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August 26, 2019

Real fake news: Arkady Babchenko lied for the right reasons

May 31, 2018
He’s alive! (Efrem Lukatsky/AP)

Utterly plausible: the reported murder Tuesday of Russian journalist-in-exile Arkady Babchenko, discovered by his wife bleeding to death with three bullets in his back, seemingly the latest truth-teller to fall victim to the death plague that claims so many critics of President Vladimir Putin.

Absolutely astonishing: the true story that Babchenko lived to tell the following day at a news conference in Kiev, that he’d worked with Ukrainian intelligence services to stage his own murder in order to thwart a very real plot on his life.

Don’t try this at home. As a rule, journalists are never allowed to lie in service of a higher cause. But Babchenko, who was actually in the crosshairs, had to resort to the most extreme measures to save his life and expose a larger truth. Cut him some slack, and buy advance tickets for the movie sure to come.

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