But I am being redundant.

The editors and reporters of Novaya Gazeta do not believe Putin ordered the murders of their colleagues, according to Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of the liberal magazine The Nation who spent several decades reporting from Moscow. However, she said on Dec. 21’s Morning Joe, they do believe that he “created the climate” in which the murders are possible.

The assassinations of Kremlin critics may even be desirable and don’t need to be signed off by Putin personally, suggested Harley Balzer, a government and international affairs professor at Georgetown University who specializes in Russian and East European studies.

“We know from Karen Dawisha’s book (Putin’s Kleptocracy) that as deputy mayor in St. Petersburg, he never asked for a bribe. He did not need to do this,” Balzer said. “He controlled a mayor’s contingency fund that received 25 percent of the funds in every contract the city signed — no fingerprints.”

Similarly, in cases where dissident media outlets are stifled, Putin isn’t necessarily or even probably the person who issues the command.

Ognianova of the Committee to Protect Journalists acknowledged that there’s no evidence linking Putin to the murders, but said he’s “surely lowered the cost.”

Number of Journalists Killed in Russia:
Screenshot (150)
Dark brown=motive confirmed.