Amy Knight is a former Woodrow Wilson Fellow. Her most recent book is Orders to Kill: The Putin Regime and Political Murder.
 (March 2019)

IN THE REVIEW

The Crime of the Century

Police officers detaining opposition leader Boris Nemtsov during a rally in central Moscow, January 2010

The February 2015 Assassination of Boris Nemtsov and the Flawed Trial of His Alleged Killers: An Exploration of Russia’s “Crime of the 21st Century”

by John B. Dunlop

Nemtsov

Not only was Boris Nemtsov brazenly shot to death at the Kremlin’s doorstep; as the Russian documentary films Nemtsov and The Man Who Was Too Free make clear, he had a huge influence on Russian politics for two and a half decades. In the words of a former Nemtsov colleague: “He was like some sort of meteorite…. He soared, lit everything up—and then he was gone.”

The Magnitsky Affair

President-elect Donald Trump with Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump Jr., and Vice President–elect Mike Pence at a news conference at Trump Tower, New York City, January 2017
Last May, a money-laundering suit brought by the United States against Prevezon Holdings Ltd., a Cyprus-based real estate corporation, was unexpectedly settled three days before it was set to go to trial. The case had been at the center of a major international political controversy. Prevezon, which is owned by …

Fatal Russian Poison in London: The Report

Andrei Lugovoy in his office at the Radisson Slavyanskaya Hotel, Moscow, 2007. He and Dmitry Kovtun are believed to have poisoned the exiled Kremlin critic Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006.

The Litvinenko Inquiry: Report into the Death of Alexander Litvinenko

by Sir Robert Owen
When Sir Robert Owen’s much-anticipated report on the November 2006 murder of Alexander Litvinenko, a former KGB/FSB agent exiled in Britain, was released at London’s Gray’s Inn on the morning of January 21, most of those present probably turned immediately, as I did, to Part 9: “Who Directed the Killing?” …

Stalin: His Daughter & His Crimes

Joseph Stalin and his daughter Svetlana, Moscow, 1933

Stalin’s Daughter: The Extraordinary and Tumultuous Life of Svetlana Alliluyeva

by Rosemary Sullivan

Stalin: New Biography of a Dictator

by Oleg V. Khlevniuk, translated from the Russian by Nora Seligman Favorov
In her revealing biography of Stalin’s daughter, Svetlana Alliluyeva, Rosemary Sullivan portrays a woman who was never able to find herself. Her yearnings for a lifelong partner were never fulfilled and she was constantly disappointed in her choices of places to call home. Yet she carried on with determination until …

NYR DAILY

The Price of Doing Business in Russia: Prison

Baring Vostok founder Michael Calvey at a Moscow district court hearing following his arrest on fraud charges, Russia, February 15, 2019

Does Vladimir Putin not worry about the chilling effect that arrests like Michael Calvey’s will have on Western investment in Russia? Apparently not, say analysts, for Western sanctions have so reduced the flow of foreign capital that the Calvey case will hardly matter. And as one Russian journalist observed this week: “When it comes to economic policy, when it comes to any kind of conflict… the president always chooses the special services.” Putin makes this choice for a reason—namely, that he depends on the FSB to remain in power.

Navalny, Anti-Rutabaga Candidate

Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny at his appeal after being arrested, Moscow city court, October 6, 2017

In a recent post on his website, referring to Putin’s supposed approval polling, Aleksei Navalny, the charismatic anti-corruption crusader who has declared himself a candidate for the Russian presidency, commented: “The celebrated 86 percent rating [of Putin] exists in a political vacuum. It’s like asking someone who was fed only rutabaga all his life, how would you rate the edibility of rutabaga?” He was arrested in late September. The Kremlin is tearing its hair out over Navalny because of the prospect that a day will come when the Russian people realize they are sick of rutabaga and demand something else.

A Show Trial in Moscow

Alexei Ulyukaev at Zamoskvoretsky Court, Moscow, September 7, 2017

As the sensational trial of former Minister of Economic Development Alexei Ulyukaev continued this week in Moscow’s Zamoskvoretsky District Court, it seemed more and more like a replay of the infamous show trials of the Stalin period—the charges bogus, the outcome predetermined. Ulyukaev is the first Kremlin minister to be charged with a crime while in office since 1953. While Ulyukaev’s case points to a conflict over power and resources within Putin’s elite, it is also a manifestation of a broader crackdown by Putin.

Putin’s Monster

Vladimir Putin and Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov have long had a Faustian bargain. Putin counts on Kadyrov’s ruthlessness to keep potential unrest in his Muslim-majority republic, where the Kremlin has fought two wars, from coming to the surface. In return, the Kremlin funnels vast sums of money into Chechnya—by one estimate one billion dollars annually, much of which goes into Kadyrov’s own pocket. Kadyrov runs the republic as his personal fiefdom.