MOSCOW – Not everyone who has a quarrel with Russian President Vladimir Putin dies in violent or suspicious circumstances — far from it. But enough loud critics of Putin’s policies have been murdered that Thursday’s daylight shooting of a Russian who sought asylum in Ukraine has led to speculation of Kremlin involvement.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called the shooting in Kiev of Denis Voronenkov, a former Russian Communist Party member who began sharply criticizing Putin after fleeing Russia in 2016, an “act of state terrorism by Russia.”
That drew a sharp rebuke from Putin’s spokesman, who called the accusation “absurd.” Throughout the years, the Kremlin has always dismissed the notion of political killings with scorn.
But Putin’s critics couldn’t help drawing parallels with the unexplained deaths of other Kremlin foes.
“I have an impression — I hope it’s only an impression — that the practice of killing political opponents has started spreading in Russia,” said Gennady Gudkov, a former parliamentarian and ex-security services officer, to the Moscow Times.
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