Andrei Piontkovsky, writing in Insight about why Litvinenko’s suspected killer is a classic Putinist:
In Russia you get asked for your autograph if you have made it, if you are a proper hero: an ice-hockey player, a cosmonaut, a high-society prostitute, or an executioner.
The list of unspeakable crimes allegedly committed in the course of his brief life by the late Alexander Litvinenko grows longer with every day that passes, and is such that any right-minded Russian patriot could only thirst to see the traitor subjected to the supreme measure of national retribution. Only one such patriot, however, was granted the great honor of being allowed to perform this act, and that is why Lugovoy is being asked for his autograph.
This should not, of course, be taken to mean that the patriots so enthused by Lugovoy’s stupendous achievement concede the justice of the allegations of the British investigation. The social awareness of homo putinicus, meticulously burnished by the television propagandists, is such that pride in the achievement of this spook and indignation at the infamous campaign unleashed against him by the calumniators of Russia can jangle in harmony within his breast without the slightest suggestion of self-contradiction, and indeed bring out vivid new hues in each other.
We are evidently facing the mystery of that holistic quality of Russians’ synthetic thinking which has proved so unfathomable to those of other nations, so unyielding to every analytical scalpel, and about which our Slavophiles and Eurasians wrote at such length.