I’m starting a petition to have Arkady Babchenko henceforth referred to as "Journalism Jesus," Because holy shit, he just returned from the grave.
Less than 24 hours after it was reported that the vehemently anti-Putin journalist had died on the way to hospital after being shot in the back outside of his apartment in Kiev, Ukraine, Babchenko strolled into a press conference being thrown by the Ukrainian government, like a boss of all bosses. It seems that a hitman, hired by the Russian government to permanently silence Babchenko for the sum of $40,000, decided that instead of pulling a trigger on the contract, he’d let Ukraine’s security intelligence people in on what was supposed to be happening.
I say "supposed to," because things definitely did not go down the way that Mother Russia allegedly wanted them to.
From the New York Times:
Mr. Babchenko created a sensation in Kiev on Wednesday by appearing at a news conference, billed as a police briefing about his assassination, at which he was greeted by whoops of surprise and scattered applause. It came less than 24 hours after his wife said she had found him bleeding to death on the floor of their apartment, shot in the back.
“First of all, I would like to apologize that all of you had to live through this, because I know the horrible feeling when you have to bury your colleagues,” Mr. Babchenko, 41, told the stunned room. “Separately, I want to apologize to my wife for all the hell she had to go through.”
At the press conference, Vasily Gritsak, who heads up Ukraine's security service, announced that his agency had faked Babchenko’s death to catch people who were trying to kill him, using the intelligence gleaned from the Babchenko's would-be hitman. According to Al Jazeera, Ukrainian authorities arrested an individual they believe was responsible for planning the plot against Babchenko earlier today. Babchenko had been aware of threats to his life for some time. The operation with Ukraine's security service had been going on for close to two months.
Babchenko is a former Russian solider who saw, most likely, some pretty horrific action in Chechnya during the 1990s. After leaving the military, he became one of Russia's most renowned war correspondents. All that changed when he came out against the Russian military's policies on social media in recent years. In 2017, afraid for his life, he left Russia to set up shop in Kiev. Apparently, he didn't run quite far enough. There's been a rash of murdered journalists in Kiev in recent years that have gone unsolved.
Happily, for the time being, at least, Babchenko isn't among them.
Image via Wikipedia Commons