Monday, February 09, 2004

Mugger Russia

Russian Thug Vladimir Putin, former Jesuit John McLaughlin's political object of affection, has done it again. Proving that Stalin was an amateur, he hasmade one of his chief political opponents in next month's election "disappear." Top that, David Blaine!

Oleg Shchedrov writes for Reuters (be careful, Oleg!):

"The bizarre mystery surrounding missing Russian presidential candidate Ivan Rybkin deepened on Monday when a murder inquiry was opened and then quickly dropped."

The Corsair shivers slightly, remebering childhood in Uganda in the 1970s, then continues:

"The disappearance of Rybkin, 57, a fierce critic of President Vladimir Putin on the night of February 5 injected drama into the run-up to a March 14 election in which Putin is widely expected to win easily, securing a second Kremlin term.

"While Rybkin, backed by exiled entrepreneur and Putin foe Boris Berezovsky, has launched bitter attacks on the Kremlin chief particularly for his Chechnya policy, his ratings are very poor. Like other candidates he stands no chance of unseating the highly popular Putin."

Let's hope that there is no foul play involved, although factoring in that outspoken Putin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a billionaire candidate for President, was jailed and beaten ... that's highly implausible.

UPDATE: The candidate resurfaced, no foul play involved. Rybkin's his staff reported Tuesday evening that he had turned up in Ukraine, and Rybkin "told the Echo of Moscow radio station, 'I haven't disappeared anywhere.'

"'I decided not to listen to the radio and TV' for a few days, Rybkin said. 'I decided to go to Kiev to visit friends.'"

"Rybkin, 57, said he was 'shocked' when he read Russian newspapers on Tuesday and saw that his absence was being given wide attention."

Okay, Russia is officially a freakshow.

Ubiquitous Joe Trippi

Joe Trippi is trippin on media appearances this week guesting at McLaughlin's One on One, Hardball and Topic A.

And of course, Trippi was hired by MSNBC as a political analyst. A good career move in DC, it seems, is running a failed Presidential campaign. Look for Al Sharpton to land a Fox show next.

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