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Russia's slow death of freedom
Boston Globe ^ | October 16, 2006 | Cathy Young

Posted on 10/16/2006 10:13:01 AM PDT by neverdem

ANNA POLITKOVSKAYA, the 48-year-old woman shot dead in the elevator of her apartment building in Moscow Oct. 7, was not a public official, a member of parliament, or a leader of an opposition party. But in the eyes of many people, the murder of this fearless journalist has become a symbol of the slow death of freedom in Russia -- a death evidenced by many other events large and small.

For the past several years, the Russian state under Vladimir Putin has been steadily working to bring the media to heel. In this stifling and intimidating atmosphere, Politkovskaya, a correspondent for the semiweekly Novaya Gazeta, remained an outspoken critic of the Putin government. Much of her reporting focused on the war in Chechnya and the atrocities committed by the Russian military and the Russian-backed puppet regime of Chechen premier Ramzan Kadyrov. She had won numerous awards for her journalism, including the Amnesty International Global Award for Human Rights Journalism in 2001; her book, ``Putin's Russia: Life in a Failing Democracy," was published in 2004.

At the time of her death, Politkovskaya was about to file a story about torture practices by Kadyrov's security forces in Chechnya. It is unclear whether this article will ever see the light of day. It has been seized by the police along with her computer and her research materials.

Whoever was behind the murder (widely expected to remain unsolved, like the murders of more than a dozen other Russian journalists on Putin's watch), the government's reaction was revealing. Amidst an outpouring of grief from journalists, human-rights activists, and concerned citizens, no high-level government official attended Politkovskaya's funeral. Putin waited several days to speak about the murder -- and when he finally spoke, it was not to the Russian public or to the victim's family or...

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Politics/Elections; Russia
KEYWORDS: annapolitkovskaya; kadyrov; politkovskaya; putin

1 posted on 10/16/2006 10:13:03 AM PDT by neverdem
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To: neverdem
Russia Tass news agency says business chief murdered

Putin's thugs are making the rounds ...
2 posted on 10/16/2006 10:26:09 AM PDT by mcg2000 (New Orleans: The city that declared Jihad on The Red Cross.)
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To: neverdem

Russia surely will not stay,
if its lies lead the way,

Fervor will rise at the drop of a dime,
and the wounded will have their time,

Where life dwells in the mine,
Death will Russia reap,
yet no soul to keep,

for that power is divine

3 posted on 10/16/2006 10:30:24 AM PDT by Soothesayer (The end times are neigh! Repent and die!)
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To: neverdem
Soon to be published on

What will we allow them to do tomorrow?

"Women, men, adults and children! Today we are stuck in a life or death situation. We all have parents, relatives, or children. Their lives are on your consciences. We beg that you solve this problem peacefully, otherwise much blood will end up being spilled."
This was the appeal of the hostages from the "brilliant success" that carried away 130 lives, and left behind 60 orphans, hundreds permanently handicapped, and wrecked the lives of the thousands whose relatives and loved ones never returned from the theater. These monstrous statistics, however, do reflect the complete scale of the tragedy: the future is now predetermined by the "gas attack" at Dubrovka.

Dubrovka is Moscow's legal precedent, a license to use such gas chambers in the struggle against terrorism. Our "ostrich" politics and silent consent to the "anything goes" policies of the Russian authorities makes this legitimate. Moscow's strategy at Dubrovka, "do not ask at what price victory", shows that the community is a potential hostage of the Russian president's ambitions, and that civilians are nothing more than potential victims of future 'Nord-Ost' gas chambers.

Russian defense minister Sergey Ivanov was not speaking rhetorically when he promised to use "all effective weapons, other than nuclear" in the struggle against the terrorist threat. This gas attack in the center of Moscow in the 21st century is a kind of neutron bomb, which kills people while leaving buildings undamaged. For the first time in peacetime, a civilized, "democrat" government has used secret chemical substances against thousands of peaceful civilians.

The promotions and awards of the secret "heroes of 'Nord-Ost'," and the unaccountability of those who successfully risked the lives of strangers, will be a stimulus for future operations to poison, burn, and kill terrorists along with their hostages. We, who are all someone's children and someone's parents, cannot trust the destiny of ourselves and our loved ones to those who view our lives as nothing more than a tactical decision, a flip of the coin while calculating actions to their own selfish benefit.

The persistence of these executioners in evading responsibility, in avoiding the legal process, has laid bare not only the scale of the conspiracy, but the animal fear they have of punishment. It is a long-standing, tragic tradition in Russia to murder of those who will not bend to the will of the authorities. Now they have forever silenced Anna Politkovskaya. Anna's voice was the alarm bell of 'Nord-Ost', and she was intimately connected to the 'Nord-Ost' case, just as a mother and her newborn are connected by an umbilicus. Anna's courage was admired everywhere, even by the terrorists, but her irreconcilability infuriated the authorities and exposed their impotence. How awful must be the truth, how dangerous it must be for those who have something to hide, if they can only hide from it with the help of a bullet?

Why does the bell toll - what was Anya writing about?

She wrote that an evil ignored gives birth to an even greater evil, that a crime that goes unpunished is doomed to repeat itself.

She wrote that there are real people behind the tragedy at Dubrovka, and they have names, ranks, and titles, and these must be made known. She wrote that they have a duty to save and protect, not to murder. She wrote that only an independent investigation into the responsibility of the Russian leadership for 'Nord-Ost', and a trial of the murderers, could protect us from future crimes by today's authorities, as well as the crimes of tomorrow’s authorities at the next 'Nord-Ost' and Beslan.

For whom does the bell toll - for whom was Anya writing?

She wrote for those who were killed in this 21st century gas chamber, for the children who were shot and incinerated in the school, for the citizens who were tortured and tormented in Chechnya. She wrote for those whom we have to duty to remember. She wrote for the future of our children and grandchildren, so that the world they are born into would be worthy of them.

For whom did the bell toll on October 10th?

It tolled for Anna Politkovskaya, and the question: what will we allow them to do tomorrow? If we do not find an answer, then WE have allowed THEM to murder. On October 7th, we, the 'Nord-Ost' victims, were once again made orphans; once again we lost our OWN.

Do not ask for whom does the bell toll... listen to it...

Lubov Burban
4 posted on 10/16/2006 10:33:46 AM PDT by struwwelpeter
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To: neverdem
I would call it civilizational - but to avoid the unnecessary sophistry and substitutions between word meanings, I start with the basic definitions:
"Culture" [of a society] - everything man-made in its life which is not economics. It obviously includes the traditional "cultural" aspects like arts and sciences, national cuisine and architecture, ethnographic customs, song and dance, and less "cultural" aspects as well, such as [in addition to sociological ones - these are to be dealt with later] its agricultural practices, etc. Some of these are obviously connected with the economical/technological level and its possibilities. For clarity one could modify the above definition and specifically exclude and separate the sociological aspects of "culture at large" into a special category: civilization. Then the culture becomes "everything man-made which is not economics or sociology".
"Civilization" [of a society] can be defined as the sum total of [and ONLY of] the sociological aspects of that society existence [or of its "culture at large"] - how people in that society relate to one another and their groups in socially important situations, and how that society exists and self-reproduces as a reasonably stable sociological system. Since that system possesses its sociological stability, it has to possess its differentia specifica - its individuality, thus "national character" belongs right here, at least in its sociological aspects. The weltanschauung - [predominant] system of [social] values - belongs to the sphere of civilization as well, as do the sociological aspects of religion [Huntington used these in his "Clash"]. Now, the civilization so defined emphatically does not include the "culture" of song/dance variety: the most primitive Stone Age tribe could happen to have a great singer or a dancer, but who in one's right mind would state that such a tribe is "civilized", because of that fact?
Now, returning to the starting point: nobody could deny that in the "cultural" sense the late Politkovskaya was a Russian, and she pretty well might have been an ethnic Russian as well. At the same time one could argue that in the "civilizational" sense she was an apostate, a Westerner - and got punished for such apostasy, for it was because of her value system [Western social values] that she became a thorn in important derrieres. In this sense her crime ultimately was "ne nasha" - "not ours", alien.
5 posted on 10/16/2006 10:34:05 AM PDT by GSlob
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To: neverdem

Glassnost was always an illusion created by the media. Based on misperceptions rather than reality or based on outright lies.

6 posted on 10/16/2006 11:18:37 AM PDT by OldFriend (ANNOY THE MEDIA ~ VOTE REPUBLICAN)
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To: neverdem

It's scary to see how Russia is 'regressing'.

7 posted on 10/16/2006 11:23:16 AM PDT by Red6 (Weird thoughts -)
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To: neverdem

What a ridiculous article. It's totally misrepresents the circumstances, facts and history of Russia's present situation. 75 years of atheist social engineering, ideological persecution and absolute control by a brutal communist centralized government gutted the Russian culture. Add to that the mind-warping brutality they experienced in WWII which likely only ingrained the communist ethos of conflict and destruction, greatly reinfocing Russians' senses of fatalism and cynicism. And it all started with a bunch of materialistic, lying communist tyrants making promises they never intended to keep. They grabbed power and eliminated opponents at every opportunity.

8 posted on 10/16/2006 11:49:07 AM PDT by Justa (Politically Correct is morally wrong.)
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To: A. Pole


9 posted on 10/16/2006 5:01:08 PM PDT by Nowhere Man (All Glory to the Hypnotoad!)
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To: Red6

Why "scary"? It's natural, just as a fall of an apple would be. If apples started falling upwards, then yes, THAT would be scary.

10 posted on 10/16/2006 5:02:15 PM PDT by GSlob
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