I know I am not alone in condemning Russia’s repeated breaches of human rights, and some day it is to be hoped that common decency will prevail.

What is Tsar Vlad the Bad so frightened of that he neeeds to silence his critics in much the same way as Joseph Stalin, his hero of yesteryear? After all, he rules Russia with an iron rod, or so he believes, and like Jo, Tsar Vlad believes in the maxim that “you are either for us or against us”, there is no middle way.

Like any totalitarian dictator, the very thought of dissent will not be tolerated, so Alexei Navalry will not be tolerated.  He has been deported to a Gulag somewhere remote where he and his opposition will be forgotten, and with any luck, as the spotlight of world condemnation turns elsewhere, Navalry will simply disappear.  I hope not, but Tsar Vlad does not bow to public opinion, whether home grown or global, as witness the brass neck of the man who authorised the attempted murder of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury England.  Fortunately, the hit squad was monumentally incompetent, so the Skripals survived, and when challenged, Tsar Vlad simply denied it.

The thing about totalitarian dictators is that they never feel secure, and Tsar Vlad, rightly so, is no exception.  He joins a long list whose tyranny knows no bounds, but they are still driven by fear.

“Still as they run they look behind, They hear a voice in every wind, And snatch a fearful dread.” (after Thomas Gray).