Alexander Goltz, writing in EJ, discusses The Price of a Human Life (excerpt, my tr.):
When it went to war with the separatists, the Kremlin was confident that all methods were valid for victory. In war, as in war - it was even possible to turn a blind eye to torture, and to the fact that perfectly innocent people fall to the hand of the Kadyrovites and the Federals. Just think, for every hundred they abducted, they killed a hundred more. You can’t make omelettes without breaking eggs. And by the same logic, those who, like Politkovskaya, make these crimes public must certainly be pursuing their own, anti-State interests. And by the same logic, the reason the journalist’s death caused such a resonance all over the world was not at all because it was seen as an act of political repression, but because certain external enemies wanted to damage V. V. Putin’s prestige, that is to say the prestige of Russia.
Indeed, the same logic guides the North Korean regime of Kim Jong Il, which sees national interest not in its people, but in the production of the atom bomb. Because national interests and national pride are far more important than the North Koreans, who are dying from hunger. Moreover, Kim Jong Il and Putin are both solidly confident that they and only they possess the right to decide how national interests should be guarded.
There is, however, one difference: while the “beloved leader” obtained this right as an inheritance from his father, it looks as though Putin has had the right to do as he wishes entrusted to him by the Russian people itself. True, the President has brought this system of authority to such a level of perfection that there is no longer anyone to contend that right with him…