Last week Lt. Col. Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov was arrested in Moscow and charged with masterminding the murder of hero journalist Anna Politkovskaya. At the time he did so, Pavlyuchenkov was head of surveillance at Moscow’s Main Internal Affairs Directorate, the city’s main police force. At long last, in other words, the world has learned that it was not some rogue elements from Chechnya, acting on the orders of Ramzan Kadyrov, who liquidated Politkovskaya.
It was the Moscow Kremlin.
A Thousand days to Apocalypse in Russia
On May 14, 2011, Russia switched on a countdown timer in the city of Sochi to tick off the days remaining until the 2014 Winter Olympiad unfolds there. The clock should have been in the shape of a ticking time bomb, in order to do justice to horror of anticipating what may be the bloodiest sports contest in modern memory.
Just the day before, Russia had gone down to utterly humiliating defeat to tiny Finland, getting blanked 0-3, at the semi-finals of the world ice hockey championships in Slovakia (Russia then promptly surrendered seven goals to Czech Republic and lost the bronze medal as well) . The world was reminded that Russia is inviting it to gape upon the spectacle of Russian failure in 2014; if Russians are unable to meet the high expectations for gold medals the whole country will be forced to bow its head in shame.
But even if Russians manage to reap a fistful of gold in Sochi, they still must face the horrifying specter of terrorism.
Hero journalist Yelena Milashina, an investigative journalist for Novaya Gazeta, and a recipient of Human Rights Watch’s 2010 Alison Des Forges award for extraordinary activism, writing in The Wall Street Journal:
The terrorist attack at Domodedovo Airport last week, likely organized by Islamists from the North Caucasus, claimed 36 lives. Less than a year ago, 40 people died in the March bombing of the Moscow metro, also carried out by Chechen Islamists.
Prior to the metro attack there hadn’t been a bombing in Moscow for nearly six years. In summer 2004, militants acting on orders of Chechen leader Shamil Basayev organized a series of terrorist attacks in several cities. The culmination of these attacks was the seizure of a school in the small Ossetian city of Beslan in September 2004. When Russian troops stormed the school, 333 hostages died, including 186 children.
Vladimir Kara-Murza, writing on World Affairs Journal:
Another year, another terrorist attack in Russia. On January 24, a suspected suicide bomber detonated an explosive device in the arrivals zone at Domodedovo, Moscow’s busiest airport. Thirty-five people were killed and more than a hundred were injured. As Vladimir Putin prepares for this year’s parliamentary “elections” and a possible return to the Kremlin in 2012, his “pacification” of the North Caucasus has once again been proven a failure. Not that more proof was needed after last year’s attack on Lubyanka metro station – literally under the nose of the FSB, Russia’s Federal Security Service.
The Russian “Legal” System, Out of Control
That’s when dissident oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky can expect to leave the Siberian prison cell where he has been held since October 2003. He’ll serve 14 long, brutal years — and indeed may not live to complete his term. Then again, since he has just been sentenced a second time for the same offense he’s already served years for allegedly committing, what is to stop Russian dictator Vladimir Putin from taking a third bite at the apple. Or a fourth?
“The verdict has nothing to do with justice,” said Karinna Moskalenko, Khodorkovsky’s attorney. That’s putting it mildly.
We have long warned about the danger of the “give Russia a chance” advice. We have warned that if you “give Russia a chance” to do the right thing on Khodorkovsky, you play into the Kremlin’s hands, allowing it to consolidate power and present horrific misdeeds as fait accompli. What can be done now to influence Russia’s manifest persecution of a political rival to the Kremlin? Nothing.
And so the Kremlin will continue and persecute more rivals, until there are none. In fact, the so-called Russian “justice system” has been on something of a feeding frenzy of late. And that does not surprise us.
Remember how dangerous it is for any Russian to criticize the Putin regime over Chechnya, as best illustrated by the murders of Anna Politkovskaya, Natalia Estemirova and Stanislav Markelov, a recent interview by Boris Nemtsov is truly breathtaking in its courage. Paul Goble reports:
The North Caucasus at the present time is “our Palestine,” Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov says, the result of the deal between Vladimir Putin and Ramzan Kadyrov in which the former has purchased the loyalty of the latter for cash and at the price of allowing the Chechen leader and his minions to do what they like throughout Russia.
If Russia is to escape from this dilemma, Nemtsov said in the course of an online press conference, several steps are necessary because as the Manezh violence shows the problems of that region are no longer confined to it but rather spreading throughout Russian society.
Caucasus Rebels, getting Bolder by the Minute
They are getting bolder by the minute. Why, it’s almost like Shamil Basayev were still calling the shots.
Last week a bomb ripped through a security cordon outside a theater in Grozny, Chechnya. Inside was the regional dictator and homicidal lunatic Ramzan Kadyrov himself, watching a show. Next time, the local rebels were obviously saying, the bomb will be inside the theater and Kadyrov (and his cadres) will be dead.
So much for Kadyrov having pacified the Caucasus rebels.
Я – реальный представитель Кремля. Я – полностью человек Владимира Путина. Я никогда не предам Путина, никогда не подведу его. Клянусь Всевышним: я скорее 20 раз умру. Я – мужчина и уважаю Путина как мужественного человека, как настоящего мужчину, мудрого политика. А вот если направить ещё какого-то спецпредставителя на Кавказ, то ситуация станет лучше?
I am the Kremlin’s official representative in Chechnya. I am fully Vladimir Putin’s man. I will never betray Putin, never fail him. I swear to God that I would sooner die twenty ttimes than do either. I respect Mr. Putin as a courageous man, as a real man, a wise policymaker.
– Ramzan Kadyrov to the Russian publication Versiya, January 11, 2010.
You can judge a man’s character by the company he keeps. In this case, it’s hard to know which man is tarnished more by association with the other. Suffice it to say that they are birds of a slim-covered feather.
The Beast of Chechnya
It’s almost as if Ramzan Kadyrov, designated and decorated as a national hero of Russia by Vladimir Putin, wants to help us folks here at La Russophobe prove conclusively what an inhuman neo-Soviet monster he is. Why else, we can’t help but wonder, would he publicly say this about Natalia Estemirova:
She never had any honor, dignity or conscience. Why should Kadyrov kill a woman whom nobody needs?
Yes, he referred to himself in the third person. Yes, he accused this single working mother who laid down her life for her beliefs of having no honor. Yes, though she worked tirelessly and selflessly to protect the rights of the defenseless, he said she had no conscience. Yes, he displayed for all the world his absolute contempt for her, confirming his motive to kill her. Yes, he ignored her international reputation and many awards for journalistic and human rights achievement, something very few other Chechnya activists can boast of, and still claimed she mattered to nobody — ignoring too the hundreds of newspapers articles that deluged the worldwide media after her brutal killing.
Well, all we can say is “thank you, Mr. Kadyrov.” You’ve made our argument with your own words far better than we could ever dream of doing. And, of course, the continued support of our maniacal, malignant, homicidal regime by the Moscow Kremlin tells the world all it needs to know about that regime as well.
Radio Free Europe has more analysis of the psychopathic ravings of this bloodthirsty, homicidal maniac who is Russia’s “hero.”
Ramzan Kadyrov, Murderer
“You understand that you are putting yourself in grave danger. You need to change your style of work.”
–Nurdi Nukhazhiyev, spokesman for Chechen dictator Ramzan Kadyrov, to Oleg Orlov, head of the Memorial human rights NGO, at a meeting on July 10, 2009, four days before Orlov’s lead journalist, Natalia Estemirova, was kidnapped in Grozy, murdered and dumped at the roadside in Ingushetia.
The man with the golden gun
You may find those words shocking, but they are nothing compared to what Kadyrov himself was prepared to say to Estemirova herself, in person. He stated: “I have blood from my hands to my elbows.” This was after calling her into his office to criticize her reporting of human rights abuses by his military cadres. It was after Kadyrov “yelled at her, asked questions about who she lived with, where her relatives were and how old her daughter was.” Alexander Cherkasov, a Chechnya expert at Memorial, told reporters at a news conference: “With Kadyrov she spoke like a schoolteacher — she put this D-student in his place. But he knew how to do more than just spit wads of paper from the back row.”
Of course, the Russian media is not reporting any of it.
Kadyrov the Beast
We always know when the Kremlin is starting to panic, because the rhetoric of its malignant denizens goes from infantile to senile to simply bestial. With four major attacks on leading Caucasus Kremlin puppets in as many weeks, the Kremlin is getting desperate and its utterances are getting scary.