When a government starts murdering its critics in the streets, it has crossed the line into barbarism. President Vladimir Putin of Russia is fond of accusing the administration in Ukraine of fascism. But it is the aggressive, self-pitying nationalism whipped up by Mr Putin.
Russia's recent political tradition is much more brutal than the Western one, with many rulers murdered and toppled by their internal rivals and revolutionaries.
The prize for the lucky contender for taking power in Russia far exceeds what such a project may bring in other countries.
The winner gets the largest country on earth, a decent army with lots of nuclear weapons, the best secret police in the world, and vast quantities of oil, gas and other minerals he can sell abroad with great profit. Russian society is far more lenient about power transfers on the top that involve killing the previous ruler.
Putin himself comes from secret services and is aware of a multitude of ways of killing him that you and I can't even imagine. Putin is a ruthless ruler. He knows he has made a lot of enemies. He knows as well that the most dangerous of his enemies are those not known to him.
However, One of the reasons Putin is always late for his appointments is messing up any possible assassination plan.