Skip to comments.Putin's Heavy Hand Could Halt Russia's Rise (Who was Anna Politkovskaya?)
Posted on 03/02/2008 2:30:45 AM PST by kronos77
Putin has done his best to remove Chechnya from the headlines, not by finding a solution to the conflict but by suppressing independent reporting. After Russian authorities protested, Anna Politkovskaya, an award-winning journalist who had written eloquently about Chechnya, even had her invitation to a panel discussion at the Frankfurt book fair canceled. The reality is that the war in Chechnya rages on. Human Rights Watch has reported that last year the number of disappearances was the highest since the second war began in 1999. Despite the destruction and loss of life, Putin remains intent on using force to subdue the region.
More than a year ago I decided to close my Russian foundation, confident that the state could now take on large-scale initiatives, chiefly in the fields of education and public health, that I had been funding for the past 15 years. I remained committed to the Russian people and have donated nearly $1 billion in Russia. I now welcomed the prospect of businessmen—like Mikhail Khodorkovsky—continuing the key work in civil society and on the Internet that my foundation had supported.
Khodorkovsky's arrest cast a pall over the business community. Anyone who considered donning the mantle of philanthropist has understood that nothing is possible without the state's seal of approval.
Putin must realize that Russia cannot be a healthy country if he strangles civil society. The state cannot thrive when divorced from society. The Russian bureaucracy, waiting for guidance from above, is showing signs of indecision. Putin's effort to modernize Russia cannot succeed unless critical thinking is protected. If he fails to reverse course, Putin will undermine what he wants most—a strong state. The economic development that he seeks to foster will escape him.
(Excerpt) Read more at soros.org ...
FSB ACCUSES POLITKOVSKAYA OF WORKING FOR SOROS MONEY IN CHECHNYA
The regional operations headquarters for the antiterrorist operation in Chechnya has accused “Novaya gazeta” journalist Anna Politkovskaya of using her reporting trips to the republic to resolve her own financial problems, ntvru.com reported on 20 February, quoting Ekho Moskvy radio. Ilya Shabalkin, a representative of the Center for Public Relations of the Federal Security Service, charged that each of Politkovskaya’s trips arouses “unhealthy sensationalism.” He also reported that last year “Novaya gazeta” signed an agreement with the Soros Fund to participate in a project called “Hot Spots” for which it received $55,000. According to the website, military officials in Chechnya earlier accused Politkovskaya of trying to attract the attention of the public and media to further her own celebrity. Meanwhile, “Novaya gazeta” Deputy Editor in Chief Sergei Sokolov explained that “various officials in the federal forces and special services have expressed hostility — to put it mildly — toward” Politkovskaya. He continued that “she has received various threats and even had to leave the country” (see “RFE/RL Newsline,” 15 and 26 October 2001). Meanwhile, Soros officials told “Kommersant-Daily” on 21 February that Politkovskaya’s journalistic activities have nothing to do with the grant. JAC