Vladimir Putin Is Afraid. Here’s Why.

Alan Trapulionis
5 min readApr 8, 2022
Photo by Klaus Wright on Unsplash

It was nine years ago. A series of protests broke out against Muammar Gaddafi’s 42-year old regime in Libya.

The military were ordered to open fire on the civilians. Suddenly, a peaceful protest movement turned into an armed uprising.

NATO intervened. They shot down Gaddafi’s vehicle. Gaddafi got captured by the protesters.

This video depicts what happened to the dictator after his capture. It shows him stabbed, beaten, bleeding and delirious, surrounded by militia and displayed like a war trophy. Gaddafi was soon found dead after.

Vladimir Putin, reportedly, watched that video many times. He knows what’s coming.

Except it won’t be knives: it will be poison.

“Live by the polonium, die by the polonium”

More than 100 years ago, in 1921, Vladimir Lenin built a poisons lab. He planned on making chemical weapons that could be used on the battlefield.

Later, however, KGB figured that the poisons were better applied to individuals, rather than armies. And so began Russia’s long series of poisonings.

In 1978, poisons from Lab X — that’s how they called it — were used to assassinate Georgi Markov, a Bulgarian writer who was suspected to be a British spy.

They stabbed him with an umbrella tipped in ricin, a substance deadly even in small doses. Markov died of blood poisoning soon after.

In 2006, an ex-KGB officer in exile, Alexander Litvinenko, died a slow and painful death in one of London’s hospitals. Three weeks prior to that, Litvinenko was unlucky to drink tea containing polonium — a toxic, radioactive substance.

There were no official ties to Moscow that time. But polonium is an extremely rare substance — only 100 grams are produced each year — and almost all of it is produced in Russia.

As it so happens, Litvinenko was also a fierce critic of Russia’s leader, Vladimir Putin. Go figure.

The poisons weren’t always meant to kill. Sometimes, they were simply meant to scare some ideology into ‘difficult’ individuals.