How do you lose a presidential candidate?
One of Vladimir V. Putin's challengers in next month's presidential election is missing, and the police and security services announced today that they had begun a search for him.
Ivan P. Rybkin, a former Parliament speaker and national security adviser under Boris N. Yeltsin, has not been seen or heard from since Thursday evening, raising fears among his family and campaign aides that something dire had happened to him.
"We are trying not to let such ideas come to mind," said Aleksandr V. Tukayev, a campaign official and the deputy chairman of Mr. Rybkin's party, Liberal Russia, "but it is hard not to think about it."
Russia's politics have grown increasingly dark, which isn't a good sign. Apparently 2 other prominent members of Rybkin's party have been murdered and he has now vanished.
Further, probably the only thing keeping Putin himself from coming under suspicion is that Rybkin was polling lower than any other candidate.
I'm not optimistic about the future of democracy in Russia.