My first thought after learning about Benazir Bhutto’s assassination today was Sergei Kirov. On December 1, 1934, the Leningrad Communist Party boss, Sergei Kirov was murdered. Kirov, was a prominent Bolshevik and popular within the party. Josef Stalin, perhaps the most evil and paranoid leader in history, perceived Kirov as a threat to his rule.
Stalin had valid reasons for fearing Kirov who benefited from much support during the 1934 Communist Party Congress when he was elevated to a position on the Central Committee. It’s possible that Stalin asked Kirov to work for him in Moscow in order to undermine his emerging political clout. Kirov turned Stalin down, perhaps to retain his independent power base in Lenigrad and on the Central Committee. Another factor that made Kirov a threat was nationality. Stalin was a Georgian while the ruggedly handsome Kirov an ethnic Russian. So Stalin used the NKVD to have Kirov murdered. He then ingeniously exploited Kirov’s murder as a pre-text for the Great Purges to defend the Soviet state against “saboteurs” and “Trotskyites.”
I don’t know who was behind former Pakistani Prime Minister Bhutto’s murder. Perhaps it truly was an act of terrorism by al Quaeda. It nevertheless is difficult not to suspect that Pakistan’s intelligence services opposed to any democratic reforms she might have implemented, wanted Bhutto out of the way and allowed assassins to get too close. For damn sure it provides Pakistan's President Musharaff, a pre-text for subverting the democracy Bhutto hoped to build. Her murder is also expedient for the Bush Administration and provides the neocons a pre-text for another cycle of fear mongering.
Hopefully, Bhutto’s martyrdom will have more success thwarting both the agents of reaction within the Pakistani government as well Islamic terrorists than she did in life. As a Muslim woman committed to democracy, Bhutto represented a beacon of light in a world of secular autocrats and religious radicals. Alas, her death represents a victory for the forces of darkness in a world spiraling out of control.