If no good deed goes unpunished, what happens when you perform a good deed from a place of self-interest? Soon-to-be-former owner of Chelsea FC Roman Abramovich found out after he tried to “help” the peace negotiations between Russia and Ukraine.
Abramovich — who is being sanctioned by the UK in addition to having his assets frozen over his ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin — and a few Ukrainian peace negotiators suffered a suspected poisoning during a meeting in Kyiv earlier this month, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Apparently, all parties will be fine. Investigator Christo Grozev told the WSJ the alleged poisoning “was not intended to kill, it was just a warning.”
One U.S. official claims it wasn’t a poisoning, according to Forbes, saying intelligence “highly suggests this was environmental.”
Those peace talks must’ve been held on a bed of poison ivy on a beach because I’m not sure what kind of environment contributes to “red eyes, constant and painful tearing, and peeling skin on their faces and hands.”
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Regardless of its intention (or if it was a poisoning at all), it’s a pretty fucked up way of saying “back off.” Obviously, you feel for both parties because no one should be subjected to biological warfare during evacuation planning* even if they are operating on their own behalf. However, no one is going to blame you if you feel worse for the people who aren’t Russian oligarchs.
(*According to the stories, the group was working to get people out of hard-hit Mariupol via a humanitarian convoy, but it failed because the convoy was shelled by Ukraine or Russia — depending on who you ask.)
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy knows what I’m talking about, as he expressed skepticism over the intention of Russian businessmen offering help to his country even as he acknowledged that they were trying to help.
“I am sure they are not coming from a patriotic point of view. It’s just a loss of the comforts of life that they are used to,” Zelenskyy said per Business Insider. “And the situation in that sense is pretty dire at the moment so they are looking for a solution.”
If you listen to the way Putin (he of the small man syndrome) tells it, the situation is only going to become more distressing for any Russians trying to end the war peacefully. In a speech a couple weeks ago, he said anti-war Russians were “scum” and “traitors” deserving of “cleansing,” according to NPR.
“The Russian people will always be able to distinguish true patriots from scum and traitors and simply spit them out like a gnat that accidentally flew into their mouths,” the Russian president said in a line that was cut from The Spy Who Loved Me for being too on-the-nose.
Apparently, you can get rich off of Mother Russia, but under this Kremlin you better show up when your chit gets called in. Some more gems from Putin:
“I do not in the least condemn those who have villas in Miami or the French Riviera, who cannot make do without foie gras, oysters or gender freedom, as they call it.
The problem, again, is that many of these people are, essentially, over there in their minds and not here with our people and with Russia.”
Whatever is on the minds of Russians who’ve come out against the war — like Russian prima ballerina Olga Smirnova and rapper Oxxxymiron, who both spoke out against the war and took their talents to other countries — you can bet they’re more than aware of the possible ramifications of standing up to this tyrannical regime.
Even those more concerned with getting back their old lives than Putin’s war are being held accountable.