How much more proof do we need about the nature of Vladimir Putin's regime?
What conclusions can you reach when a decade-long Spanish investigation links some of the Kremlin leader's closest associates to notorious organized crime gangs?
What can one think when senior Russian officials have been indicted for complicity in assassinations, weapons trafficking, extortion, fraud, forgery, bribery, drug smuggling, and money laundering?
What does it say about a state when its former prime minister, its former defense minister, its current deputy prime minister, and the current chair of its legislature's finance committee are tied to the mob? *
I mean, really, is it still possible to give this crew the benefit of the doubt?
Is it possible to even pretend that this regime is anywhere near respectable?
The world owes Spanish prosecutor Jose Grinda a debt of gratitude for having the courage to take on Russia's infamous Tambov and Malyshev gangs -- and for following the trail all the way to the Kremlin.
And the world owes Spanish judge Jose de la Mata a debt of gratitude for following through with international arrest warrants.
Putin's Kremlin long ago weaponized Russia's mafias and used them as tools of statecraft.
And thanks to Grinda and de la Mata, their ability to continue doing so has been diminished, even if none of these officials are ever brought to justice.
Sunshine, as they say, is the best form of disinfectant.
*This sentence was amended to correctly reflect how Russian officials were implicated in the Spanish investigation.