Remembering Russia’s Fallen Patriots

The Conjecturer offers the following reminder of those who have been brutally killed for confronting Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin. It’s well to remember that they are Russia’s true patriots, and the malignant little trolls who dwell with in the redbrick walls of the Kremlin are Russia’s true enemies. Yet, as is often the case in Russia, Russians see things through the looking glass.

Since his ascension to the presidency in 2000, the never-changing face of Vladimir Putin has seen a shocking number of dissidents murdered: twelve at the moment. Naturally, the murderers remain eternal mysteries, but let’s be frank: it is no surprise that the head of the KGB in the GDR, and later the head of the FSB (which is the post-Soviet KBG) behaves like… well, the head of the KGB?

Possibly more ominous is the state of Russian journalism. The few papers and TV stations left that have not been either outright nationalized or purchased by state mega-corporations (like Gazprom) are left in a precarious position. Reporting on the very endemic corruption and organized crime in Russia is a shockingly dangerous occupation. After a few hours of digging, I found 18 reporters have been murdered in one way or another, and either obvious non-suspects (like homeless people from other cities) were named as perpetrators, or they remained unsolved.

Almost as depressing as knowing they were murdered for exposing the corruption in their society is how hard it was to dig up their pictures (I couldn’t find one)… almost as if they didn’t exist. Forgetting the is the worst kind of murder.

These are the heroes fighting for a Russia free of tyranny. They are heroes.

Igor Domnikov, 7/16/00. Reporter from same paper as Anna Politkovskaya. Beaten over the head in front of his apartment building, after being mistaken for Oleg Sultanov, who lived in the same building and had been targeted.
Sergey Novikov, 7/26/00. Radio DJ loudly critical of the government. Shot four times in his own stairwell.
Iskandar Khatloni, 9/21/00. Reporter for Tajik language RFE/RL, and reported on human rights abuses in Chechnya (a sadly common theme). Attacked by an axe in his apartment.
Sergey Ivanov, 10/3/00. Director of independent TV company, known for its influence in local politics. Shot five times in the head and chest in front of his apartment.
Adam Tepsurgayev, 11/21/00. Reuters reporter covering the Chechen conflict. Shot at a neighbor’s house.
Eduard Markevich, 9/19/01. Local reporter who was vocal critic of local officials. Shot in the back on his way to work.
Natalia Skryl, 3/8/02. Investigative reporter covering corrupt local businesses. Found near her home with a massive head injury.
[no picture] Sergei Kalinovsky, unknown date of death. Disappeared 12/14/01, body discovered 4/1/02. Reporter on local crime and politics, disappeared 12/14/00 after saying he was going “to an important meeting.” His body was covered in bruises, and his apartment was later destroyed by an unknown arsonist.
Dmitry Shvets, 4/18/03. Director-general of independent TV station in Murmansk, reporting on local corruption and embarrassing politicians. Gunned down outside his station’s offices.
Valery Ivanov (on left), 4/29/02. Investigating criminal gang linked to Lada factory. Found with multiple automatic gunshot wounds in his car in front of his home.
Alexei Sidorov, 10/19/03. Known for exposés on organized crime, mysteriously knifed during a random street fight by an unidentified assailant outside a bar.
Paul Khlebnikov, 7/9/04. American investigative journalist working for Russian Forbes, opposed to the intersection of the mafia and government in Moscow. Killed in drive-by shooting outside his office.
Pavel Makeev, 5/21/05. Investigated organized crime, murdered while investigating illegal drag racing. Body found dragged by car and his camera was stolen.
Magomedzagid Varisov, 6/28/05. Reported on local crime and terrorism, and wrote against the opposition in Dagestan. Shot as he was being driven home with his wife.
Vagif Kochetkov, 1/8/06. Repeatedly clubbed in the back of head after publishing a report on a drug ring in the city of Tula. He died two weeks later of massive head trauma.
Ilia Zimin, 2/26/06. NTV reporter who used hidden cameras to look into hygiene at Moscow restaurants. Found face down in pool of blood with blunt force trauma to the head.
Yevgeny Gerasimenko, 7/26/06. Part-time investigative journalist opposed to local corruption. Found with plastic bag over face, body showed evidence of torture.
Anna Politkovskya, 10/7/06. Human rights activist, opposition to atrocities in Chechnya and presidency of Vladimir Putin. Shot in her apartment building.

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