My translation of Novaya gazeta calling Putin out.
Ramzan Kadyrov and the unnamed “officials of Chechnya”? They are all one in the same. We remember the names of those who questioned. It’s unknown whether “Kadyrov’s list” was written on down. About which are many rumors. But it has been obvious for a while that there are a number in Moscow, other exotic international capitals, and with a furious speed – in the Caucasus. Last entry on it – was reserved for Natasha.
And nevertheless – someone must answer. Still before killers will stand like Raduev at the prison doors. Some suggest that we don’t have a state. But we do have a state, and there are even people who know about these high-profile political murders in Russia (everyone) more that others. This person gave the “all clear” for tying Russia to Chechnya. He thought up a new type of power in the Russian Caucasus. This person claims that human rights activists such as Natalia Estemirova must be “jackals” who beg for scraps at foreign embassies.
Where the jackals, Vladimir Vladimirovich?
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As many already know, human rights lawyer Stanislav Markelov and Novaya gazeta journalist Anastasia Baburova were gunned down in Moscow near the Kropotkinskaya metro on Monday afternoon. According to reports, a man in a green ski mask approached Markelov from behind and unloaded a few rounds into his head, execution style. Baburova was seriously injured when she tried to intervene. She died in a local hospital a few hours earlier. The gunman fled the scene.
Kommersant gives this description of the killing:
At 2:45 p.m. Stanislav Markelov exited the International Press Center with Novaya gazeta journalist Anastasia Baburova. They went down Prechistenka toward the Koprotkinskaya metro station. The assailant, a young man of around 180 cm height, dressed in a black trench coat. dark jeans and a green ski mask, went from across the street towards them. He followed he followed his victims for several minutes, and then, not far from the metro, he crossed the street and shot the lawyer in the back of the head with a pistol with a silencer. After Stanislav Markelov fell, the killer quickly made his way down Gogolevskii boulevard. Shocked by the incident, Anastasia Baburova gathered herself, screamed, and what eyewitnesses say, she instinctively went after the murder. That sealed her fate. The criminal turned back and shot the young woman in the head. “Not many men would dare act in such a situation as she did,” Dmitrii Muratov the editor-in-chief of Novaya gazeta told Kommersant. According to him, Anastasia was a night student in the journalism department at MGU, and had worked for the newspaper since October of last year. Her writings dedicated to investigating the activities of neo-fascist groups. She died from her wounds in the evening. She never regained consciousness.
Robert Amsterdam has already done a rapid fire blitz of posts on the incident. I recommend readers to point their mouse there.
Markelov was clearly the victim of a contract killing. He was representing the family of Elza Kungayeva, 18, a Chechen woman who was allegedly raped then strangled to death by Colonel Yuri Budanov in 2000. Budanov was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2005, but was paroled after serving three for “good behavior.” Markelov called his release “illegal” and fought to keep the defrocked colonel behind bars. Budanov walked nevertheless. Now he has his revenge.
The Russian news coverage has been extensive. Reactions have been quick. More will certainly be forthcoming in the days ahead. Suffice to say that the murders prove that Medvedev’s “legalistic” Russia is no safer for human rights workers, lawyers, or journalists than Putin’s Russia. Hopefully, Medvedev won’t make the same mistake his mentor did by keeping silent after the Politkovskaya murder. All international eyes will be focused on Russia waiting for any gesture of recognition on the part of the President. For as Sergei Mitrokhin, the leader of Yabloko, stated that “This crime shows that political murder remains a determinant in Russian society.” Unfortunately, he’s right.
Here is Russia Today‘s report:Post Views: 49
Stanislav Markelov had a lot of enemies. In addition to representing the Kungayev family, his other clients included: Khimkinskaya Pravda editor Mikhail Beketov (he’s on the verge of death), Chechen Yana Neserkhoyeva, a Nord-Ost hostage accused of helping terrorists in 2002, Zelimkhan Murdalov, a kidnapped Grozny resident who was tortured to death by an OMON officer, and AntiFa activist Alexei Olesinov. Representing these types of people will make you enemies of Russian nationalists, Chechens, local businessmen, police and security forces, and skinheads. There is also, of course, Colonel Yuri Budanov, whose release last week was opposed by Markelov.
That list of enemies makes for a long list of potential perpetrators. Logic dictates that Budanov is the chief suspect, but the colonel denies any involvement in the murder. “Do you think that after several days of freedom I had a burning desire to do more time?” he told Komsomolskaya pravda in an interview. He called the murder a “provocation.”
Some suspect skinheads did the deed given that Markelov was attacked by five of them in 2004. Apparently he received several SMS threats from skins in the says before his murder. But can we really expect skins to use a silencer? Their methods tend to be a bit cruder.
Then, as always, there is the Chechen angle. As it seems with most murders of high profile personalities in Russia, there is a conspiracy behind the conspiracy, where a Chechen or a deposed oligarch stands at the end of a complex nefarious web. Sometimes these are viewed as one of the same entity. But this time it’s solely Chechens, according to Vladimir Karchevsky, the lawyer for the Markelov family. “Budanov is a smokescreen for the real murderer,” the jurist told Izvestiia. “The real murderer probably timed his crime to coincide with Budanov’s release – in order to deflect suspicions.”
Izvestiia even suggested that Markelov might have known something about Anna Politkovskaya’s murderer. I’m sure that this is only the beginning of what kind of tales will be spun around this one.
While the list of potential killers is long, Markelov’s work also got him a lot of friends as memorials to his memory attest. Hundreds of people gathered at the site where Markelov and Anastatsia Baburova were slain on Monday. Even a Russian Orthodox priest stressed that Markelov and Buburova’s death fell on Epiphany. Hopefully this will translate into a social epiphany on the dangers Russian lawyers and journalists face. Gatherings of AntiFa activists occured in St. Petersburg and Moscow to honor Markelov and Baburova. Barburova’s writings focused on Russian neo-nazis and anti-fascism (Also see her Live Journal blog. OpenDemocracy.net has translated of some of her last blog entries.). Thousands marched in Grozny to remember Markelov’s work on the behalf of the war torn republic Chechnya. Apparently, Markelov even has friends among Razman Kadyrov’s government. Upon hearing of the jurist’s death, the Chechen hetman awarded him with a postumous medal to recognize “his merits to the Chechen Republic.” “Stanislav Markelov was held in special esteem in our republic,” Kadyrov said. “His name was a synonym for justice.”
In the end, the memory of Markelov and Barburova might be all people have. Justice in these cases is rarely forthcoming. Instead we have a kind of perpetual danse macabre between killers and their victims. As an editorial in Novaya gazeta reminds us, “The killers have no fear because they know they will not be punished. But neither are their victims afraid, because when you defend others you cease to fear.”Post Views: 75
A definitive narrative is forming in the Russian mainstream press about the Markelov-Baburova murders. This narrative says that it is unlikely that Colonel Yuriy Budanov has any connection to the murder because he has the most to lose. In fact, the quick finger pointing at Budanov is exactly what those crafty killers want us to do! As Aleksandr Kots writes in Komsomolka:
It would be no surprise if the real murderers were actually counting on this reaction. Their aim was probably not so much the man’s death as the uproar that would follow. And there is no doubt that this crime will draw as wide a reaction as the murder of journalist Anna Politkovskaya — it was staged too “successfully” and professionally. “Russia releases a war criminal who, upon gaining his freedom, starts taking revenge,” they will begin to say in the West. “Here is the true demonic face of the Russian authorities,” fugitive extremists and oligarchs of (exiled businessman Boris) Berezovsky’s caliber will chime in. “We did warn you!” And within Russia there will be a great torrent of accusations from human rights activists of every stripe, driving yet another wedge between the Caucasus and the rest of Russia to the beat of an invisible conductor’s baton.
Isn’t this the same line of reasoning the authorities gave for the Litvinenko and Politkovskaya murders? That the political murders were carried out by some nefarious force with the hopes of damaging Russia good name? Now I’m not saying that Kremlin Inc. (I’ll leave that to the Washington Post to make those insinuations) or that even Budanov is responsible (though I still think he is the logical prime suspect. Still, one must acknowledge that Markelov had a long list of enemies.), but this excuse is getting a bit old. In fact, it is a bit strange that the pro-Russia and Russophobic contingents appear to converge on the idea that there is a greater conspiracy behind every killing.
Another interesting addition to this narrative appears to be an effort to turn Baburova from collateral damage into a bona fide target of the killer. Kots throws out this theory:
As for slain journalist Anastasiya Baburova, she probably came under fire by chance, being next to the lawyer at that fateful moment. Incidentally, theories are already circulating that the hit men might also have been targeting (journalist) Yuliya Latynina, who not so long announced that she had received death threats. It is possible that the perpetrators mistook the young girl for the famous journalist, to whom she bears a certain resemblance…
Do we really need to feed Latynina’s paranoid narcissism? I hope that this nonsense doesn’t gain any traction beyond blurting out theories. Talk about feeding the beast. Just wait until the Western media gets a hold of that one. Especially since tying all of Russia’s political murders into a singular, nicely knotted narrative is already in the air . . .
Stanislav Markelov was buried yesterday at the Ostankinskii cemetery in Moscow. Around 200 people attended the jurists funeral in silence. There were no eulogies or speeches at the request of Markelov’s brother Mikhail. After the funeral Henry Reznik, the president of the Moscow Lawyers’ Guild, said a few words to reporters on behalf of his colleagues. “It’s clear that this is revenge. This crime is not against an individual and not against lawyers. It is against the state. This is an insolent demonstration of murder that occurred two steps from the Kremlin.” Indeed an attack on a Russian lawyer is also a strike against the legal system at large.
Several friends and colleagues gathered to bid farewell to Anastasia Baburova. Her parents arrived in Moscow to claim her body. She will be buried in her native Sevastopol.
Despite these solemn tributes to Markelov and Baburova, the politics of their memory has inflamed emotions, especially among Russia’s anarchist/anti-fascist community. Police detained 30 out of the 300 mostly anti-fascist youths who marched in an unsanctioned protest through the center of Moscow. A few anarchists smashed some shop windows and bashed escalator lamps as they fled into the metro. The outrage is apparent in this marcher’s response to those shocked by the “violence”
Honestly, I could not get my head around why they were so obsessed with those windows and bits of plastic, which at most are worth one thousandth of a commercial bank’s daily profits, when two very good people had been murdered and these people weren’t even strangers to the marchers.
Police halted a more subdued march in St. Petersburg. In Novosibirsk, a group of anarchists were attacked by a group of skinheads armed with “wooden clubs.” Chto Delat has more on antifa protesters confrontations with police.
Finally the murders have brought of another issue: whether journalists (and lawyers for that matter) should carry arms to protect themselves. Alexander Lebedev thinks so. The owner of Novaya gazeta (and now the new owner of the London Evening Standard which he purchased a 75,1 percent stake for £1) called on his reporters to carry guns. “The authorities don’t take seriously their responsibilities for the safety of Novaya Gazeta staff,” said Lebedev. “If the FSB is unable to guarantee the protection and safety of our journalists, we will try to defend them ourselves.” In an interview with Ekho Moskvy, Lebedev expanded on his reasoning.
“You tell me. … We have three options. The first one–to leave and turn off the lights … The second–to stop working. In other words, to stop writing about the special services, corruption, drugs, construction, fascists; to stop investigating the crimes of the powerful structures. Just to stop working! … The third option is to somehow defend ourselves. The state cannot defend us. It just cannot! It has gigantic defense budgets, a huge number of agencies. But, in general, it is busy doing its own business.”
Indeed, Novaya especially has suffered “war-like casulties” over the last few years. Baburova is the fourth Novaya jounralist (the others being Igor Domnikov, Yuri Shchekochikhin, and Anna Politkovskaya) to suffer a violent death since 2001. Unsuprisingly, the police shot down this idea saying “the more guns, the more disorder.”
In regard to who might have caused the latest incident of disorder, the trail is dead cold. The police have little evidence to go on. They have no witnesses who saw the killer. Images from security cameras don’t reveal the his face (he was wearing a ski mask anyway) but investigators are still working with the video. The killer didn’t even drop the gun which is characteristic of professional hits. The only hard evidence the police have are the bullets that downed Markelov and Baburova.
Given this, it already looks like these brazen killings are on track to becoming like other Russian political murders: unsolved.Post Views: 74