pühapäev, oktoober 08, 2006

Anna Politkovskaya 1958-2006

When you become a journalist, you are made aware that there are some situations in which it is possible your profession can turn fatal. Usually though you imagine that death only strikes those reporting in war zones that are hit by stray bullet or mortar. But in modern Russia, a land where bodyguards are a status symbol, the absence of overt war does not guarantee your safety.

Investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya, who chronicled military abuses against Chechen civilians and garnered accolades and awards from around the world, was killed in her apartment building Saturday in an apparent contract murder possibly tied to her reporting.

Politkovskaya, 48, was found dead with a gunshot wound to the head in an elevator in her apartment building at 8/12 Lesnaya Ulitsa near Belorussky Station in central Moscow.


Politkovskaya was not the first journalist to die an execution-style death in Russia, and she probably won't be the last. But in a country that lacks the will to bring the murderers of journalists to justice, one has to wonder if it is really worth the trouble for those behind these assasinations to kill their critics. The logic follows that if you are free to kill reporters, what they write shouldn't bother you much anyway - unless of course you are more worried about appearances then any kind of threat to your political economic livelihood. Hence, the murder of journalists is not only deplorable, it's also ... illogical. But Russia was never much one for logic.

Anyway, looks like a mob hit.

Footage from a security camera in the apartment building foyer showed the presumed killer, a tall young man wearing dark clothing and a black baseball cap.

Prosecutor General Yury Chaika will personally oversee the investigation, his office announced Sunday.


However, people are being quick to lay the blame at Putin's feet because it fits into the "Russia is sliding back into authoritarianism meme."

Her killing sent shock waves across Russia and raised fresh doubts about media freedom under President Vladimir Putin. She was the 12th reporter murdered in contract-style killings since Putin came to power, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.


What's ironic about Putin's Russia is the close resemblance to Mussolini's Italy. Instead of communism in Russia, we now have fascism - a state-centered around the fused ganglea of big business and political power where xenophobia is fashionable and a strong arm is preferred to any hint of chaos. The irony is stronger because Russia's post-war identity was built on being the country that defeated fascism. Yet what do we have today in modern Russia?

I hope Anna's murderers are caught, but I do not believe they will be.

6 kommentaari:

T! ütles ...

I heard an interview with the prosecutor general, he said they have already a lead, now have guess...the assume terrorists from Chechenya behind the assassination...its so ridiculous...For me, since the Chodorkowski and many more, I believe rather in the virginity of a whore than in the justice of russian judicature...and so, I am affright that her assassin will never be caught!

oliver ütles ...

I saw Politovskaja in Tallinn, July 2005. Didn't have the guts to go and actually talk to her. I even didn't have anything to say, just wanted to express my respect. I now reget I didn't...
She was here for the international conference on Press Freedom in Russia. (the local Russian newspapers I read didn't notice this event at all or described it as another example of Estonian russophobic attitude ?!?)

Illogical?
For me it's illogical that it took so much time. She was Russia's most famous journalist. Which is better - a few weeks of "condemnation, ourtage and grief" in foreign newspapers or "outrageous lies about Russia and it's marvellous leaders" for many years to come?
It's standard procedure: buy them off, scare them off, kill them off. Politiovskaja was simply option 3, 12th or 13th of them since Putin came to power - I have lost my count...
And for past ~10 years Russia has learned. It has learned that it's so easy to choose option nr 3, when all you get is "condemnation".

As to the fascism (or whatever you choose to call it)... the only differences between the Russian and German/Italian fascism was that Russian one lasted more, caused more pain and death... and apparently is still alive.

Giustino ütles ...

And for past ~10 years Russia has learned. It has learned that it's so easy to choose option nr 3, when all you get is "condemnation".

As 50 Cent, the New York rapper has been quoted as saying, "in the ghetto ... life is cheap."

helsinkian ütles ...

I thought from day one that the killer must work for those who have committed war crimes in Chechnya. It would be surprising if it wasn't terrorists from Chechnya who masterminded the killing.

plasma-jack ütles ...

according to Izvestija (9th October), the obvious murderer is Berezovsky who would do anything to give Russia and Putin a bad image :-p

makes you wonder who REALLY sank the submarine Kursk years ago...

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