WHEN IS AN ASSASSINATION NOT AN ASSASSINATION?

WHEN THE VICTIM IS ARKADY BABCHENKO.

Ukraine-based Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko

Ukraine-based Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko

Arkady Babchenko was a leading critic of the Russian government. The announcement of his murder sent shockwaves through Ukraine, where he lived, and around the world, as journalists and politicians condemned the slaying of a brave and honest reporter.

Ukraine's prime minister pinned the blame on the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Western politicians such as British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson condemned the assassination and joined in the chorus that attributed responsibility to Russia.

A gruesome photo circulated the Internet, appearing to show Babchenko with bullet holes in his back, lying in a pool of blood on the floor of his apartment. The image, stark and chilling, seemed to sum up the terrible risks of crossing the Kremlin.

The murder generated international headlines and an outpouring of sympathy from his fellow journalists, including many in Russia and Ukraine who had known and worked with him.  

The only problem with this story was, the murder of Arkady Babchenko was nothing more than an elaborate, sensational and bizarre hoax.