A Bereaved Murderer Joins the War

kaloyev090108.jpgIn many countries the tragic story of Vitali Kaloyev, the man who stabbed to death a Swiss air traffic controller whom he believed was responsible for the accidental death of his wife and child, would be fodder for inspired fiction and probably a reasonable degree of sympathy. In Russia, his act of blood justice turned him into a national hero, and after serving a very brief time in jail, he has launched a successful political career and become an enthusiastic propagandistic prop for the Kremlin (does this remind you of anybody else?). Now North Ossetia’s most popular leader has gone to the front to fight the Georgians. From the Times of London:

It was only a day trip, but time enough to put his talents at the disposal of the South Ossetian fighters. Their protectors, column after column of Russian tanks, were rumbling southwards and Kaloyev simply slipped into a gap within the convoy. On the car radio he could hear the voice of the Russian Prime Minister,Vladimir Putin: no one fires on Russians and goes unpunished, he said. Those words were to be Kaloyev’s motto that day, resounding with his powerful sense of vengeful justice. “You have to understand,” he told a reporter from the German newspaper Die Zeit after returning from the brief war. “Whoever hits me, is hit back.” The Caucasus is ruled by the principle of justified blood revenge: no-one trusts the police, the courts or the state. Justice is personal.