Idle Speculation

Readers may have noticed that a lot of my recent posts have been somewhat lighthearted. That might seem to contrast with most of the news coming out of Russia as of late, which of course focuses largely on the murder of Boris Nemtsov and the recently-arrested suspects in that case.

Of course I have my own hypotheses in this matter, which I have shared on a limited scale. One thing is certain in my opinion- we can be sure of what didn’t happen. That is to say the official explanations that have been given out thus far are simply ridiculous. Beyond this, however, I am not going to waste much time in idle speculation because to be frank, I have no idea as to who really killed Boris Nemtsov. I have at best, a good inkling as to why, and that’s all.

Now a great many Russia-watchers have been churning out this stream of speculation for the past couple weeks, to the point where now we have people hypothesizing on the possibility of an internal split between president Putin and Chechen head Ramzan Kadyrov. I realize that many of those doing the speculation are far more qualified than I am to speak on such matters, but I think if they’re honest, they must admit that they aren’t much more knowledgeable about the dynamics of the Putin-Kadyrov relationship. This is a relationship which has been shrouded in mystery and intrigue by design. If it were so easy to unravel from Prague or New York, someone would have already unraveled it from Moscow and made himself head of the country in all likelihood.

Just to be sure, I’m not saying that all those Russia-watchers who are speculating should stop doing so henceforth. I realize that many of them are paid, and paid very well, specifically to speculate on such matters. I would instead merely suggest that those of us who are not paid to do so be more realistic about our knowledge in these matters, and that we ask ourselves whether we might not be wasting our time and attention on this at a time when doing so brings no benefit. If anything, we might be missing more important signals and trends coming out of the Kremlin and its media.

It is unlikely that we will know anything trustworthy and concrete about Nemtsov’s murder in the near future. In fact it may end up being one of those things that only gets discovered after the regime collapses and its secret archives are opened. In the meantime, many important events are unfolding every day and if there’s one thing we can all agree on when it comes to Russian politics, it is that they are increasingly unpredictable and anyone who blinks will miss out. So let’s stop playing Sherlock Holmes and keep watching that media.

Then again if any of you readers out there happen to be publishers looking to pay someone to speculate on Nemtsov’s murder, the Putin/Kadyrov relationship, or any other Russian political topic, I’m more than happy to speculate as long as the cash continues to flow. Gotta pay the rent!


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