Russian opposition journalist mysteriously shot dead in Ukraine; UPDATE: Or not, AP tweets he just showed up at a press conference

By Dan Calabrese

UPDATE: Emily Litella here to say “never mind!” The AP has just tweeted that Arkady Babchenko showed up this morning at a press conference, very much alive.

Here’s more from Reuters:

A Russian dissident journalist who was reported murdered in Kiev dramatically reappeared alive and well on Wednesday in the middle of a briefing about the killing by the Ukrainian state security service.

The head of the security service said it had received information about a Russian plot to kill Kremlin critic Arkady Babchenko and managed to prevent it.

Babchenko thanked the Ukrainian security service for saving his life.

So. Yeah. Enjoy the original piece here, and if you feel like snickering at my expense, I can’t tell you not to:

Sure they have freedom of the press in Russia. You’re free to say whatever you want about Putin, the Kremlin or anything else. No problem.

There is, however, one caveat: You’d be wise not to actually try it.

Arkady Babchenko was an outspoken critic of the Kremlin, operating out of a television station in Kiev. He was 41 years old and had a wife.

I emphasize was. He is no more:

Mr Babchenko, 41, was found bleeding at the entrance to his block of flats by his wife and died in an ambulance.

After writing about a crashed Russian military plane in 2016, Mr Babchenko said he received death threats and left his home country.

He first moved to Prague and later to the Ukrainian capital. He was an outspoken critic of the Kremlin.

A former war correspondent, he worked in Kiev as a presenter on Ukraine’s channel ATR TV.

Speaking to the BBC, Ukrainian police spokesman Yaroslav Trakalo confirmed Mr Babchenko’s death.

The journalist was reportedly shot several times in the back.

Kiev police chief Andriy Kryshchenko told local media they suspected Mr Babchenko was killed because of his “professional activities”.

It will take a long time, if it ever happens, for police to come forth with evidence tying the Russian regime to this murder. More likely the Kremlin employed freelancers who do their jobs well and leave no trace of their ties back to the big boss.

But this is a classic Vladimir Putin tactic, not only to get rid of the troublesome critic but also to send a message to anyone else so inclined to become a critic: You could be next.

The American media whine a lot about being criticized on Twitter, often for things they deserve to be criticized for. They act like this is an attack on the First Amendment. But the First Amendment doesn’t shield you from criticism. It just shields you from being arrested and prosecuted for what you say.

In Russia, they do much worse than that, much to the heartbreak of Mrs. Babchenko.

I hope conservatives no better than to become Putin fans because they hear Democrats and the media claim Donald Trump loves him. Donald Trump may respect a worthy opponent, but Russia is not a friend of the Trump Administration or anyone else in this country – and they’re certainly not friends of the free press, who should take notes about what real media oppression looks like.

Dan writes Christian spiritual warfare novels and does all kinds of other weird things too. Follow all his activity by liking him on Facebook!