Putley on Markelov

Murder in the Time of Putin

by Jeremy Putley

Original to La Russophobe

Eduardr and Larisa Baburov pay last respects to their daughter Anastasia Baburova, who was shot dead with human-rights lawyer Stanislav Markelov, in Moscow, Friday, Jan. 23, 2009.

Eduard and Larisa Baburov pay last respects to their daughter Anastasia Baburova, who was shot dead with human-rights lawyer Stanislav Markelov, in Moscow, Friday, Jan. 23, 2009.

Murder is the most distinguishing aspect of Vladimir Putin’s time in high office. Murders carried out by agents of the government, by government-sponsored members of the siloviki, above all by the Russian military in Chechnya, and by Putin’s protégé Ramzan Kadyrov as Chechnya’s ruler, will surely come to be recognised by historians of the era as the feature which most distinguishes the leadership of Vladimir Putin from his predecessors. Murder has not been so common an occurrence in Russia since the days of Joseph Stalin. Murders certainly became more frequent during the presidency of Boris Yeltsin than they had been, but beginning with the assassination of Galina Starovoitova by agents of the Russian security services in 1998, when Putin was head of the KGB, the frequency of murder has been on the increase, while endemic corruption continues unchecked.

Putin’s rule began in blood. The 1999 apartment building bomb explosions in Moscow and other cities killed more than 300. These murders, carried out to provide a spurious justification for prime minister Putin’s war in Chechnya, are believed with good reason by historians to have been the work of agents of the Russian FSB – particularly because they were never properly investigated.

Murder victims since 1999 must be counted to include the massive number of citizens of Chechnya, both Russian and Chechen, who were murdered by the armed forces of the Russian Federation sent to Chechnya by Putin during the Second Chechnya War. The atrocities in Chechnya are well documented, and serious students of the subject are able to access an archive of more than 56,000 press reports and articles accumulated at Norbert Strade’s Chechnya List as well as several worthwhile books. Murders attributed to the “authorities” continue to be a very frequent occurrence in the Caucasus region.

One remembers without difficulty particularly the murdered heroine Anna Politkovskaya; politicians and journalists Sergei Yushenkov, Yuri Shchekochikhin, Paul Klebnikov; and the dissident Alexander Litvinenko, murdered in London with Russian polonium. Less well known, but of interest as cases of other Russian murders abroad, the Chechen Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev was murdered in 2004 in Qatar by Russian government agents; the Chechen Islam Dzhanibekov, described as a former separatist commander, was murdered in December 2008 in Istanbul; the Chechen refugee Umar Israilov was murdered on 13 January 2009 in Vienna, after he had made an application to the European Court of Human Rights in which he accused Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov of being personally involved in serious human rights violations, including torture.

And now, just a few days ago, we read that “on January 19, 2009, Russian human rights attorney Stanislav Markelov was shot in the back of the head with a silenced pistol as he left a press conference at which he announced his intention to sue the Russian government for its early release of the Col. Yuri Budanov, who murdered his 18-year-old client in Chechnya five years earlier. Also shot and killed was Anastasia Barburova, a young journalism student who was working for Novaya Gazeta and who had studied under Anna Politkovskaya, reporting on the Budanov proceedings.”

When I read the news that the rapist and murderer Colonel Yuri Budanov, Hero of Russia, formerly commander of a tank regiment in the brutal Second Chechnya War, was to be released in January, a year and a half early, I jokingly told friends that, if they should receive news of my assassination, they should not overlook a possible Russian trace arising out of the Budanov affair. Admittedly my influence in securing the rapist-murderer and Hero of Russia a much-deserved term of imprisonment could only have been minor at best. I had engaged in a brief correspondence with the ambassador in London, Grigory Karasin, who later became (and still is) deputy foreign minister in the regime of Vladimir Putin. The ambassador had written a letter to the Daily Telegraph, complaining of “blasphemy” in a story in that paper about the wartime record of the rapes committed in Berlin by the Russian army, and I had written to him saying that a failure to punish the rapist-murderer and HoR would stand as confirmation to the world that rape is still condoned by the Russian military. I would like to think that the ambassador reported to his minister that if Budanov was let off scot-free, as then seemed highly likely, considering that the rapist-murderer and HoR was sympathetically admired by such luminaries as defence minister Sergei Ivanov, it would not be well-received by British public opinion.

In passing I might add that Russian history does not acknowledge such undoubted facts as that, in Germany at the end of the Second World War, the achievements of the Russian military included, as the historian Antony Beevor has written, a vast number of rapes, estimated to be as many as two million. It is said that the Red Army War Memorial in Berlin was known to the wartime generation as the “tomb of the unknown rapist.” Reference to such facts of history tends to produce furious reactions from patriotic Russians, but it is an undoubted and much-commented fact that Russia has yet to come to terms with much of its past, and this is only one instance of that failure. No doubt it was very annoying of me, but I sent the ambassador my copy of “A Woman in Berlin” (published 1955) inscribed with the words, “Please remember Elsa Kungaeva, murdered in Chechnya on 27 March 2000 by Colonel Yuri Budanov of the Russian Army” – Mr Karasin did not write to thank me.

So when the news came out that Stanislav Markelov, the talented and heroic young lawyer, had been shot dead in Prechistenka Street in broad daylight in Moscow, on 19 January, just about a week after Budanov’s premature release from jail, it was a terrible shock, but not completely unexpected. Murder is one of the atrocities to which we are now so well accustomed in Putin’s Russia. Markelov was an attorney who, in the trial of Colonel Budanov, had represented the family of the 18-year-old victim, Elsa. Strangely, or perhaps not strangely, the charge of rape against Budanov had been dropped, notwithstanding the compelling forensic evidence.

It is not possible to conclude with any certainty that Budanov had a hand in the Markelov assassination. The cases in which Markelov had been engaged had frequently been against enemies of whom any number may be suspects in his murder. It is not without significance, though, that the message Markelov received on his mobile phone on January 14, five days before his death, read as follows: “You, brainless animal … again sticking your nose into Budanov’s case??!! Idiot, you couldn’t find a calmer method of suicide??? Go quickly to the centre of transplantology, and perhaps your innards will be useful there for somebody … at least you won’t die in vain then … and perhaps you will get some money … You really decided to improve this year by relieving us of your presence?”

Many commentators have written that a Russia in which murder is frequently, even normally, used against opponents of many different sorts is a product of the policies and political priorities of Vladimir Putin. People who remember the murder of Alexander Litvinenko will also understand that, after Putin’s promulgation of a law permitting the killing of “extremists” abroad, opponents of the rich and powerful, including the siloviki, who have fled abroad can easily become targets for assassination. More recently, as described above, targets among the Chechen diaspora have been assassinated in western countries by agents of the Russian state, or have been murdered by killers in the employ of Putin’s brutal protégé Ramzan Kadyrov. It would, therefore, be a normal reaction for any commentator taking up his or her pen to criticize the Putin regime to imagine – no matter how distant the country in which they live – that they too could become a target.

Murder Inc. is alive, prospering, and dwells in Moscow!

It is, inevitably, to experience a shock of cognitive dissonance when observing that, in spite of the amorality of his leadership, and the grave crimes which have defined and are continuing to define his period in office, people pay serious attention to prime minister Putin as he addresses the economic forum in Davos, or when he is reported as saying that “his biggest fault is that he is too trusting”, and reveals his love for ice-cream in large amounts ever since his childhood. What we learn of such a man is, to quote Shakespeare, that one may smile, and smile, and be a villain.

My hope is that Putin will now be brought to understand that he should stand down. A well-merited retirement should become his ambition – an ambition he should be encouraged to pursue by a new, clear-sighted American administration which, unlike the benighted presidency of George W Bush, is able to assess the man and recognise his moral defects, and the blemished record which renders him unfit to retain credibility as the leader of a great nation.

Jeremy Putley is a frequent contributor to La Russophobe and one of this blog’s oldest and most respected friends.  Previously, he has written for us on topics such as the Litvinenko investigation and the Beslan atrocity.  After we published his letter to the editor of the Financial Times about the persecution of Svetlana Bakhmina when the paper itself failed to do so and noted the absence of a Wikipedia page on the dissident lawyer, the Wiki page was finally created.

58 responses to “Putley on Markelov

  1. Today is nine years after Novye Aldy residents were executed in Chechnya
    http://www.eng.kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/9264

  2. LA RUSSOPHOBE RESPONDS:

    Thanks for the tip! The correction has been made.

  3. LR

    1) quote”Murder has not been so common an occurrence in Russia since the days of Joseph Stalin”unquote. Typically yours horse of feather. During years of perestroica and Yeltsin shok-reforma (since 1989 to 1999) killing of people had been happening constantly it was a usual things. Many people were murdered in front of their houses or work places. People were affraid to go out. There was a GREAT CRIMINAL TERROR then. At least tens thousend of people were killed then. But western leaders and western pressa remain silent because Gorb and Yelts were “GOOD GUYS” unluke Putin who is a “THE WORST GUY IN THE WORLD “. Perhaps it is true for you but no for Russian citizens! Putin stopped GREAT CRIMINAL TERROR, people feel safety now it is explanation of Putin`s high rating in Russia.
    Otherwise during governing Saakashvilly were killed many Georgians. All deaths were strange and were advantageous for president of Georgia. Russian killings/murders and Georgian killings/murders are amazingly similar. Westerns accuse the worst guy in the world Putin but remain silent about the good guy Saakashv. It is example of yours lie which is based on double standart. Are you still amazed at the fact that Russians disapproval of western policy?
    2) Killing or arrest of “Ichkerians combatants” such as Zelimchan Jandarbiev, Hattab, Maschadov, Basaev, Gelaev, Baraev, Raduev, ect. who was terrorists and fought against our country is not a crime. We acted in order of safeguard. Liquidation such enemies is a part of military operation and a great Russian success. Circumstances of other death does not investigate. Fault of Putin in these cases are not proved by competent authority. But westerns (especially USA and UK) accuse Putin of these cases. It is a violation presumption of innocence that is tipically for western justice.

  4. To “I am Russian”

    Despite your drunken blabbering, the truth is out there for anyone to see:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_journalists_killed_in_Russia

    The political murders in Russia started in 2000, right after the power in Russia was finally grabbed by the FSB-cleptocracy complex, so fittingly represented by Putin.

    With the exception of October 1993 (the Constitutional crisis) there aren’t any journalist murders before 200o, but in 2000 they really blossom and continue up to this day.

    Do you see a pattern here? Has power really changed hands when Putin “left” the Presidency?

    You could do yourself a favor and watch “Rebellion”, a documentary about Litvinenko who shows the very mundane and sordid reasons why Russia is today the property of the Lubyanka gang.

  5. Cornelui Coposu

    1) Journalist Vlad Listjev was killed between 1993 and 2000.
    2) No only journalists live in Russia but also another citizens! I lived in Russia in 1990-e and lives now and I repeat that thanks to Putin life of citizens became more safeguard.

  6. Thank God I'm not Russian

    Corneliu,

    the first high profile murder of a journalist in post-USSR Russia was the murder of Vlad Listyev in 1995 (that was when mass murders in Chechnia were already in full swing): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vladislav_Listyev .

    A 1996 article in Forbes Godfather of the Kremlin by Paul Klebnikov accused Boris Berezovsky of ordering the murder.

    Klebnikov, who published a book with the same title in September 2000, was murdered in April 9, 2004.

    The truth is, the Bolshevik/KGB gangsters have never lost power in Russia, just readjusted to new economic realities.

  7. “During years of perestroica and Yeltsin shok-reforma (since 1989 to 1999) killing of people had been happening constantly it was a usual things. Many people were murdered in front of their houses or work places. People were affraid to go out. There was a GREAT CRIMINAL TERROR then.
    (…)
    Killing or arrest of “Ichkerians combatants” such as Zelimchan Jandarbiev (…) who was terrorists and fought against our country is not a crime. We acted in order of safeguard. Liquidation such enemies is a part of military operation and a great Russian success.”

    Yandarbiyev was never a combatant and never fought, he was a writer and a politician. In his murder (“military opeation”: detonation of a car bomb on a street of foreign country that is not at war with Russia) the criminals – two SVR officers – identified, arrested and sentenced to life in prison for murder and act of terrorism.

    During the “GREAT CRIMINAL TERROR” the smalltime KGB officer Putin helped the Mafia’s operation in Germany, before returning an becaming a career official in the Yelstin’s criminal government – and in this position he was selected by Berezovsky to become the new president (and a few eggs had to be broken to make the public nobody such as Putin into a popular figure – “tens thousend of people were killed” in Russia, again, ” a great Russian success”).

  8. Thank God I’m not Russian:

    It’s highly unlikely Berezovsky would kill the American journalist 8 years after the article and 4 years after the book, when for years already in self-exile, risking his political asylum in Britain.

    I believe Berezovsky was however instrumental in the making of Putin, which centered around a wave of bogus terrorism and an undeclared civil war killing tens of thousands of people in 1999-2000, thus earning the Putin’s “tough guy” image (“a major Russian city leveled=awesome”). As the peaking point of this highly popular horror-war approached Yeltsin resigned giving all power to his newest PM, and voila.

    Of course, Putin then turned on his promoter – just like Hitler soon got rid of many and sidelined others, or Stalin of his “old comrades”. (Btw, the film Hitler: Rise of Evil ends with several scenes of the original National Socialists being eliminated – Ernst Hanfstaengl becomes an exiled anti-Hitler activist, and this instantly reminded me of Berezovsky.)

  9. The photograph of Anastasia’s parents at her casket says it all, there is such sadness in her father’s face. No parent should ever have to say good-bye to their child like this. My religion tells me that God is merciful, but it also tells me that my God is a god of justice. I pray that God brings his justice down upon those who did this, those that allow this to happen, ten-fold.

  10. There is a difference between the CRIMINAL killings of the Yeltsin years and the POLITICAL killings of the Putin regime. During the Yeltsin years, many Russian policemen actually attempted to solve the murders and bring the perpetrators to justice, often losing their lives in the process. Today, under Putins orchestrated system of political killings, Russian policement not only “fail” to solve the murders, they do not investigate at all, and are frequently involved in either facilitating or carrying out the murders of those on Putins hit list.

  11. Barb, I agree entirely. God bless Anastasia, and bring peace to her family, and punish and smite those responsible for her and Markelovs murder root & branch.

  12. barb its sad. Law is lacking in Russia, so instead of peacefuly rotting in jail for aiding and abetting terrorirists, a sell-out lawyer has to get liquidated in such a brutal manner. Shameful.

  13. AKM: What “terrorirists” he was “aiding and abetting”? Names, dates and circumstances, please (seems you know something more then the Russia’s so-called justice system did about him).

  14. Putin stopped a GREAT CRIMINAL TERROR which was performed by Yeltsin`s “democratic authorities” and their westerns patrons. So I will be support Putin in the following elections.

  15. More crap from AKM. Showing your lack of brains and humanity as usual. Well done.
    You are a walking representation of the sterotypical russian barbarian.

  16. Haha, Putin and the rest were part of what you called “Yeltsin`s democratic authorities” – and he was even the hand-picked successor.

    What he, Patrushev and Ivanov did, was reorganization of the ruling mafiya system (the so-called “Russian government”) – the former KGB of his stopped to be merely “tough guys” deputies to the civilian mafiosi (“the oligarchs”, in addition to the old siloviki mafiosi in the style of Grachev and most of the other Russian generals, hardly any was not corrupt) and become the mafia’s top cheftains themselves (the KGB “oligarchs”, “ministers”, “regional rulers”, and so on) and of course one of them as “the president”. Most of the old civilian or military mafiya (“government”) leaders were steadily eliminated or sidelined, so the top thieves are now in the government.

    Much of the early violence was also from the turf wars of the Afghanistan veterans over the control of kiosks and such little stuff, quite not-organized crime in comparison to the real criminals – now it’s very organized and orderly (“the vertical of power”). Btw, there are still many more murders per capita in Russia than in the democratic countires, but of course there are many more various deaths in Russia than in the western countries (ilnesses, accidents, suicides).

    The turf-war violence in the Caucasus never stopped – and now increasingly spills over into Moscow, as the ruling gangsters of Chechnya send hitmen to whack these of the other clans who hid in Moscow. The only difference is now, after many years of pillage, the “federal military” is not allowed to pluder anymore – the place is in the hands of the Kadyrov gang.

    The situation didn’t change only in the Church, because there the KGB were always at the top ever since the Stalin’s “great patriotic” turnabout of 1941.

    Death rate per capita: in 2008 Russia was #5 in the world! (0.201534 per 1,000 people) There were less murders in Mexico and in Zimbabwe. The horrible evil Georgia was #21, US was #24 and UK was #46. The last on the list (of course not including the countries in the state of anarchy such as Somalia) is Qatars on #62, with 0.1 murder per 1,000 people – so now you see how strange was for the SVR agents to detonate a car bomb and murder Yandarbiyev in this crime-free nation.

  17. “so the top thieves are now in the government” – I meant, the top thieves in “the government” now hail from the KGB (Kadyrov is a rare example, because he’s there only because his father once feclared jihad on Russia and told all Chechens to each kill 100 Russians – but few years later had a change of heart).

  18. Eh, geez. I meant 0.00115868 per 1,000 people in Qatars and also the list was from 2000.

    And so again:
    Russia 2000: 0.617847 per 1,000 people
    Qatars 2000: 0.00115868 per 1,000 people

    As by 2003, there were “annually per 100,000 of the total Russian population 20 times more murders registered than in Japan and 17 times more than in Germany”.

    Fast forward next 3 years. According to Business Week in 2006 (deep into the Putin’s second term as the capo di tutti capi), “When it comes to violent crime, which is harder to conceal, the situation is much worse in Russia than in most other countries. Russia’s murder rate—22 per 100,000 a year—is one of the highest in the world, comparable to Brazil and four times higher than in the U.S., according to the U.N. and the FBI. (…) With around 15 homicides per 100,000 a year, Moscow is the murder capital of Europe”. Seems pretty safe to me. Thanks for security, Putin.

    From the same article: “When former President Gorbachev briefly restricted alcohol sales in the late 1980s, the rate of violent crime fell dramatically.” Hmm.

  19. And still, from the same article (What’s Behind Russia’s Crime Wave?, October 19, 2006):

    Is overall crime on the increase?

    Yes, according to police statistics from the Internal Affairs Ministry. After the twofold increase during the late ’80s and early ’90s, Russia’s crime rate stabilized in the mid-’90s, but over the last three years it has begun to shoot up again. Last year, for example, the number of recorded crimes in Russia rose by 22.8%, and the increase is continuing this year.

    A closer look shows that while more crimes are being committed, violent crimes such as murder and assault have stabilized and are now decreasing. The number of murders in Russia has fallen for the last three years, and was down by 10% in the first nine months of this year compared with the same period last year.

    Instead, the recent surge in crime is entirely the result of crimes against property such as theft, burglary, and robbery. Last year, the Russian police recorded 1.57 million thefts (a rise of 23%) and 344,440 robberies (a rise of 37%).

    Why is crime rising?

    If the Russian crime wave of the late ’80s and early ’90s coincided with economic recession, then the latest rise is taking place against a background of strong economic growth. That may well provide a clue as to why the crime rate is shooting up again. As ever more Russians acquire expensive modern gadgets such as cars, laptops, and mobile phones, there is no doubt a lot more around to steal, and more incentive to report crimes.

    Criminologists say that a trend toward less violent crime and more property crime, together with an overall increase in the crime rate, is normal as a country’s level of income rises. In that sense, crime in Russia may be beginning to resemble crime in the developed world.

  20. AKM, you have no soul, so sad. For you and so many of your countrymen, I see it is a tragedy that your patriotism is so misplaced, as is your supposed anger at the world. I, nor anyone I know, celebrated that fall of “Russia” when the Berlin wall came down, and the Soviet Union disintegrated. What we celebrated was a hope that your country, your Russia, your motherland, was stepping forward to join the rest of the world in freedom. We looked forward to becoming partners and friends with this new kid on the block. The only times I have ever heard anyone speak about how Russia has had to get off her knees have been from Russians themselves. Why you insist upon allowing ‘leaders’ of your country to treat you (the populace) like dirty dogs is beyond me?

  21. Well said Barb!

  22. barb

    “What we celebrated was a hope that your country, your Russia, your motherland, was stepping forward to join the rest of the world in freedom”. This statement sounds very pathetic from la russophobe (no sovietophobe) reader. If you are russophobe so you can not wish success and luck to Russia. I do not brlieve in your good aims!

  23. I am Russian,
    Your lack of belief in another persons good and honorable motives/intentions is typical of the cynicism that seems to run rampant in the minds of your countrymen. You may find it hard to believe, that much of the world is not as devious and underhanded as you Russians, that many people will choose to do what is right/good for their fellow man without regard to self enrichment. You obviously need to travel more before your eyes will be opened. What Barb said was true, are you interested in the truth?

  24. “Are you still amazed at the fact that Russians disapproval of western policy?”

    To “I am Russian”s first post:

    What the hell are you talking about? I mean, alright, you live in Russia, that says all. But damn, it’s the 21st century, not CCCP when you’re were cut off from all kind of information.

    Why do you guys always got that kind of “inferiority complex” and try to compare to Georgia for example?
    Putin says, Russia is doing world politics and Russia is a major player in the world again.
    So how can you play world politics if you disapprove 90% of the worlds existing political systems??
    But no.. Mr. Smartass Putin further fuels the hate against EU and US within Russia with totally imbecile statements.
    Believe me, I perfectly know how things work in Russia and how most of the people think – and how that thinking is influenced by media, fear and stupidity.
    It’s a pity to see a culturally once great nation go down like this. Blame yourself.

    I’m not a supporter of Saakashvili either, but Georgia is half the size of moscow in its population so yea…. Why isn’t the world concerned that much about Georgia….?
    Go figure.
    Georgia’s got enough problems due to a d*ckhead Russian PM.
    Thanks for showing us how *Strong* Russia really is….

    P.S there really is no point for you to post stuff here if you want to “convince” us about Russias good intention and what a good man Putin is.
    This isn’t a “nashy” interment camp.

  25. Robert, Markelov was defending a family of a Chechen terrorist and managed to put a Russian officer in jail. A man who served his country like a hero, and was only doing his duty. In my eyes that’s “aiding and abeting terrorists.” In fact, its not only that, but also outright treason. I’m sorry, but I just can’t be sympathetic to a scumbag opportunist-lawyer who betrayed his own people for money and recognition. Just like I won’t feel sorry when justice comes to scumbag lawyers who prosecuted the American marines from Haditha.
    Do you support terrorists Rob? I mean we all know that LR has orgasms everytime a brave chechen freedom fighter cuts someones head off. Do you?

  26. Alex

    “But damn, it’s the 21st century, not CCCP when you’re were cut off from all kind of information”.

    When USSR had been existing and we were cut off from all kind of information then many of Russians thought that USSR is evil unlike USA. But now I see that USA is also evil as well as former USSR (crime of westerns also exceed crimes of former USSR). Bbut Russians had balls to demount communists Empire unlike americans who think that USA won a victory. Americans have not balls to recognize the fact that modern USA is Empire of evil. Modern USA is a root of all problem of the world. USA needs in perestroika? USA must go away from other countries and cancel supporting its puppets in all the world. Then Russians will change our opinion about USA and about Americans.

  27. Alex

    “But damn, it’s the 21st century, not CCCP when you’re were cut off from all kind of information”.

    When we lived in USSR and were cut off from all kind of information we thought that USSR is Empire of evil unlike USA. We did not believed USSR propaganda. But now we see that USA also Empire of evil (even more evil). But Russians had balls to demount USSR unlike USA who thought that they “won Cold War”. Obviously that USA need in perestroica. Americans must go home from other country and take its puppets. Then Russians opinion about USA will change! In a different way USA will crash down.

  28. obamayomama

    “You obviously need to travel more before your eyes will be opened”.

    Have you ever been in Russia (especially in Saint-Peterburg)? I advice you travel via Russia and your eyes will be opened! You will recognised then that apocaleptic stories about Russia is propaganda of enemies!

  29. I am Russian:

    Have you ever been in Russia beyond Saint-Peterburg (and Moscow)?

    Like, in rural Siberia (dead villages and ghost towns) or in Ingushetia (unemployment of 80%, police terror, almost daily militant attacks), or maybe in Chechnya for years when it was a smoldering ruin, literally (and strewn with unburied corpses, in addition to mass graves)?

  30. jason, Budanov was charged and convicted by the Russian state for rape and murder in Chechnya. Markelov had nothing to do with that. Lawyers defend all manner of clients as they should in civilized societies, you bird brain.

    I am Russian, out of curiosity post next time in Cyrillic. Can you?

  31. Robert

    Yes I have been in the most regions of North-West Russia. Regarding Chechnya – this region is restored very fast.

  32. Jason, as you are obviously and idiot, I will repeat for you the facts.
    1. Russian investigators found NO EVIDENCE that either Elza Kungaeva or any member of her family had been engaged in ANY anti-Russian activity whatsoever.
    2. She was abducted from her home by 4 Russian sevicemen, taken to a Russian military base, tortured, raped & sodomised (according to the autopsy), then strangled.
    3. This is fairly normal behaviour for the Russian military.
    4. Budanov is a WAR CRIMINAL.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yuri_Budanov
    http://www.opendemocracy.net/content/articles/PDF/1388.pdf
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elza_Kungaeva
    http://www.themoscowtimes.com/stories/2002/06/25/009.html

  33. Andrew

    “Russian investigators found NO EVIDENCE that either Elza Kungaeva or any member of her family had been engaged in ANY anti-Russian activity whatsoever”.
    How long you have any interest about evidence? You state that Putin is murderer without any evidence you state that killing and kidnepping is a fairly normal behaviour for the Russian military without evidence! Are there yours double standart. Budanov was a hero than he made terrible crime. He was punished by Russian justice. He spent many time in prison. Has USA got no perpetraitors?

  34. Andrew

    How long you have any interest about evidence? You state that Putin is murderer without any evidence you state that killing and kidnepping is a fairly normal behaviour for the Russian military without evidence! Are there yours double standart. Budanov was a hero than he made terrible crime. He was punished by Russian justice. He spent many time in prison. Has USA got no perpetraitors?

  35. Budanov was only one of many such war criminals, and the sickening fact is that he is still treated as a hero by people in Russia. If you bother to look at the links provided, you will see plenty of evidence of Russian war crimes, such as kidnapping, rape, and murder. Not only in Chechnya, but in Ingushetia, Daghestan, and in Georgia.

    http://www.watchdog.cz/?show=000000-000008-000001-000497&lang=1

    http://www.hrw.org/legacy/reports/2001/chechnya/index.htm

    http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db900SID/OCHA-64D9HE?OpenDocument

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Chechen_War_crimes_and_terrorism

    http://assembly.coe.int/Main.asp?link=/Documents/WorkingDocs/Doc03/EDOC9732.htm

    http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2006/10/12/russia-condemned-chechnya-killings

  36. More Russian/Ossetian war crimes, against the Ingush this time.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ossetian%E2%80%93Ingush_conflict

  37. I am Russian,
    Have you ever been to the U.S. Have you ever been outside Russia? I have traveled, but never to Russia, but I know several people who have been there. Outside of St Petersburg and Moscow (your Potemkin villages) your country is a dilapidated rathole. A few years ago I wanted to visit, but have since changed my mind. I would much rather visit Ukraine or Baltic states where civilization is taking root. How much does Putin pay you to tell lies on blogs questioning Russia’s policies?

  38. In their blind russophobe rage, driven by the fear of their outdated mindset and worthless Russian Studies degrees, they will support a vahabbist terrorist and those who aid them, over a hero-warrior who risked his own life to protect their whole way of existence. For them there is no global war on terror. No, they would rather inject poison of disunity into the Judeo-Christian world, oblivious to the fact that the western culture is drowning in the cesspool of the third world. They might not know it, but these are the people who were ululating and giving out candy in the streets during the trial of Haditha marines, the same people who spit in the faces of Vietnam vets. People who foamed at their mouth with antisemitic diatribes during the war with Hamas, all because they do not comprehend that war is itself a crime. Sometimes a necessary crime. May G-d forgive you.

  39. Really AKM, you are a complete moron.
    A true hero would not rape and murder a schoolgirl. And most certainly not to celebrate his own daughters birthday.
    My father is an RNZAF (Royal New Zealand Air Force) Vietnam vet, so as for spitting in the face of vets, I don’t think so. I support western troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. The difference is that US troops do not rape, kidnap, and murder as part of official policy, and when they do commit crimes, they are prosecuted.
    There was and is nothing necessary about Russian crimes in Chechnya, Georgia, Ingushetia, Daghestan etc.
    As for “they would rather inject poison of disunity into the Judeo-Christian world” you are a dickhead, the Russians are some of the most anti-semetic people on earth. Where do you think Hamas & Hizbollah get all those Grads, AK’s & RPG’s from?
    May God forgive you for your stupidity & racism.
    BTW, a hell of a lot of the third world is Christian too by the way. Obviously you do not understand the basic tenants of Christianity at all. Love God above all, and love thy neigbor as thyself. Amen

  40. Another thing AKM, the people who support Hamas, spit on Vietnam vets, and disparage those fighting against terrorism in Iraq & Afghanistan, are more than likely to be supporters of Russia. Check out the posts on the Guardians “Comment is Free” site. I am sure you would fit right in with those pinko’s and russophiles.

  41. To I am Russian.

    You are seeing things as black and white. I vehemently disagree with the route the current Russian government is taking your country in. But does not mean I do not wish, and hope, for the best for the people of Russian. My biggest question for Vladimir Putin would be, concerning how he has run his country, “Is that the best you can do?”

    The majority of people want to support their country, they want a strong leader; but a strong leader should not translate into an abuser. Sadly, that is what VP has become. He has abused his position for monetary gain, for political enrichment, and in the process has taken a choke hold upon the populace. If he wanted/wants to be a great leader, he would not be afraid of competing ideas or opponents. Instead he has crushed those voices who dare to question him, and in doing so, is destroying Russia’s greatest natural resource; her people.

    It is too bad you do not have enough trust to believe my sentiments concerning your country.

  42. Who’s the “hero-warrior”? You mean, Budanov? Kidnapping, beating and stangling to death a random girl while celebrating his own daughter’s birthday? Then still drunk, waved a gun under the nose of a commanding general and threatened to blow up himself in a tent with a hand grenade? Or maybe his instant-amnestied subordinate, who then raped the dead body (according to his own version), was he also heroic?

    Who is “a vahabbist terrorist”, the Hero of Russia Kadyrov who gave Markelov a medal and is demaning Budanov to be tried in dozens more murders/”disappearances”?

    By “the faces of a Vietnam vets”, did you mean the face of William Calley, the convicted American war criminal?

    Do you think the murder of the ethnic Russians(!) in Chechnya by the rampaging thugs of OMON and marouding kontraktniki (for example the elderly Elena Kuznetsova, 84) was also heroic, and they were “vahabbist terrorists” (learn to spell) by association, that is living in enemy territory while it’s being “liberated”?

    Six soldiers came into their yard. . . . Koka left first. She greeted the soldiers, saying “Good morning.” Koka thought that the soldiers would respect her age, so she went first, but a soldier swore and hit her with his rifle and kicked her and she fell back down into the cellar. I saw her fall back into the cellar.

    When Koka fell, [Kuznetsova] went out [as well as] Khampash and Musa. The soldiers checked their passports. Khampash asked why the soldiers swore at an old woman and why they hit her. Then the soldiers killed all three. I was just about to come out of the cellar when I saw a soldier killing Khampash. I ran back into the cellar and left through a second exit. Khampash was shot in the head from close range. Khampash was killed first, then Musa and then [Kuznetsova]. She had lived in Aldi for forty years.73

    Khampash Yakhiaev’s mother-in-law, Zina Yakhiaeva, saw the bodies of the three victims that same day. She told Human Rights Watch:

    On the fifth . . . I entered my son-in-law’s house. I saw the bodies of my son-in-law and his friend, Musa, lying under the awning. My son-in-law’s hands were bound with wire, he had been shot in the head, shot straight in the face, in the eyes. A young man took photographs. Musa had the same wounds, his head was smashed.

    There was a Russian woman . . . with them in the cellar . . . .The soldiers killed her and burned her body in the cellar. There is a bad smell coming from the cellar. She was first shot and then burned . . . Their heads were smashed-they had multiple bullet wounds to the head.

    Nurzhan, Musa’s cousin and Koka, Musa’s aunt, gave me the men’s passports. They found them in the men’s mouths. The passports were clean, I think they were first shot and then the soldiers put their passports in their mouths.74

    http://www.hrw.org/legacy/reports/2000/russia_chechnya3/Chech006-07.htm#P575_83535

  43. Robert

    Issue of Budanov is a Question about offence and punishment. Yes Budanov was murderer in one side and he was a soldier who fight against enemies. He investigate affairs about incendents of killing the Russian soldiers by snipers. He was sure that Elsa Kungaeva was one and he was in affect. I repeat that had happened in the cruel war. Could you be sure as you would act in such situation?
    When his criminal offence was proved he was sentenced to imprisonment by the court. That fact indicate to validity and justice of Russian court and political sistems. Budanov has repented its’s sins, and he endured the most part of punishment. There are two conditions of grant of parole in Russia – to have repent one`s sinse and endure thr most part of punishment without violation. So Budanov have a right for grant of parole. Yes he made a crime but he is a man who was really punished by Russian court. It is a problem and Kadirov and Markelov fight for justice too. Cause of Budanov is a problem but one solves in a legal democracy procedure by the court against interest of some politics (especially in the West) who wish “divide and rule”. Down with western double standart!

  44. Thank you Robert… Bean;-) To those arguing with ‘I am Russian.’ Don’t bother. He lives in the US- He is without perspective or knowledge. btw- many of us do actually speak Russian so feel free to express yourself “in Russian” if you prefer. I and others will respond. But as Penny has said, ‘Funny how you never do….’

  45. To “I am Russian”
    So you’re excusing and defending Budanov? Is that correct? He served his time? Is that what you’re saying? He served “enough” time for what he did? His victims are only worth so much? Not much really? Do you have a daughter? I hope not.
    And what about Khodorkovsky? Has he served “enough” time yet? And “I am Russian” when are you moving back to Russia? Will you be serving in the army when you go back? We’d all really love to hear more about that. Seems like ti would be the best thing for you since you hate the ‘west’ so much.

  46. Elmer

    “Do you think the murder of the ethnic Russians(!) …..” If you think about Budanov then I must correct you because he is Ukrainian citizen and he sill have not a Russian passport. I love Ukrainian and I do not think that Budanov is absolutely evil but crime is a line of all nation from A to Z. Therefore I demand from you to have an open mind and do not mention only Russians nation as deal with any crimes.

  47. obamayomama

    “How much does Putin pay you to tell lies on blogs questioning Russia’s policies?”

    Absolutely nothing in cash but my family feel safety and many abilities in Modern Russia in compare with Yeltsin Gorb or Communist period. The people earn more money. Drug addiction and alcoholism significantly decrease and birth rateother way increase. Thanks to Putin our country got a second wind.

  48. “If you think about Budanov then I must correct you because he is Ukrainian citizen and he sill have not a Russian passport.”

    So, how this foreigner winded up commanding a Russian Army tank regiment? Are you saying he was a foreign mercenary that was leading hundreds of Russian soldiers?

    Even in the French Foreign Legion the officers are French!

    And no, I was saying about the ethnic Russians murdered by the Russian soldiers (and policemen) in Chechnya.

    How to live as a Russian survivor in Grozny:
    http://www.time.com/time/photoessays/grozny/ruins.html

  49. rtyb
    I have a daughter and I will defend her if necessary in (including by serve in Russian army). I hate who hate me and my country.

  50. Hmmm, so he has Ukrainian passport then? Did not Russia recently claim that Ukrainian citizens were serving in the Georgian military and that this was a war crime? Typical Russian double standards here (as usual). As usual “I am Russian” you are a total hypocrite.

    BTW “I am Russian”, drug & alchohol (and all other) deaths still significantly outnumber births in Russia, so you are still going down the toilet fast.

  51. Robert

    Budanov was foreign citizen and Russian officer. It is usual and permitted by Russian law.

  52. So “I am Russian” you are confirming that the Russian government are total hypocrites for stating that the (unproven) use of foreign servicemen in the Georgian army was tantamount to a war crime?
    Russia is truly a nation of hypocrites.

  53. Andrew

    You don`t understand a posture in Russia and Near abroad. The most of Near abroad citizens class themself to Russian people (especially in the est – Ukraina). Budanov was born in Est-Ukraina (Kharkov). He a was Soviet officer and after disintegration USSR he decided to continue military serve in Russian army because he relate himself to Russian. Many former soviet officers in the Near Abroad went by such way. They were Russian patriot and they did not relate themselves to new country (former Republics of USSR). Well Budanov served in Russian army as Russian soldier and Russian patriot so he was not a hireling but he is Ukrainian (RUS) and can speak in both Russian and Ukrainian language.
    My example was touched Budanov`s nationality because I consider that accusation of only one group nationality or society (Russians, Chechens, Ucrainian etc. ) is always unfair.
    As opposed to Russian soldier Budanov the Ukrainian “advisors” were undubiously hireling.

  54. How does I am Russian write an incomprehensible monologue, yet he spells undubiously correctly.

    It may not be a real word, but if it was, he spelled it correctly.

    Is he a retarded intellectual or an intellectual retard?

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