Five years ago, Paul Klebnikov was murdered as he left his office in Moscow. Shot nine times. See the Russia Today video above for the details of the case. Since Klebnikov’s murder in 2004, the number of journalists killed in Russia ranges from tens to 44 depending on how you categorize them. The number of journalists attacked is even higher. According to the Glasnost Defense Foundation, since 2004 the number of journalists who’ve been attacked because of their work is in the hundreds. Sadly, the frequency in which reporters are attacked and killed in Russia makes Klebnikov’s death a grim statistic.
I was fortunate enough to meet the Klebnikov family last November when Paul’s widow, Musa, invited me to speak at their annual event to honor Mikhail Fishman, the recipient for the Paul Klebnikov Prize for Excellence in Journalism. Musa, and Paul’s brothers Peter and Michael were very gracious. And they have created a wonderful community of friends, family, and colleagues to commemorate Klebnikov’s work. It was an honor to be invited and to meet them. My thoughts go out to them this day.
It is also thanks to them that Klebnikov’s death is not simply a grim statistic. His memory is constantly evoked thanks to their tenacity in putting pressure on American and Russian officials to find Klebnikov’s killers. One can only hope that the announcement that officials from the US Justice Department will join the case will bear fruit.
His memory is also kept alive by his colleagues at Forbes, who have published a special report “Remembering Paul Klebnikov” to commemorate the five years since his death.
There isn’t much more to say. The dangers of exposing the malfeasance of rich and powerful in Russia are well known. Too well known.
All I can say is, fight on Musa, fight on . . .