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Killing Kiva

A whodunit in the Ukraine.

11:00 PM, Feb 12, 2009 • By REUBEN F. JOHNSON
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The Ukrainian economy has suffered several major blows already during the turmoil of the last few months--plus Russia cutting off natural gas supplies at the beginning of 2009 and insisting on price increases for future deliveries. This situation, a marked upsurge in criminal activity and efforts by Russia to increase interference in Ukraine's internal affairs, has sparked fears that the country could return to the lawlessness and contract killings--such as the attempt on Kiva--that were the hallmarks of Ukraine's first years of independence in the 1990s.

What is certain is that Russia will continue to try and show that it can reach beyond its borders and into its former colonies to exert its will, destabilise the political and economic atmosphere when it is advantageous to do so, and eliminate individuals that are stand in the way of its own national objectives.

Josef Stalin was fond of saying "when there's a person, there's a problem. When there's no person, there's no problem." It seems that for the former Georgian strongman's ideological acolytes in todays' Kremlin, Kiva had become a problem. The question is how long before other senior Ukrainian figures begin to fall into the same category.

Reuben F. Johnson is a regular contributor to THE WEEKLY STANDARD Online.