(CNN)Russia, in rare U-turn after public anger, drops case against journalist

But the future of Ivan Golunov is not bright. See Juan Guaido Watch Your Back; Trump says ‘Russia has to get out’ of Venezuela Part 2.

The chance that Golunov will be mercifully allowed to  live out his life are close to nil. While he has escaped a violent death in a Russian prison, three alternative fates come to the fore:

  • Violent murder.
  • Poisoning resulting in disability.
  • Poisoning resulting in death.

Based on extrajudicial actions since 2000, there is an apparent pattern to the choices:

  • For the traitor, death by poison. (Skripal, Litvinenko.)
  • For the  political nuisance  with the possibility of a following, and a potential martyr, incapacitation by poison, which avoids martyrdom. (Vladimir Kara-Murza , Viktor  Yushchenko et al.)
  • If perceived to be a threat by the criminal component of the Kremlin, violent death typically results, the fate of so many Russian investigative journalists, and Sergei Magnitsky.

Poison, the high technology of murder, requires state sanction that even the criminal elements of the Kremlin cannot freely obtain. Hence the resort to violence, disappearance, or imprisonment with violent death caused by other inmates.

As previously noted, I discount theories that make Vladimir Putin the prime mover of the lethal outcomes of journalism. The most that can be certainly said is that he has made a Faustian bargain. In some cases, such as Golunov, he may be responsible for a temporary reprieve.

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