left in the Duma, says, ‘The point is not whether Putin is responsible for these concrete murders. The point is that he is responsible for having created a system that is ruled by fear and violence.’ Ryzhkov claims that the armed forces, Interior Ministry, FSB and those who have retired from them to join private security services ‘are running this country, own its economy and use violence and murder as habitual management techniques.'”
For more informed comment on Russia in English, check out ZheZhe, English Russia, the recently-relaunched Siberian Light (to whom ta for the pointers for this roundup), the near-comprehensive Johnson’s Russia List, and this rather handy overview of Russian blogs courtesy of Neeka.