Ever since Vladimir Putin came to power in Russia, his critics have turned up dead on a regular basis. According to Amy Knight, this is no coincidence. In Orders to Kill, the KGB scholar ties dozens of victims together to expose a campaign of political murder during Putin’s reign that even includes terrorist attacks such as the Boston Marathon Bombing.
Russia is no stranger to political murder, from the tsars to the Soviets to the Putin regime, during which many journalists, activists and political opponents have been killed. Kremlin defenders like to say, “There is no proof,” however convenient these deaths have been for Putin, and, unsurprisingly, because he controls all investigations, Putin is never seen holding a smoking gun,. But Amy Knight offers mountains of circumstantial evidence that point to Kremlin involvement.
Called “the West’s foremost scholar” of the KGB by The New York Times, Knight traces Putin’s journey from the Federal Security Service (FSB) in the late 1990s to his subsequent rise to absolute power as the Kremlin’s leader today, detailing the many bodies that paved the way. She offers new information about the most famous victims, such as Alexander Litvinenko, the former FSB officer who was poisoned while living in London, and the statesman Boris Nemtsov, who was murdered outside the Kremlin in 2015, and she puts faces on many others who are less well-known in the West or forgotten. She shows that terrorist attacks in Russia, as well as the Boston Marathon bombing in the U.S., are part of the same campaign. And she explores what these murders mean for Putin’s future, for Russia and for the West, where in America Donald Trump has claimed, “Nobody has proven that he’s killed anyone….He’s always denied it.…It has not been proven that he’s killed reporters.”
Orders to Kill is a story long hidden in plain sight with huge ramifications.