Guilty Until Proven Innocent

3 min readAug 24
Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash

In Putin’s Russia, the legal standard needs reversing.
Yesterday, Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the Wagner group, died in a plane crash that US officials now say was the result of an explosion in the plane he was travelling, not of a missile hitting it, as Wagner media had earlier reported.
Two months earlier, Prigozhin had led a march on Moscow, frustrated with the lack of weapons support he was getting to keep fighting in eastern Ukraine. The march was interrupted when Prigozhin agreed to a deal brokered by Lukashenko, Belarus’s president.
Putin waited to exact his revenge. And yesterday — until proven innocent — he ordered that Prigozhin’s life come to an end.
There’s but one law in Russia and that’s Putin’s Law.
It grants him permission to murder in the open. The way he does, day in and day out, when he orders that Russian missiles rain on Ukraine killing military and civilians alike.
Putin needs an accomplice to wage his killings. That accomplice is the Russian people.
The same people who have had their heads buried deep in the ground for years and ask daily, ‘how much deeper should I bury it?’
It’s a sad spectacle that all nations must learn from.
I suspect that the dictator next door, Xi Jinping, made it clear to Putin that it was not okay to tolerate a person who had defied him. Had a Chinese military dared march on Beijing, it would have been dealt with swiftly and the person would long have been pushing up daisies in some unmarked burial site.
When dictators intimidate their population, frequent reminders are needed to make very clear that they exist only because the leader allows it.
Freedom has a high price. The price is courage, defiance, creativity, outspokenness, when others prefer to bow and kneel instead.
Prigozhin was no saint, but he appears to have had a moment of awakening that propelled him to risk it all. Something was going wrong with the war and the Russian military and he was willing to defy his master. We will have to wait until history clarifies the matter.
Meanwhile, Putin keeps killing and dehumanizing. He does so brazenly, while a nation like India, who yesterday landed a space craft on the south pole of the moon, lacks the moral fortitude to take a stance against him. So, Indians, too, will have to come to terms with the moral substance of their leaders.
Denial and fear are powerful forces. They live in all of us and it’s up to each individual to confront them…


writer and psychiatrist with an interest in current affairs