The Grand Prince of Moscow

From: Jon Gallant

RE: Grand Prince of Moscow

Thank you for the historical document on how the velikiy knyaz' moskovskiy (Grand Prince of Moscow) Ivan Vasilievich took over Novgorod in the 15th Century. Things have changed since then, although the recent murder of Boris Nemtsov, one of the Kremlin's most effective opponents until he was shot down near the Kremlin on February 28, might make one wonder. But nowadays, the present Velikiy Knyaz is that distinguished statesman Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.

It is reassuring to know that President Putin's government will leave no stone unturned in its zeal to discover the identities of Boris Nemtsov's killers and the details of his murder. It occurs to me that there are a few other mysteries which the ace detectives of the Russian security services might be able to solve.

About a year ago, as we all recall, heavily armed "Green Men" in camouflage uniforms ejected Ukrainian soldiers and took over public buildings in Sebastopol and all across the Crimean peninsula. These armed troopers then oversaw a referendum in which 96.77% of the voters freely, without any duress whatsoever (perish the thought!), chose to unite the Crimea, at the time part of Ukraine, with the Russian Federation.

Since the troopers wore no national insignia on their uniforms, their identity is shrouded in mystery. For all we know, they might have been special forces sent by Trinidad-and-Tobago, Lichtenstein, or Fiji. Could not President Putin, in his zeal to solve mysteries, set his Russian detectives to work discovering the origin of these mysterious "Green Men" who seized the Crimea?

While they are at it, the Russian government sleuths might also look into the whereabouts of about $30 billion which disappeared mysteriously in the Russian preparations for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. According to a Huffington Post article in the summer of 2013, "a former Russian deputy prime minister-turned-Kremlin critic, and an associate said in a report released Thursday that up to $30 billion was stolen in the run-up to the games in the southern Russian city. Russia had originally announced in 2007 that the 2014 games would cost about $12 billion. Within six years, that estimate went up to $51 billion, making Sochi the most expensive Olympics in history, winter or summer. In contrast, the 2012 London Summer Olympics cost $14.3 billion."

The report "arrived at the figure of $30 billion by comparing the initial cost estimate of the games with the final $51-billion price tag and with typical cost overruns at previous Olympics. He also compared the per-seat cost of Sochi's Olympic stadium with stadiums at previous games. ...The difference between the initial and final costs of Olympic games in the past 14 years was two-fold on average in contrast to four-fold in Sochi's case." The report in question was written by Boris Nemtsov. At a press conference, Nemtsov was quoted as saying: "We account this irregularity for corruption, fraud, sloppiness and unprofessionalism."

Could it be that Nemtsov's campaigns against corruption by the Russian government and its contractors has something to do with his murder 3 days ago? Well, surely we can count on a disinterested party, like the Russian government, to get to the bottom of this.

--- Respectfully yours,
Jon Gallant
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