Editorial: Oil & Suicide

“Macho Man” Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, 65, catches a few rays while testing the fishing opportunities in Siberia, September 2021.

Column By Mike Bibb

In a bizarre story out of Russia, an oil tycoon fell to his death from a sixth-story Moscow hospital window.

Or, was he tossed?

Ordinarily, business and political intrigues in Russia aren’t occurrences overly concerning to most folks.  It’s something that goes on nearly every day in the former USSR.

Russians, high up the food chain, frequently find themselves in precarious situations should they stir the ire of certain people in higher positions of authority.

The recent Lukoil Company disclosure indicating its chairman Ravil Maganov, 67, had simply “passed away after a severe illness,” is an example.

Makes sense.  I guess the sudden impact from a sixty-foot fall would probably cause a person to pass away – regardless if he was ill or not. 

What is suspicious, Mr. Maganov was an outspoken opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s military invasion of Ukraine.

I would imagine he was also critical of Putin’s scheme to reduce oil and gas supplies to Europe, particularly since winter is approaching.

Gasoline and heating fuel shortages are increasing.  As a result, prices for these Russian imported products are skyrocketing in many European countries. 

Supposedly, Maganov was admitted to the hospital following a heart attack.

Let’s say that’s true.  However, the story becomes a little dubious when authorities reported he “fell” out of a window. 

I’ve heard and known of patients tumbling out of a hospital bed, but how does a patient fall out of a hospital window?  

For several reasons, if Moscow hospitals are similar to American hospitals, the windows are usually sealed, permitting the entrance of light and for viewing purposes only. 

If Maganov jumped out of the window, he probably would have had to break the glass and climb through.

Investigative police work wouldn’t be that difficult in determining if he fell, jumped, or was physically assisted to the window’s ledge and thrown out.

Or, in fact, did he actually fall, jump, or was pushed?  Maybe, he was already deceased, and his body was conveniently placed on the sidewalk six stories below.

Russia has a history of “enemies of the state” mysteriously disappearing, dying, or taking up lengthy residency in one of its infamous gulags (prisons).

Maganov openly disagreeing with Putin’s armed incursion into Ukraine would be reason enough for him to suddenly develop fatal heart problems, or contemplate suicide, at least as far as Russian news agency Tass is concerned.

Strangely, sudden and unanticipated deaths have recently happened to numerous individuals who have been at odds with Putin.  

Equally weird, many of these deaths have been “suicides” by individuals plunging from hospitals or high-rise apartment windows.

Reportedly, about a dozen people close to Putin are no longer breathing.

According to a Sept. 2, 2022, article in The Daily Mail.com, a British online news publication, one particularly gruesome case involved billionaire Alexander Subbotin, 43, also a Lukoil executive and owner of a shipping company.

Allegedly, highly toxic toad venom was injected into Subbotin.  Shortly after, he began to convulse and eventually died from heart failure.

His death was reported as being caused by an acute hangover.  Too much vodka – mixed with toad poison – I suppose.

Another strange case in April 2022, concerned natural gas company executive Sergei Protosenya, 55, and his wife and daughter.

He was discovered hanging by his neck outside a Spanish villa, while his wife and daughter were brutally hacked to death with an axe left at the murder scene.

No fingerprints on the axe handle or suicide note were recovered by the police. 

Several of these deaths and homicides – referred to as “Putin’s housekeeping” – have been chronicled in Catherine Belton’s book,  “Putin’s People: How The KGB Took Back Russia And Then Took On The West.” 

Vladimir Putin, 65, has a long history with the Russian government and has learned their management and control systems exceedingly well.

For 16 years he was a KGB foreign intelligence officer, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel.   He’s also served as Director of the Federal Security Office, prime minister, acting president, and president.

Not a physically intimidating individual – 5 ft., 6 in., 152 lbs. – he seems to suffer from “Little Man’s Syndrome,” in which he often manifests his perceived virality, masculinity, and fearlessness through various acts of public exhibition – not an uncommon characteristic in the realm of diminutive psychopathic dictators. 

This would include, of course, military prowess as Russia’s current commander-in-chief.  War on Ukraine, however, may have exceeded his abilities to successfully strategize and implement military maneuvers,

In short, it appears he overestimated his skills and Ukraine’s resolve.  An invasion that was supposed to last a few days or weeks, has dragged into months.  

Russia’s armored tank divisions have been decimated.   Reportedly, nearly six years of tank production have been destroyed.

This level of equipment and personnel losses cannot continue.  Russia doesn’t have the industrial or economic capacity to sustain a protracted conflict.  Either Putin has to resort to more drastic measures, or his success in Ukraine is in peril.

Unfortunately, a guy willing to have goon squads toss opposing viewpoints out of tall buildings and drastically reduce winter fuel deliveries to neighboring countries is probably unstable enough to try anything to preserve his grip.

The last tyrant attempting to control Europe and invade Russia was a megalomaniac named Adolph Hitler.

He bumped up against an equally maniacal Russian lunatic, Joseph Stalin.

We know how that insane confrontation eventually ended, with the help of Allied forces. 

In the meantime, China’s hierarchy is sitting back and watching the show.  Their menace to world safety is significantly more threatening than Moscow’s.

For obvious reasons their economy is much larger and they have a billion more people.

Who’s in our corner of the ring protecting United States interests?  “Sleepy Joe,” the undisputed winner of the famous “Kid from Scranton vs Cornpop” championship bout. 

Joe later became more renowned for directing the disastrous withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Afghanistan a year ago, at the same time permitting the illegal entry of millions of foreign nationals into our country as inflation and gas prices soared.

Not a very impressive record to run a future campaign on.

Presently, Joe’s concentrating his well-honed political instincts on searching for the elusive Red Capped MAGA, a “semi-fascist” (Joe’s words) beast with 75 million tentacles reaching into America’s homes, schools, churches, businesses, and ballot boxes.

MAGA’s other aliases are “basket of deplorables,” “despicables,” “vax deniers,” “Trump’s Chumps,” “lizard brains” and “non-RINOs.”

If you see any of these horrible creatures immediately mask up, assume they’re racist, and call Poison Control to report the spreading of their noxious lies and vicious disinformation. 

What will Joe be telling us next – the border is secure, men can get pregnant and his female Supreme Court pick finally figured out what the definition of a woman is? 

“Come on, man,” get real.  Accusing millions of citizens of being fascists is more despicable than calling them deplorable! 

The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the author.