...some sort of gigantic struggle is afoot in Russia, a new "divvying up." Most of it takes place behind the scenes, but its violent reverberations are felt everywhere: When Georgia arrests four Russians on charges of espionage, the response is overkill -- all transportation and postal links severed. Shell Oil's project on Sakhalin Island is charged with serious environmental violations. All the foreign companies bidding for a part in the development of the Shtokman gas field in the Barents Sea are summarily rejected. A senior official at TNK-BP, Enver Ziganshin, is shot dead.(Hat tip: CH)
Yukos and its former CEO, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, may well have breached the understanding reached with Putin, but in the post-Yukos era the same contempt felt for journalism, justice and politics has infected the rules of the game in business as well.
The murders of Kozlov the banker, Ziganshin the oilman and Politkovskaya the journalist all no doubt had their specific causes about which we will probably never know any more than we will know who pulled the trigger or paid the killer. But what they all have in common is that they emerge from the context created in Russia over the last few years. Putin's chickens have come home to roost. And they're not chickens, they're vultures.
See also: Russia and the Future of Democracy