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Memorial Rally for Fallen Journalists in Moscow
Russian Human Rights Organization ^ | December 14th & Dec 18th, 2006 | Vera Vasileva

Posted on 12/18/2006 3:34:43 PM PST by struwwelpeter

Part 1

"Forgive us, we remember you..."

Published December 14th, 2006
by Vera Vasileva 

Journalism in our country remains one of the most dangerous of professions. In Russia, more than 200 journalists have been killed during the last 15 years. Everyone, regardless of their ideological leaning, was shaken by the recent murder of Anna Politkovskaya. The practice of contract killings to silence objectionable voices has made more and more members of the media fear to write the truth.

At Moscow's Novopushinsky Square, from 2-3 pm on December 17th, 2006, there will be a memorial rally in honor of these journalists. The organizers are a group of reporters from several different publications, and they emphasize that their protest is not political, but civil. They summon journalists to Novopushinsky independent of their political leanings, because, as they put it, " they are killing reporters in Russia because someone objects to what they report. Tomorrow they will be killed simply for belonging to the profession."

It is worth noting that the rally was originally thought up as a march along the avenue from the House of Journalists to Pushinskaya Square, and to end with a minute of silence at Novopushinsky. The Moscow city government, however, refused to grant permission for the march, referring the organizers to page 3, article 17, of the Constitution that "the pursuit of human rights and freedoms shall not disrupt the rights and freedoms of other citizens". This strange justification was sent to the rally organizers by the directorate of security for the Moscow city government, and signed by its chief, N.V. Kulikov.

This situation, as well as many others, was described to our online reporter Vera Vasileva by members of the rally's organizing committee - Novaya Gazeta journalist Viktoriya Ivleva, and by Yelena Grishina, director of the Center for Public Information community organization.

Vera Vasileva: Tell me, please, where did the idea for this rally come from?.

Viktoriya Ivleva: It came to us spontaneously, during a conversation.
It happened after we published an issue of Community Gazette dedicated to Anna Stepanovna Politkovskaya. The idea for a march came from my children, who were terribly frightened after Anna Stepanovna was murdered. They were so frightened that they were physically shaking. They began hugging me and saying: "It's good that you don't write about Chechnya, it means that maybe they won't kill you." My children's fear touched me deeply.

That same day I was talking about this with Nadezhda Azhgihina (secretary of the Russian Journalists Union, and co-organizer of the rally) - V. V.), and we decided that it would be worthwhile honoring the memory of those who died because the word was their only weapon.

Killing for a word is an ancient Russian tradition. On the one hand, it speaks volumes about the power of the word, while on the other hand, everyone know that it shouldn't be like this.

Vera Vasileva: And this peaceful rally was forbidden by the Moscow authorities? Why?

Yelena Grishina: As you know, at first we'd planned a protest march. We wanted to walk silently with pictures of murdered journalists from Nikitsky Boulevard along Tverskoy to Pushkinskaya, and once there light candles and hold a moment of silence while remembering our fallen colleagues. We wanted to walk with non-political banners, because our rally was thought up to be non-political, and even though we were inviting representatives from various political organization to march alongside the reporters, none of them were to carry political signs and such.

We chose Sunday, December 17th, because on the 15th the House of Journalists was holding a memorial for journalists who perished on the job. On that day relatives, friends, and acquaintances of the dead journalists were gathering.

But the Moscow government would not allow us to hold a march. Unfortunately, they decided that we would bother Muscovites on their day off, who wished to stroll along the boulevards on Sunday. Even though our rally was to be at 1 pm, i.e.: lunchtime, when people generally aren't out and about.

Vera Vasileva: And how would you characterize such an answer from the city authorities?

Yelena Grishina: Moscow's refusal is kind of humorous, like a story out of the old Soviet parody journal "Krokodil", from their "You Can't Make This Up" section. City hall asserts that we will disrupt the rights of the citizenry, but we also have a constitutional right to free assembly, procession, and meeting. Aren't these disrupted by such a refusal?

They forced us to settle for holding a meeting, but at the rally, which they have allowed, you won't be able to listen to any speeches, we haven't planned any. We don't even have any sound equipment right now, we haven't rented a sound truck or anything. Firstly, it's because we don't have the money, and secondly, there just won't be a need for speeches, in our view. But for now we'll think about it. Perhaps we'll find some kind of a amplifier.

Viktoriya Ivleva: It turns out that the Constitution is a remarkable thing; it can be used however one wishes, because one can always find someone who will be bothered by something, and, accordingly, you can forbid anything, or, conversely, you can permit it. You can permit a hooligan to behave like a hooligan, but what if he interferes with the actions of people who try to stop him? This can go on to absurdity.

I'd like to believe that City Hall's refusal is because all the police will be busy with the "holiday" that the "Nashi" party is planning. I asked the officials why the "Nashi" party is allowed to have a march, but the journalists are not, They replied that "Nashi" isn't having a march, but a holiday procession. Perhaps all the police will be busy at this "holiday", which, of course, will certainly not bother anyone. But it's a bit hard to believe any of this, because, putting it mildly, it looks ugly.

Vera Vasileva: Do the organizers of your march plan to appeal City Hall's decision in court, or hold a march in spite of the prohibition?

Viktoriya Ivleva: No, we won't appeal the decision, and we won't try to argue with them. We'll circulate the information as much as we can in the media. I think that after reading about Moscow's decision, any sober-minded person can figure it all out. And to spend time running around the courts, I think, is useless. Because, judging from everything, the authorities will do whatever they like regardless, and the courts won't do anything except waste time, even if we do win.

But laughing at all this stupidity, well, they haven't forbidden that yet. Maybe they'll see that quoting the Constitution in this letter doesn't make them look very good. And they won't do it again.

Vera Vasileva: Do I understand correctly, that journalists who represent various media outlets will participate in the rally? Not just democratic and liberal outlets, but all who share your grief and wish to honor the memory of your murdered colleagues?

Yelena Grishina: Yes. On our website we've put up a memorial to all the journalists who died on the job. None of us care what faction in the parliament one or another journalist belonged to, or what their political ambitions were. These journalists died for their work, for wishing to objectively report information, or simply to report information.

These days it frequently turns out that they kill a journalist for what they wanted to say. Why did they kill Anna Politkovskaya? Because she spoke, and could involve a mass of people. Practically all the journalists who have been killed died because they worked as journalists. You can count on your fingers those cases when these people died in car crashes or other accidents.

For example, Galina Kovalskaya, she died in a fire, but she also carried out her professional, journalistic duties. She went there to report on a fire and her helicopter caught fire and crashed. Galina wasn't there on a lark, however, she was there in order to observe and write about it, to objectively tell us, the listeners, readers, and viewers, all that went on there.

Vera Vasileva: What do you think, is it possible to change the situation? Journalists, and other citizens, can we prevent these murders, these deaths, which lately, unfortunately, have become so frequent?

Yelena Grishina: We can't prevent murders and deaths; we haven't the power. In my view, our coming together, our understanding of each other, or mutual aid, these can, at least, show the power, which is doing the killing, we can show it that we are also strong.

Vera Vasileva: And in spite all of these tragic events, you don't intend to keep silent, you aren't going to hide?

Viktoriya Ivleva: Why hide? I'd like to tell my dead colleagues: "Forgive us, we remember you". But should I hide in order to remember them, those who died, by the way, for our country? From whom and why should I hide? Am I really doing something illegal, in remembering people who were shot in Chechnya, or remembering a woman who was murdered in an elevator?

Vera Vasileva: Yes, life these days has become abnormal, and quite the paradox...

Viktoriya Ivleva: I think that the largest paradox is included in City Hall's answer. Certainly, we're all used to bureaucratic pseudo-answers, and frequently it happens that they mix apples and oranges, but to misuse a fundamental constitutional right so sarcastically, the law that is the life of the nation, now it turns out that the protest marches of extremists bother no one, and are allowed by the Constitution, since they are permitted, and vehicles with sirens also bother no one, but on the contrary, they help... Perhaps the Constitution has some kind of a selective character? It applies to some people a certain way, but differently to others... We know what's a law, and what's a shaft, but since the Constitution is the fundamental law, doesn't this mean that it's the main shaft, the axle on which the whole nation rides? How has it come to this?

In short, this question is absolutely rhetorical; it hangs in the air, because those who should answer it, don't. To all the rest of us, though, it's all very clear.

Article address:

TOPICS: Government
KEYWORDS: chechnya; freespeech; politkovskaya; russia
Part 2

Memorial to dead and murdered journalists held on Novopushkinsky Square

Published December 18th, 2006
by Vera Vasileva 

On Sunday, December 17th, there was a rally in memory of journalists who had died or been killed on the job. According to the rally's organizers, more than 200 members of this profession have been killed in the last 15 years in Russia. The rally's date was no accident - December 15th is the traditional time when relatives, friends, and acquaintances of fallen journalists gather at the House of Journalists.

At first it had been planned to hold a procession from the House of Journalists along Nikitsky boulevard to Novopushkinsky Square, but the Moscow authorities decided that a memorial march (as opposed to those held by the 'Nashi' political movement) would bother Muscovites on their day off, and so that was forbidden.

Therefore a majority of the people met at the square, while only about sixty walked from the House of Journalists. The journalists held photographs of their dead colleagues, and along the boulevards they carried a banner reading "Memorial March for Fallen Journalists". Almost immediately, however, they were required to put this away, in accordance with the demands of the police.

Once at the square, they again opened their banner and lit candles. A few politicians took part in the rally with the journalists, including Grigory Yavlinsky and Sergey Mitrohin, members of the ("Yabloko" democratic party), as well as members of the Committe of Anti-war Activities.

There were no speeches. The people had gathered in order to hold a moment of silence as a sign of grief and in memory of those who had died or been murdered while carrying out their professional duties. The silence was broken only by a reading of the names of the fallen. It required a full hour to read this tragic list in full. The last name read was that of Novaya Gazeta correspondent Anna Politkovskaya, who had been shot down in the elevator of her apartment by unknown assailants on October 7th, 2006.

See also:

1 posted on 12/18/2006 3:34:47 PM PST by struwwelpeter
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"conscience of the nation"
2 posted on 12/18/2006 3:52:20 PM PST by struwwelpeter
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"The price of free speech is 250 dead"
3 posted on 12/18/2006 5:16:43 PM PST by struwwelpeter
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To: struwwelpeter

But 150 of 250 perished during Boris Eltsin presidency not Putin'. Why they avoided that fact?

4 posted on 12/19/2006 3:33:56 AM PST by RusIvan ("THINK!" the motto of IBM)
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To: RusIvan

Somebody mentioned Putin in the above articles?

5 posted on 12/19/2006 7:02:40 AM PST by struwwelpeter
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To: struwwelpeter

Somebody mentioned Putin in the above articles?==

I saw that march on russian TV. They blamed the goverment when they know that today goverment if responsible then partialy. It is all looks like just propaganda effort directed abroad.

6 posted on 12/20/2006 2:48:40 AM PST by RusIvan ("THINK!" the motto of IBM)
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To: RusIvan
Yavlinsky showed up (Yabloko used to thrive on Clinton donations), but Kasparov had other plans. Had there been foreign money or photo ops, I think Kasparov would've found the time. Judging from the pictures, there couldn't have been more than fifty at the who rally (as opposed to the tens of thousands at the 'Nashi' rally the same day).

No, I think that this handful represents the last remaining liberals in Russia.

BTW: looking at this dictionary, it seems Liberal/Conservative doesn't mean the same in Russia and the US, from

A brief online dictionary of the (Russian) liberal superman

Second edition, augmented and reworked*
(Using discussion materials from an SPS forum during parliamentary elections in 2003.)

SHEEPLE - a creature who is neither an SPS nor Yabloko Party supporter. SHEEPLE is the culprit of all misfortunes in RASHA.

RASHA - the country where SHEEPLE lives (Russia).

INTELLECT (versions include: INTILECT, INTILLECT) - that, which SHEEPLE are lacking in order to become supporters SPS or Yabloko.

BRAINS - a synonym of for the word INTELLECT.

INTELLIGENT (versions include: INTELLEGENT, INTILIGENT, INTILLEGENT) - a supporter of the SPS or Yabloko, i.e., a person who possesses INTELLECT.

LIBERAL - a mentally healthy and educated person. He possesses INTELLECT, and as a result he is INTELLIGENT and a supporter of the SPS or Yabloko.

RIGHT-WING - a synonym for the word LIBERAL.

DEMOCRAT - a synonym for the word RIGHT-WING.

DEMOCRACY - directly translated from the Greek word for a government by DEMOCRATS. It resists government of SHEEPLE.

GAIDAR - a DEMOCRAT, who saved RASHA from hunger; a brilliant economist.

CHUBAIS - a DEMOCRAT, the best manager of RASHA. Together with GAIDAR he is the saviour of RASHA from many different calamities, and for this he is hated by the dull SHEEPLE. The most important qualities of CHUBAIS - he is guilty of nothing and always has explanations for all his actions. He is the constant enemy of SHEEPLE's habit of TAKING EVERYTHING AND SHARING IT, he has proved his principles during his entire, difficult life. GAIDAR and CHUBAIS in their youth fought against the Communist Party and the Komsomol.

SHOCK THERAPY - a package of measures used by GAIDAR and CHUBAIS to save RASHA and its population of SHEEPLE. SHOCK THERAPY was developed and proposed by well-known benevolent philanthropists at the IMF and the US president's administration, who sincerely and graciously desire RASHA and its SHEEPLE to thrive and prosper. Unfortunately, SHEEPLE and BUREAUCRATS would not allow themselves to be saved. Note: not to be confused with 'shock and awe'.

PRIVATIZATION - the process of transferring Soviet property to EFFECTIVE OWNERSHIP. PRIVATIZATION was organized by CHUBAIS and carried out by strictly observing the law, and therefore it is not subject to revision.

PRIVATE PROPERTY - that which is holy.

COMMUNIST (RED-BELLY) - a person who is not a supporter of LIBERALISM and/or criticizes GAIDAR and CHUBAIS.

NATIONALIST (CHAUVINIST) - a not entirely sane person who does not agree with the self-evident assertion that Russians are predominantly SHEEPLE and that RASHA is the land of the SHEEPLE.

PATRIOT - a mentally backwards, absurd and extremely ignorant representative of the SHEEPLE, he is closely related to NATIONALISTS.

FASCIST - a NATIONALIST and a supporter of SOCIALISM simultaneously. Closely related to PATRIOTS.

GEHBUKHA (alternate version: GEHBNYA) - an incredible powerful criminal organization, which has covertly and overtly ruled RASHA from times immemorial (KGB).


RENT - a quasi-scientific word, used by very sly representatives of SHEEPLE to hide their dream of TAKING EVERYTHING AND SHARE IT.

SHARIKOVSHCHINA - the doctrine of SHEEPLE, based on the thesis about the need to TAKE EVERYTHING AND SHARE IT. The name was given in honor of that idol of the SHEEPLE, the well-known revolutionary Sharikov (who is buried behind Lenin's mausoleum).

WORK - that which SHEEPLE do not know how to do.

EARN FOR THEMSELVES - the life-style of Russian LIBERALS. It resists the tendency of SHEEPLE to TAKE EVERYTHING AND SHARE IT.

OLIGARCHS - the most disenfranchised part of the population of RASHA. They need constant protection from the INTELLIGENT. Nevertheless, the OLIGARCHS hold the entire economy of RASHA, and they protect RASHA from total destruction by the dull SHEEPLE and BUREAUCRATS. OLIGARCHS are better than anyone in successfully EARNING FOR THEMSELVES.

OLIGARCHY - the highest form of DEMOCRACY.

EFFECTIVENESS - the parameter, which characterizes the success of one or another OLIGARCH. EFFECTIVENESS is equal to the ratio of the current market cost of an OLIGARCH'S company with the sum, which the OLIGARCH paid for this company at the moment of its PRIVATIZATION (for convenience still they use base ten logarithms). The EFFECTIVENESS of the GOVERNMENT accordingly is equal to zero, since the state cannot be effective.

EFFECTIVE OWNER - the particular owner of one or another company whose EFFECTIVENESS is much greater than 1 (i.e.: the company's value is more than 10 times greater than the purchase price).

OPENNESS (TRANSPARENCY) - a characteristic of OLIGARCHS, caused by their ability to EARN FOR THEMSELVES in the open. OPENNESS correlates with EFFECTIVENESS: the higher the EFFECTIVENESS, the greater the OPENNESS. SHEEPLE and BUREAUCRATS are alien the idea of OPENNESS.

ENVY - a basic feeling, which SHEEPLE experience with respect to OLIGARCHS. It is the only motivation for their disapproving statements about OLIGARCHS and the OLIGARCHY. The reason for ENVY is the inability of SHEEPLE to EARN FOR THEMSELVES.

BUREAUCRATS - the most harmful and parasitic portion of the SHEEPLE. They are in sharp conflict with the LIBERALS and OLIGARCHS. They are in symbiosis with GEHBUKHA (KGB).

WEST - a paradise, geographically situated to the West from RASHA, where there are no SHEEPLE. It is populated by LIBERALS who EARN FOR THEMSELVES.

MIDDLE CLASS - one of the main products of the MARKET. In RASHA representatives of the MIDDLE CLASS are all supporters and the SPS and Yabloko parties, who in turn look after the interests of the MIDDLE CLASS and protect it from the intrigues of the BUREAUCRATS.

MARKET - an ideal device of society, with which each of its members can EARN FOR THEMSELVES. The MARKET is most developed in the WEST and it is the reason for the prosperity of its numerous MIDDLE CLASS.

GOVERNMENT - a heartless, parasitic social machine composed of BUREAUCRATS who are occupied in the suppression of the INTELLIGENT, LIBERALS and OLIGARCHS. It was completely abolished in the WEST under MARKET conditions.

CIVIL SOCIETY - a system of public organizations that are occupied with the fight against the GOVERNMENT in the name of the ideals of DEMOCRACY.

VODKA - the most popular (alternate version: the only) beverage of SHEEPLE.

STEALING (SAWING OFF BUCKS) - that, which SHEEPLE and BUREAUCRATS do in between bouts of drinking VODKA. It resists the tendency of LIBERALS and OLIGARCHS to EARN FOR THEMSELVES.

SOCIALISM - a social system contrasting to the MARKET, and from which RASHA was saved by GAIDAR and CHUBAIS. During the time of SOCIALISM almost the entire population of RASHA did not WORK and continuously drank VODKA. SOCIALISM is deeply hostile to the WEST.
7 posted on 12/20/2006 6:57:18 AM PST by struwwelpeter
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To: struwwelpeter

The ralliers better watch out. Putin may send them to the Gulag.

8 posted on 12/20/2006 3:12:15 PM PST by Thunder90
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