Will Lebedev wreak havoc in British media?
Is Alexander Lebedev about to do to the newspaper industry what Roman Abramovich has done to association football?
What I mean is this: the ex-KGB billionaire may be on the brink of destroying any residual hope for newspapers at the quality end of the market that they can make a respectable financial return.
My question is prompted by recent conversations with some of those who know Mr Lebedev well. They confirm that he remains in deadly earnest about buying the Independent and - more germanely - that he would turn it into a free newspaper.
This possibility is putting the fear of something very unpleasant into those who run the other quality papers.
As you'll recall from my notes of last summer, news groups' fervent hope is that they can engineer something of a revival in their ailing financial fortunes by starting to charge for online services.
So the last thing they need or want is the loss of the cover price on their titles, which is one of their few reliable sources of revenue.
What a bizarre industry. And I say that as someone who spent more than 20 years immersed in it.
At just the moment that newspaper publishers try to charge for their web content, the inky stuff may become a freebie.
The industrial implications would not be trivial, for organisations whose profitability ranges from slim to big minus numbers.
Most vulnerable would presumably be the Indie's closest competitor, the Guardian: how many paying customers could it retain if the Indie were gratis?
What's more, almost no newspaper could claim to be invulnerable to what would be the mother of all price wars: the Times would be exposed; as would the Mail and Telegraph.
I'd love to know the private thoughts about Mr Lebedev of those at the Daily Mail and General Trust who gave Mr Lebedev his first opportunity to shake up the UK media industry, by selling him the Evening Standard a year ago.
The Standard has been reinvented and redesigned under his ownership, prior to becoming a free title. And most would probably say that it doesn't read or feel like a free newspaper (you know what I mean).
So here's the big and obvious point which is so scary for other news groups. Mr Lebedev is prepared to spend and invest proper money.
One of his colleagues says he has already disbursed about £20m on the Standard, which is considerably more in such a short time than he originally flagged up that he would do.
What's changed for him? Well I am told that he no longer suffers from the cash-constraints that limited his ambitions when he first bought the Standard.
Although he is allegedly worth two or three billion dollars, a year ago he conceded that his wealth was not in liquid form, that he could not lay his hands on an inexhaustible supply of readies.
But the cash drought is over, apparently. He has the wonga and is prepared to spend it in Britain and on newspapers.
Why is it raining money for him? I can't quite fathom.
That said, if the money is as real as it seems, I can understand why the rest of what used to be called Fleet Street are shivering at the prospect of the icy financial blast from Russia.