SPECIAL EXTRA: Natalya Estemirova shot and Killed in Chechnya

Natalya Estemirova

Natalya Estemirova

No sooner had we published special issue devoted to exposing the extent to which Vladimir Putin has failed and lost control in the Caucasus than an exclamation point was added painted in the blood of yet one more fallen Russian patriot.

 Prize-winning Russian journalist Natalya Estemirova, who may be viewed as a successor to Anna Politkovskaya, has been murdered in Chechnya in order to silence her fearless reporting on human rights abuses by the Kremlin in that tortured region.   In October 2007, she spoke for Politkovskaya on the pages of The Nation magazine.  Today, the magazine is eulogizing her.

Estemirova was kidnapped and then shot in the head in the manner of a mafia contract hit, her body dumped in the gutter like a piece of garbage.

She is the latest in a long line of political murders obviously carried out by the Kremlin to silence its critics (the Kremlin’s puppet in Chechnya had openly threatened her life), a history that dates back to Vladimir Putin’s first months in office with the liquidation of human rights activist Galina Starovoitova.

Once again, the Kremlin will remain silent at this barbaric outrage. Once again, no killers will be brought to justice. Once again, we will ask how many heroic Russians must give their lives before the American administration will stand up for democracy and justice in Russia.  The European Union has spoken out strongly, we await their plan of action. If President Obama remains silent on this killing, his silence will be even more reprehensible than that of her Kremlin killers and history will condemn him.  Mr. Obama has no more time to wait. He must speak now, and then he must act.

94 responses to “SPECIAL EXTRA: Natalya Estemirova shot and Killed in Chechnya

  1. How horrible.

    Of course, the little weasel Medvedev has expressed his outrage and said he would initiate an investigation.

    Like every journalist murder before and every murder that will follow this the Kremlin will never find or convict the real murder nor expose the chain of command that ordered it.

  2. Obama’s silence would be shameful. The world needs to step up pressure now. The 2014 Winter Games need to be moved NOW!

  3. @her body dumped in the gutter like a piece of garbage.

    You know, at least they gave back her corpse.

    No, I’m dead serious now. Thousands of corpses there were hidden (like in the secret mass graves) or destroyed (like blown up with explosives).

    Thousands of other corpses were found but severely disfigured, often when the victims were still alive (like body parts cut off) or with their internal organs missing.

    • Also, at least they didn’t kill their daughter.

      Seriously, too. Chechen “police” militiamen usually murder people quite selectively. A federal (from Russia proper) dirty war death squad would be likely to instead do something like this:


      That is, exterminate the entire household (and then go and murder some more people).

      And the same on other accounts too. For example, house burnings – the Chechen “police” is targeting for destruction the homes of suspected rebels and their families (well, the Yamadayevs’ houses were burnt down too and so on). But the feds were rather looting and arsoning houses randomly only because they were located in Chechnya – even these belonging to ethnic Russians or their local allies.


      “Ramzan Kadyrov is personally responsible, not only because he leads Chechnya,” Orlov said, reacting more with raging anger than sadness over the death of his colleague. “He personally threatened Natalia, told her that her hands would be covered in blood and that he destroys bad people.” That threat came, he said, when Kadyrov dismissed Estemirova as head of the Grozny Human Rights Public Council early last year.


      • More:

        “We didn’t say this before because we were scared for her safety. Now we can say it. We have no doubt that her killing was ordered by Ramzan Kadyrov.”

        Kadyrov has not responded to accusations that he was involved. Maybe he’ll come up with a defense like the one he gave when denying involvement in the October 2006 murder of journalist Anna Politkovskaya, with whom Estemirova often worked: “I do not kill women and have never killed women.”

        Kadyrov has been accused of involvement in many high-profile killings. Politkovskaya’s murder was followed by the 2008 attack on Ruslan Yamadayev, a member of a powerful Chechen clan opposed to Kadyrov. He was shot dead in front of the British Embassy in central Moscow during rush hour. His brother was killed in March this year, slain by a gunman as he walked to his car in a posh Dubai apartment complex. In perhaps the most brazen killing, Umar Israilov, a former Kadyrov bodyguard who won political asylum in Austria after publicly accusing Kadyrov of human rights abuses, was killed by a carload of assassins in central Vienna in January after a midday run to a grocery shop.

        But these are not the killings Estemirova worked to expose. She devoted her life to the everyday revenge killings and reprisal attacks that her research showed were carried out by the Kadyrov regime against average residents of Chechnya.


        With each killing, that becomes less and less likely. And that, according to Memorial’s Orlov, is part of the plan.

        “[Kadyrov’s regime] is doing this so Chechnya will be closed,” he said. “We were the only people who continue to say something. Everyone else is scared. We were the only ones, but apparently it was idiotic, because it ended in death.”

        The question, as always, remains what is to be done? Orlov called on Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev to remove Kadyrov as leader. Judging by his brutal tactics, and his view of revenge as bloodsport, that may not be enough. It is high time the Kremlin deal with a monster of its own making. The question is: How?

        (Except, as I already said, Putin himself was actually worse than his Mini-Putin Ramzan “monster” – under the watch of Putin & Co (and Yeltsin too) there was a much higher bodycount, much more indiscriminate atrocities… it’s petitioning Hitler and Himmler about Bronislav Kaminski’s brutality and lawlessnes.)

  4. Dagestani mujahideen

    why are you outraged? Kadyrow already announced her murder one year ago,now he did it!!! Calm down guys!


    Would you mind providing us a link to the published statement?

    • Well, try here (for example):

      Her colleagues at Memorial, which is widely regarded as Russia’s most respected human rights organisation, alleged that Mr Kadyrov was responsible for the killing.

      “Ramzan Kadyrov is responsible, not only because he leads Chechnya,” alleged Oleg Orlov, Memorial’s director. “He threatened Natalya, told her that her hands would be covered in blood and that he destroys bad people.

      “We didn’t say this before because we were scared for her safety.”


      Also seems that they’re closing their Chechnya office: it’s suicidal (that is human rights reporting on Chechnya, not visiting Sochi that is quite safe at least now) and their work there since the 1990s was mostly totally ignored in Russia and elsewhere anyway. (“We were the only people who continue to say something. Everyone else is scared. We were the only ones, but apparently it was idiotic, because it ended in death.”)

      No wonder, several journalists and activists recently even fled Russia altogether (Politkovskaya too had left for Austria for a while, after the death threats from Lt. “Kadet” in 2003, but returned).

      Oh and Obama, he’s apparently silent. Reset time, let’s not have this disturb us while we’re disarming America.

    • Also:

      In previous such murders — and there have been many — the finger-pointing has been somewhat wobbly. The regime of Ramzan Kadyrov, the 32-year-old leader who runs Chechnya as his own personal fiefdom, has managed to shrug off accusations that it is somehow involved in the spate of killings that have seen Kadyrov’s opponents fall dead one by one, in Chechnya, in Moscow, and abroad.

      Some have remained silent, likely fearing revenge. For Memorial, there is nothing more to fear.

      Oleg Orlov, the chairman of Memorial, Russia’s preeminent human rights group, said Kadyrov has blood on his hands, and he plans on telling the world.


    • “Ramzan Kadyrov is responsible, not only because he leads Chechnya,” alleged Oleg Orlov, Memorial’s director. “He threatened Natalya, told her that her hands would be covered in blood and that he destroys bad people.

      We didn’t say this before because we were scared for her safety.” Mr Kadyrov’s spokesman said he was unaware of the activist’s disappearance


  5. Dagestani mujahideen

    by the way,why are you western guys so outraged now? because she was an ethnic russian? where was your outrage in winter 99-2000,when the russian horror-army bombed dead 200.000 chechen civilians?There was complete silence in the West,only John McCain raised his voice in 2000. You are hypocrites and nothing else.Human rights activists cannot defend the caucasian muslims against the genocide from the russian state-monster and their local puppets like Kadyrov. Only the mujahideen,who are fighting and killing these murderers on the path of Allah,are able to liberate our civilians.Allah Akbar,visit the website of the dagestani mujahideen,the JAMAAT SHARIAT!



    Well, this blog didn’t exist in 1999-2000, so we feel we have a pretty good excuse. But we’ve been expressing similar outrage since we were founded in 2006:


    • your beloved muslims are even bigger hypocrites than West. take, for example Iran or Syria, why they don’t care about muslim genocide in North Caucasus, and befriends Russia? They would raise hell about few killed Palestinians, but will close their eyes to hundreds of thousands deaths of Chechens. It’s so hypocritical, its sick.

  6. Natalia’s last report:

    Estemirova: power agents order relatives of the girl assassinated in Grozny to bury her “without noise”


  7. To The Noble Natalya Estemirova: Vechnaya Pamyat! May Her Memory Be Eternal! And may hermost wisked murderers not get away unpunished in this world, or the next.
    Reader Daniel

  8. Putin has a lot to hide in Chechnya and he wants to send a clear message for humanitarians to stay out. That will override any concerns about adverse publicity.

  9. God bless you Natalya, Khsovna Ikos.

  10. Dagestani mujahideen

    i don´t have found the link,but it´s well known,that Estemirova was threatened by Kadyrov over the last weeks and months.You can find these statements all over the Internet right now,while this murder case is opened in the media now.However,of course it´s sad,that she is dead,but nothing will change.I am a dagestani hardliner and a supporter of the mujahideen.Last night the Jamaat Shariat killed a village-administration head in Southern Dagestan near Derbent. This bloody pro-russian traitor- pig worked as an informer and as an active propagandist for the russian occupants and last night he got what he deserved.A hail of bullets in his body. All dagestani traitors will end up this way,don´t mess with the “Jamaat Shariat”, Allah Akbar

    • “I am a dagestani hardliner and a supporter of the mujahideen….A hail of bullets in his body. All dagestani traitors will end up this way,don´t mess with the “Jamaat Shariat”, Allah Akbar”

      I hope that LR does not consider such guys as our allies. Russia is dangerous, but islamic fundamentalism is deadly. At least the Russians didn’t blow up the world trade center.

  11. Dagestani mujahideen


    Kavkazcenter quotes statements of her collegues,who tell about Kadyrov´s threats.Translate it with babelfish.altavista.com into english

  12. Here, this link should help you guys come up with an answer. Ever hear of a guy called Cheney. Or how about Chechnya Cheney? Think outside of the box, morons. http://www.russiatoday.com/Politics/2009-07-15/Dick_Cheney_s_daughter_jumps_into_political_fray_with_attack_on_Obama__Russia.html

    • Really?

      What does that have to do with the death of a woman Kadyrov described as an enemy and publicly threatened on several occasions?

    • Yawn, you will have to do better than stale old pinko conspiracy theories “jasmina”.

      Try reading a real newspaper, or watch a real TV channel instead of overdosing on “KGB in a can” RT

  13. Veep Cheney threatened many people on many occasions, but behind closed doors, it turns out… (please dont make me do youir homework, Andrew) After the recent spate of assassinations “down under” the last thing Kadyrov would have wanted is something like this. Or the Kremlin. Think bigger, not just the way this looney site wants you to think…

    • @Think bigger, not just the way this looney site wants you to think…

      Yeah. The neferious anti-Kremlin forces are perfectly capable to kidnap a well-known person in a long-secured Chechen capital (and this even without alarming the “authorities”), drive to Ingushetia right through the zone of ongoing massive counter-insurgency operation (“CTO”) in the border districts, and dump the dead body near the Ingush capital of Nazran.

      Damn, I think it’s their best since they stole Russian polonium from a top-security facality, smuggled it to London in Lugovoy’s briefcase (leaving a radioactive trial all-along on the way), just to murder one of their own (or maybe did he volunteer to slowly die in agony, who knows those people).

      Or maybe as goof as this one, when they stole the golden pistol of AD (Adam Delimkhanov) and using it they killed the “hero of Russia” (in hiding) Yamadayev just when Delimkhanov was nearby in the Emirates.

      Damn, they’re good. Who are they?

  14. Really Jasmina, the people murdered were enemies of the Kremlin, human rights workers and journalists who exposed Russian crimes and corruption.

    Russia is a criminal state.

    Your posts are as vacant as RT

  15. Dear Yawn, What the heck are YOU doing if not espousing conspiracy theories? No facts, no investigation, no witnesses. Very good! Welocme to the world of conspiracy. BTW YAWN, try reading a “real” website’ , as opposed to a racist rag that pawns leftover Bolshevik crap to small minds like you.

  16. Besides, thanks to Russian support (and the traditional Russian stupidity) Kadyrov is untouchable.

    Do you really think he cares what the rest of the world thinks?

    Litvinenko, Politkovskaya, Markelov, now Estemirova, all killed because they reported Russia’s crimes against its own citizens and those of its neighbors.

    Killed by the Kremlin & Kadyrov, for the benefit of Kadyrov and the Kremlin.

  17. “Russia is a criminal state” That’s rocking, Andrew, really! But how should we describe the US, which allows inmates to rot on Guantanamo Bay, not to mention “black hole” prisons across Eastern Europe??? And let’s not even get started on American ‘civil rights.’ Even checking out the wrong library book could get you in trouble…

  18. Actually Jasmina, the leftover bolshevik crap you refer to is Russia, its people, and its media.

  19. Da, Andrew, You are a filthy stinking racist. Go to the mirror, give yourself a nazi salute and jackboot yourself back to the hole you crawled out of.
    BTW, where’s the silly monitor ?

  20. Hi Andrew,

    Typical generic kremlin retort. Just call you a Nazi and assume that the people will side with them.

  21. Max you idiot,the caucasians had nothing to to with Al Qaida and 9/11,you stupid jerk. Chechen general Shamil Basayev was one of the first ones who has sent his condolences,look here.


    This Jasmina is a drug-addicted russian prostitute,why are you talking with such a human rabble,who will die out soon? LOL

  22. Dear Less, any old authoritarian image will do, not just the nasty nazis. For you to demonize all of Russian society for this murder …Did either of you clowns know that there were more journalists killed in Iraq by ‘friendly fire’ than all of the journalists murdered in Russia? Of course you did not, because you free base this extremist hate site instead of perusing something remotely balanced. well done!

  23. AkhMAD, Did you know that guys who LOL at themselves have major sexual issues? It’s true! I know, you see, because I am a “drug-addicted Russian prostitute” who will probably die curbside alongside the vodka drinkers and stray dogs… LOL! But at least I will die with the pleasure of making you look like the total idiot you undoubtedly are.)))

  24. shut up you russian whore,the day is close,that Moscow will be under the green flag of Islam. This will be the day,when the satanic russian empire will cease to exist for all times.Russia will collapse next year and then you whores will be washed away. We Muslims will build a much more prosperate state in today´s so called “Russian Federation”,without threatening our neighbours with atomic bombs and tanks.

  25. Andrew. Isn’t it time for your nap? So you are trying to tell me that because Guantanamo Bay graduates, who were held “sensory deprived” (do you know what that means, Andrew? It means all of their 5 senses were physically deprived of them. You remember the hooded images, right Andrew? Well they couldn’t hear either, or smell. Or touch. Or even pray. Yes, that is very humane. I guess the dozens who attempted to suicide to get away from this 5 star Breakers Hotel were just spoiled brats who don’t appreciate anything.

    • Russian prison conditions


      And it has only gotten worse.

      Russian prisons use rape, real torture with electrodes, beatings, summary executions.

      The prisoners from places like Russia knew that what was waiting for them there was infinitely worse than Guantanamo bay.

      You seem like a spoilt little brat yourself kiddo.

      Ever seen what a 14 year old kid who has been gang raped by Russian soldiers looks like.

      I have.

    • jasmina,

      This is a regular Russian prison, not even one for “terrorist suspects” (also notice they don’t have and never had a prison camp for foreign fighters at all, as all of foreign captives were simply murdered):

  26. do you ugly russian whoe know,what we Muslims will make with you after our victory? We will execute you russian whores right there on the Red Square,you will see this day,it will be the day,when your russian terror will cease


    Ordinarily we would delete a comment of this kind, which is offensive. However, it’s a pretty darned accurate expression of the fury with which the Caucasus people view Russia these days as a result of their continuing persecution and oppression by Moscow. As such we will let it stand.

    • And what comes after Moscow? New York? London? Who else do you guys want to rape?


      “Ordinarily we would delete a comment of this kind, which is offensive. However, it’s a pretty darned accurate expression of the fury with which the Caucasus people view Russia these days”

      Yes, let’s leave these Islamic threats of genocide as a warning to those who forgot about 9/11.

      It would be a safe bet that the hatred towards Russia in the hate-filled Islamic world is almost as burning as the hate for Israel, USA, Serbia and Denmark.

  27. Dear AkhMADD, Oh, you are probably one of those crackers who steals young girls off the street in broad daylight for one of those impromptu weddings. May your next wife poison your tea, you psycho-wacko. Andrew… I guess you think only Russians are man enough to rape, right? I suggest you get out of that bedroom and breath some fresh air. Or Google ‘New York City Rape.’ Here, I did it for you, loser boy http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?id=6784033&section=news/local

    • Not really.
      A Russian woman is 4 times more likely to be physically abused by her husband.

      “Every day 36,000 women in the Russian Federation are beaten by their husbands or partners.

      Every forty minutes a woman is killed by domestic violence.

      Official figures say domestic violence is part of the life of every fourth Russian family”






      Abuse of woman in the US certainly happens, but it is far worse in Russia

      In addition Russia uses rape as part of state policy, it has been widely used by Russian troops as a terror weapon in Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Ingushetia, Chechnya, Daghestan.

      • “Official figures say domestic violence is part of the life of every fourth Russian family”

        Is that low or high by world standards?

        Click to access gview

        • 59% of 796 women surveyed in 1993 reported being physically abused by their partner.


        • 60% of divorced women surveyed in 1993 by the Centre for the Examination of Public Opinion reported having been hit at least once by their ex-husbands; an additional 25% reported repeated violence.

        • 29% of women reported being physically assaulted by a current or former partner since the age of 16.

        • Up to 45% of married men acknowledged physically abusing their wives, according to a 1996 survey of
        6,902 men in the state of Uttar Pradesh.

        • 38% of wives reported being physically abused by their spouse, based on a survey of a random sample
        of women.

        • The actual rate of Russian abuse of women dwarfs the official figures by a considerable margin, as Russian police do not generaly investigate, and try to force women to drop charges against their husbands/partners

          Russian are far more likely (2.5 times) to be murdered by their partner than US women, who in turn are nearly twice as likely to be murdered by their partner than European women.

          The Problem of Domestic Violence: Russia, United States and Across the Globe Domestic violence knows no boundaries and there is no country where women are safe. Nearly one in four women around the world may experience sexual violence by an intimate partner in their lifetimes. Half of the women who die from homicides worldwide are killed by their current or former husbands or partners by guns, beatings and burns among numerous other forms of abuse. (Krug et al. 2002. World Report on Violence and Health. Geneva: WHO. 93.).


          • A woman dies from domestic violence every 40 minutes in Russia. And every day around 36,000 women in Russia are beaten by their husbands or partners (Amnesty International).

          • Each year in Russia, about 14,000 women die at the hands of their husbands or intimate partners. In the United States, by comparison, this number stands at about 1,200, according to the 2001 Bureau of Justice Statistics Report. Russia’s population is 144 million; the U.S. population is 293 million.

          • Russian women are 2.5 times more likely to be murdered by their partners than American women. However, American women are already twice as likely to be killed by their partners than women in Western European countries (UNICEF International Child Development Centre).

          • In a 2003 Russian Ministry of the Interior report that polled victims of domestic violence, 76 percent of the women said they had suffered from abuse for a long time before reporting it to the police or making it public in some other way. Some of their given reasons were: “Didn’t believe that the law enforcement would help,” “Was afraid of revenge,” “Was afraid of losing housing, had nowhere to go,” “Was afraid of public scorn,” “Didn’t want to leave the kids without a father.”

          United States

          • On average, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends every day.

          • Nearly 5.3 million domestic violence incidents occur each year among U.S. women ages 18 and older. This violence results in nearly 2 million injuries and nearly 1,300 deaths (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, 2003).

          • Forty-four percent of women murdered by their intimate partner had visited an emergency department within 2 years of the homicide, ninety-three percent of whom had at least one injury visit (Crandall et al. 2004).

          • The presence of firearms often escalates domestic abuse to homicide. In the U.S. a woman is 2.5 timesmore likely to be shot by her male intimate partner than she is to be killed in any other way by a stranger (UNICEF).

          • The costs of domestic violence to the U.S. exceed an estimated $5.8 billion. These costs include nearly$4.1 billion in the direct costs of medical and mental health care and nearly $1.8 billion in the indirect costs of lost productivity (CDC, 2003).

          Across the Globe Industrialized Countries

          • 29% of women reported being physically assaulted by a current or former partner since the age of 16.

          • 59% of 796 women surveyed in 1993 reported being physically abused by their partner.

          New Zealand
          • 20% of 314 women surveyed reported being hit or physically abused by a male partner.

          • 20% of 1,500 women reported being physically assaulted according to a 1997 survey.

          United Kingdom
          • 25% of women had been punched or slapped by a partner or ex-partner in their lifetime

          Click to access gview


    • What you fail to mention is that the officer in question was tried for the crime.

      Russian police and military who rape get medals.

  28. Wait! Hold the Presses. La Russophobe has responded- surprise, surprise, in favor of the great unhinged. Have any of you been to Grozny, as in Chechnya? No? I didn’t think so. You need to go there. You’d be very surprised. . . The “fury” you speak of is certainly not the way I would describe it. The renewal of the city is remarkable. Stop trying to fan the flames of discontent with your mindless hate-mongering. Nothing has been proven in this case, and to blame anybody is simply kneeJERK racism. Detroit has more problems than this part of the world, trust me.

    • Detroit is a city with an extremely diverse immigrant ethnic population whose economy for too long has been on a single (failing) industry. Detroit is *not* a city conquered and subjected to imperial whims, with a population ethnically foreign to the rest of the United States, requiring occasional violent ‘pacification’. Detroit’s population is not oppressed or in any way singled out by Washington for different treatment, and Detroit’s problems — which are legion — are largely home-grown. Detroit is not trying to secede from the U.S., nor does its population feel itself any different than the rest of the American population. The native language(s) of the vast majority of the population of Detroit are exactly the same as those of the population of Washington D.C. Detroit is not under foreign military occupation. There are no Natalya Estemirovas getting murdered in Detroit.

      There are Natalya Estemirovas getting murdered by the dozen in Chechnya, however, and suspiciously, the ones getting murdered always seem to be those exposing atrocities in Chechnya or corruption in Russia. Odd, that. Grozny is a Russian city (originally a Russian military base) established to assert Russian imperial control over Chechnya, which was conquered by Russia in the late 18th century. The Chechens have revolted against Russian rule at least a dozen times since then, usually in response to Russificiation campaigns that have sought to eliminate Chechens in their own homeland. You may recall that Stalin tried to have them all deported during WW II, and thousands died in the process. If Chechnya and Grozny — from Грозный​ (“Terrible”), as in “Иван Грозный​”, “Ivan the Terrible” — are quiet now, it is because the Russians have just finished another round of extremely violent suppression of those silly Chechens who are dumb enough to think they deserve their own country, just like Russians have. It’s the same “quiet” you could hear in Budapest in late November, 1956. What other kind of quiet could you expect from a country which still keeps the name “Владикавказ/Vladikavkaz” (“Conqueror of the Caucasus”) for the largest city in the region? It’s not racist to condemn imperialism and gross human rights violations.

  29. yeah, you’re right. after all, there is always Jersey City to make you appreciate Detroit… http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/17/nyregion/17jersey.html?hpw

    • @yeah, you’re right. after all, there is always Jersey City to make you appreciate Detroit… http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/17/nyregion/17jersey.html?hpw

      The New York Times, eh? You really have no idea about what is Grozny, don’t you?

      Chechnya’s Capital Rises From the Ashes, Atop Hidden Horrors

      And it’s very, very related:

      “People died there, and now they just build a school,” Natalia Estemirova, a researcher with Memorial, a human rights group, said in an interview. Her group documented the discovery of the bodies last summer at the Zvyozdochka, or Starlet, kindergarten.

      She added: “We know people disappeared. We know that most of them were killed. And we know we need to look for them with a shovel.”

      (As I said, at least they did nothing with her corpse and no one needed to “look with a shovel” this time.)

      • Continued:

        “Many, many bodies are found,” Ms. Estemirova said.

        The graves of Grozny grimly symbolize the peace that Russia has settled for here, one emphasizing physical reconstruction while leaving unaddressed the human scars of the war. There has been no systematic prosecution of war crimes or identification of the dead.

        Just how many disappeared remains an open and contentious question. A human rights ombudsman for the Chechen government, Nurdi Nukhazhiyev, has identified 3,018 unsolved disappearances from the two wars. The remains of some of the missing surely are buried under construction sites.

        The regional prosecutor has offered a lower figure, saying that 2,747 Chechen civilians have filed missing persons reports, and that 574 of those have been resolved. Memorial, Ms. Estemirova’s group, put the number of people who disappeared at 3,000 to 5,000.

        The mass graves have raised tensions between Russia and Europe. The Council of Europe, the human rights monitor, has made a major issue of the exhuming of mass graves and the identification of victims and their killers.

        “There are a great number of families who have lost members to abductions,” Thomas Hammarberg, the council’s human rights commissioner, said during a visit to Chechnya this month. “So many people were affected by this it cannot simply be swept under the carpet.”

        But, of course, that is what is happening, as construction destroys evidence at the sites of war crimes. The building of the School for the Deaf on Minutka Square, for example, served as a temporary headquarters for Interior Ministry troops who became the focus of a rare, Russian war crimes investigation.

        The basement, witnesses said, was used for torture. One Russian officer was convicted of murder. Yet in 2006, the basement was filled with debris, ostensibly to stabilize the site for rebuilding the school, Ms. Estemirova said.

        And as building continues, even the question of how to link the names of the missing with the unidentified bodies in Grozny is contentious.

        The Council of Europe is encouraging Russia to embrace systematic forensic work in the graves, before too many are disturbed by the building.

        Mr. Kadyrov’s government has endorsed a proposal to provide information about the disappeared anonymously on the Internet, separating the question of identification from the politically charged issue of culpability.

        Yet disappearances in Chechnya continue. As the Russian policy of “Chechenization” of the conflict has gained traction and, even critics grudgingly say, success in tamping down the violence, abuse by Russian soldiers has waned. Increasingly, the disappearances bear the hallmarks of Chechen-on-Chechen violence.

  30. J. Gregory Hass

    Don’t hold your breath waiting for Obama to condemn this act. He is too interested in Messrs. Putin and Medvedev bailing him out from having to be faced with the decision to use force against Iran. Of course, he will demur from that difficult choice and simply let freedom wane in the world. IMHO, he is no better than the Russian regime as he is not only NOT reforming anything, he is imitating the Kremlin’s lust for the Oligarchy that is the Big Business-Federal Government hydra. He is repressing dissent, establishing para-military extra-government organizations to influence voting, and nationalizing control of all he surveys.

  31. To try to shift the blame on Kadyrov is silly and just plays into the hands of the kremlin.

    Kadyrov = KGB = kremlin pawn.

    The kremlin spin-doctors are masters at manipulating other people to kill, and blaming other people for their evil deeds!

    >>1930’s Killing millions of Ukrainians in a GENOCDE by starvation – and call them kulaks, rather than Ukrainian people.

    >>1940’s KGB dress up as Banderivtzi, and kill Ukrainian people; and then the kremlin can issue another press release – Nazi Bandera kills Ukrainians.

    >>1950’s KGB dress up as Hungarian police officers, and shoot the demonstrators.

    >>2004 KGB have Ukrainian police officers uniforms in hand, but the Kiev police will not cooperate with KGB and did not allow the KGB to shoot peaceful demonstrators during the peaceful Orange Revolution in Kiev.

    >>2009 KGB promotes conflicts between Chechnians and neighboring Ingushetians; this way nobody can accuse the kremlin of ethnic cleansing or genocide, and they do not have to use the rooshan army as cannon fodder.

    Natalya Estemirova, rights lawyer Stanislav Markelov and reporter Anna Politkovskaya were among the few people that Chechnians could turn to expose the torture and ethnic cleansing of family, friends, or neighbors; so why would Chechnians want to think to kill them?

    How did they transport her to Ingushetia in under nine (9) hours? {The next step is to send in Chechnian piece keepers to punish the “bad” Ingushetians?}

    The murder of Estemirova, whose body was found late Wednesday with bullet holes in the head on a road in Ingushetia, a region west of Chechnya, appeared to confirm that Russia remains a place where political murders are committed without fear of reprisal.

    Estemirova was deeply involved in chronicling rights abuses in Kadyrov’s territory.

    “She documented the most horrendous violations, mass executions,” said Tatyana Lokshina, a Moscow researcher with the U.S.-based Human Rights Watch. “She has done things no one else dared to do.”

    Estemirova was killed on the same day as the release of a report she helped research that concluded there was enough evidence to demand that Russian officials, including Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, be called to account for crimes committed on their watch.

    Traveling between Chechnya and Ingushetia is difficult _ their mountainous border is heavily policed. Any car would have to run into multiple checkpoints along three connecting roads.

    A Russian radio station, meanwhile, reported that another rights activist was detained Thursday and several copies of the rights report blaming Putin and other officials were seized.

    Igor Kalyapin, head of the Association Against Torture, was detained near the city of Nizhny Novgorod, about 250 miles (400 kilometers) east of Moscow, Ekho Moskvy reported. He was among those at the human rights news conference held Wednesday in Moscow to present the report to the media.


    Estemirova’s body was found in woodland near the Ingush city of Nazran, the Ingush interior ministry spokeswoman added.

    “During the first war in Chechnya, Natasha (Estemirova) collected numerous testimonies from civilians who were tortured by the Russian forces in unofficial detention facilities,” RAWinWar said on its site.


    • @LES,

      “To try to shift the blame on Kadyrov is silly and just plays into the hands of the kremlin.”

      I actually don’t think he was authorised to do this at all. It was quite stupid.

      But he IS quite stupid. (He’s a practically illiterate thug, who is reading only SMS messages, but “somehow” is an “academician” anyway.) Also a short but mean psychopath and a gangsta-king, sort of Uday Hussein Hussein with less rape, more boxing (of prisoners) and about the same love of bling and luxery cars.

      You know, I remember when the Ingush police kidnapped some local human rights activists and visiting Moscow journalists (to cover the opposition street protests against Zyazikov), they only beat them up a bit and left them naked in the field outside the city. But they didn’t kill them and there was no international fuzz at all (not even media reports). Now people hear about her reporting, even for the first time, and Kadyrov’s openly singled out as the murderer by Memorial (not even Novaya Gazeta did do something like that after they killed Politkovskaya).

      “How did they transport her to Ingushetia in under nine (9) hours?”

      Chechnya is actually a really small territory (and Ingushetia is even smaller). You can be in just few hours from Nazran to Grozny and back.

      Of course, Russian Army in 1999 spent several months just getting to Grozny through the northern flatlands (but the sacrafice of the lightly-armed defenders in such unfavourable terrain was enormous).

      “Traveling between Chechnya and Ingushetia is difficult _ their mountainous border is heavily policed. Any car would have to run into multiple checkpoints along three connecting roads.”

      Guess they had the passes from the boss (even the other side of the border is right now mostly controlled by the “Chechen police”).

      @”{The next step is to send in Chechnian piece keepers to punish the “bad” Ingushetians?}”

      Already done, for several weeks. The Ingush rebels are even inflicting heavy losses on them, like officially 10 killed and 9 wounded in a convoy ambush on 4th July (independence day). According to the separatists they lost over 20 killed/captured (3 of them were executed) but killed about 60 Kadyrov men so far.

  32. @Russia is dangerous, but islamic fundamentalism is deadly. At least the Russians didn’t blow up the world trade center.

    Yeah. Because the Dagestani rebels did.

    You know, on the next day the Russian so-very-special forces found “a plan of NYC in a cave in Chechnya”. And also airplane plans too.

    But worry not, the Caucasian bandit attack on America was just as soon avanged by the valiant Russian soldiers. “The celebratory fire in the air was so intense”, they “managed to find and destroy 30 bandit bases”.

    I wish I still had the original RIAN articles.

    • Ah, found some of this stuff. Check out this, the FSB at their best (meaning really stupid):

      Chechen with a WTC map captured

      MOSCOW – TRJ- Russia’s main security agency detained a resident of breakaway Chechnya who allegedly had a plan outlining terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center involving airplanes, according to a news report Monday.

      The Chechnya branch of the Federal Security Service saidthe suspect was picked up in the city of Argun along with army tents and sleeping bags, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported.

      The report said the word “jihad,” or holy war, was written on the back of the piece of paper with the attack plan. The report did not say when the man was detained or give any details.

      It was impossible to verify the claim. A spokeswoman for the security service headquarters in Moscow said she had no information about the detention.

      The service’s Chechnya office could not immediately be reached. Russian officials have made other such claims since terrorists flew
      planes into the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington earlier this month. Last week, the Federal Security
      Service said it had found a computer compact disc during a raid in Chechnya containing instructions on flying Boeing aircraft – the planes used in the attacks.

      Russian officials insist they are fighting international terrorists in Chechnya, and have expressed hope that the attacks on the United
      States would attract sympathy for the Russian military’s plight in the breakaway republic. U.S. and other Western officials have criticized Russia’s heavy-handed tactics in Chechnya.

      • Also:

        22:32 [Wednesday 19th September, 2001]
        Chechens not involved in U.S. bombing

        MOSCOW – Rebels in Chechnya on Wednesday denied involvement in last week’s terrorist attacks on the United States after Russian officials said they had uncovered evidence linking them to the events.

        Russia’s Federal Security Service said Monday that during a raid in Chechnya it found a computer compact disc with instructions on flying Boeing aircraft, the planes used in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

        The rebel foreign minister, Ilyas Akhmadov, said in a statement Wednesday that the allegations were an “ill-hidden attempt to use the woe of the American nation … to justify its genocidal war against the Chechen people.”

        Meanwhile, Russian forces in Chechnya kept the regional capital under tight security two days after large-scale coordinated rebel attacks, Russian news reports said.

        /The Associated Press/

        And some other 9/11 Russian circus, including the Kalashnikov-rattling clowning of Nemtsov and the statement of so-called patriarch of the KGB “Russian Christianity” (religion of peace?):

        RUSSIAN REACTION TO SEPTEMBER 11 ATTACKS: ONE EXTREME TO THE OTHER. The September 13 issue of the newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets carried an emotional statement by Boris Nemtsov, one of the leaders of the Union of Right Forces faction in the State Duma, which indicated that he had changed his position from a “dove” to a “hawk” concerning the war in Chechnya. Nemtsov confided that his daughter, Zhanna, had been in New York City on the day of the terrorist attack against the World Trade Center. “Now,” he declared, “there is no sense in even pronouncing the word ‘negotiations.’ All conversations should be conducted only in the language of a ‘Kalashnikov.’ All of our forces have to be directed toward destroying the [terrorist] bands. If we don’t incinerate [them], they will at some point reach the Kremlin. Incidentally, if Khattab or Basaev should dare to try something, Putin’s harsh response will have the [full] support of the Russian people and of the entire world community.” Nemtsov went on to warn: “I don’t want to believe it, but it is not excluded that we are on the threshold of a conflict of civilizations.” It is now necessary, he underscored, to declare emergency rule within Chechnya and to name a governor general, “who would be responsible for everything.” The regime web site Rosinformtsentr gleefully published the text of Nemtsov’s new statement along with the texts of several of his earlier appeals for Russia to negotiate an end to the war with the separatists (Rosinformtsentr, September 13).

        On the evening of September 12, five leading members of the Union of Right Forces faction in the State Duma–Viktor Pokhmelkin, Sergei Kovalev, Sergei Ushenkov, Vladimir Golovev and Yuly Rybakov–submitted a draft resolution to the Duma Council that asks the Russian Constitutional Court “to verify the constitutionality of Boris Yeltsin’s decree of September 23, 1999 that set the rules for the antiterrorist campaign in Chechnya” (AP, September 14). Two days later, four leaders representing the Duma factions Unity and
        Fatherland-All Russia plus the Duma groupings “People’s Deputy” and “Regions of Russia”–Vladislav Reznik, Vyacheslav Volodin, Gennady Raikov and Oleg Morozov–issued a signed statement in which they denounced the appeal by the Union of Right Forces’ deputies to the court as “playing into the hands of the terrorists” and as “the height of cynicism,” especially in light of the recent terrorist assaults in the United States (RIA Novosti, April 14).

        In an interview with the weekly Obshchaya Gazeta (no. 37, September 13), President Ruslan Aushev of Ingushetia emphasized that negotiations with the Chechen separatists remain the sole feasible way to end the current conflict. “I am for negotiations,” he stressed. “There is no other path.”

        On September 11, while speaking at the St. Petersburg Orthodox Theological Academy, Patriarch Aleksy II, the head of the official Russian Orthodox Church, declared that it is “senseless to conduct negotiations with international and internal terrorists” in Chechnya. Categorically repudiating the idea of “renewing negotiations with the rebels,” the patriarch underlined that Russia had already had a negative experience in this regard [a reference to the Khasavyurt Accords of August 1996 that brought an end to the earlier 1994-1996 conflict] (Itar-Tass, September 11).

      • Hi Robert,

        Thank you for the chuckle:

        kremlin press release:

        Chechnia attacks pentagon. [The kremlin kills over 100,000 Chechnians, so they decide to attack the Pentagon, instead of the kremlin?]

        Assassinated former FSB agent Alexander Litvinenko alleged, among other things, that during this time, al-Zawahiri was indeed being trained by the FSB,[50] and that he was not the only link between al-Qaeda and the FSB.[51] Former KGB officer and writer Konstantin Preobrazhenskiy supported Litvinenko’s claim and said that Litvinenko “was responsible for securing the secrecy of Al-Zawahiri’s arrival in Russia, who was trained by FSB instructors in Dagestan, Northern Caucasus, in 1996-1997.”[52]

        Zawahiri and other EIJ members found refuge in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, where Al-Qaeda families had settled. About 250 people were gathered there altogether.

        • Not just the Pentagon, they flew planes also into the World Trade Center. And the people still don’t know why they did this, but one theory is because it was more famous than their Kavkaz Center.

          Or maybe because that’s what them bandits do when they’re bored, they go and explode stuff around the world randomly. See also: surely blowing up the Sochi olympics (at least according to the many LR updates), or this:

        • As of about Dr. al-Zawahiri, the official Russian story is that they had detained him in 1998 (not in 1996-1997) while trying to enter Dagestan from Egypt, held for some time (two months?) and released.

          Litvinenko version is:

          07.05.2007 13:56 (GMT) – 007 News
          Northeast Intelligence Network’s Sean Osborne in his today’s report refers to the late Russian Federal Security Service ex-agent Alexander Litvinenko’s statement to the Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita, cited in its issue dated Saturday, July 16, 2005, that Al-Qaeda’s Ayman al-Zawahiri had trained at a Federal Security Service (the former Russian KGB) base in Dagestan in 1998.

          According to Osborn, the latest statement of al-Zawahiri available in a video release mocking the American war effort echoes Litvinenko’s warnings “which have been resonating in the ether for the past two to eight years now”. He cites Litvinenko’s writing that after training in Dagestan Ayman al-Zawahiri was transferred to Afghanistan where he became Osama Bin Laden’s deputy. “I was working in that section at the time and I can confirm the fact Zawahiri was not the only link between the FSB and Al-Qaeda”, Litvinenko is quoted by the Northeast Intelligence Network.

  33. “Most journalist killed in Iraq have been killed by Sunni extremists”

    I don’t think you are quite there yet in terms of comprehending the term “friendly fire”, Andrew. Here are journalists killed in Iraq by “friendly fire” from US, British and other troops from the US side:


    • @russophobes

      “wow, murdering a journalist for videotaping prison conditions and then claiming that they mistook his little camera for a rocket launcher — that’s even more deranged than what Kadyrov does”

      Okay so. Try for example this:

      I guess it makes the Russian pilots “even more deranged” if they actually thought it’s a rocket launcher, and not just because he was filming the Red Cross convoy they had attacked?

      “Kamaran Abdurazaq Muhamed, Kurdish translator for BBC – Killed on April 6 in U.S. aircraft bombing of joint convoy of Kurdish fighters and U.S. Special Forces in northern Iraq.”

      Yeah, they even bombed a US special forcers convoy just to kill this pesky BBC journalist. It’s how “deranged” they are – if they only kidnapped and executed him, this would be not as much “deranged” as this obvious trap of taking him along (“embedding”) in their convoy.

      Please go away, you are either a very disgusting individual or a total idiot (or both).

  34. And Flemming Rose, the Jyllands Posten cultural editor who commissioned the cartoons in 2005, happened to serve for several years as a correspondent in Moscow where, Kalugin observes, he published a spate of obviously government-sponsored, anti-Chechen articles. According to Litvinenko and journalist Adlan Beno, Rose also happens to be married to the daughter of an ex-KGB officer. This does not per se make Rose a Russian agent, of course, but Russian intelligence may well have availed itself of this “in-house” connection to influence the Danish journalist. “This guy may have been used,” Kalugin says.

    Click to access back_active%20measures.pdf

    • Ah, Mr. Rose. A sample of his science-fiction:

      One such Nordic holy warrior was a Danish advisor to Chechen militants going by the nom de guerre Ibn Wahab. Interviewing Wahab in a Russian prison, Rose discovered that he had taken six wives, three of them Russian girls, naming one Aisha after the youngest wife of the Prophet Muhammad. “That was when I was first confronted with radical Islam,” Rose says. “I concluded then that it was a totalitarian ideology, very aggressive and framing itself in the same us-vs.-them dichotomy as Nazism and Stalinism.”

      It would be cute if he also provided a real name of “a Danish advisor to Chechen militants going by the nom de guerre Ibn Wahab” and wondered why his government is not interested in the fate of his fictional character.

      Rose wiping his ass with “his old friend” Sergei Kovalyev (old he certainly is, unlike Rose):

      Shortly after the horrific 2002 Moscow musical theatre siege by Chechen terrorists that left 130 dead, I met with one of my old dissident friends, Sergei Kovalev. A hero of the human rights movement in the old Soviet Union, Kovalev had long been a defender of the Chechens and a critic of the Russian attacks on Chechnya. But after the theatre massacre, he refused to indulge in politically correct drivel about the Chechens’ just fight for secession and decolonization. He unhesitatingly denounced the terrorists, and insisted that a nation’s right to self-determination did not imply a free ticket to kill and violate basic individual rights. For me, it was a clarifying moment on the dishonesty of identity politics and the sometime tyranny of elevating group rights above those of individuals—of justifying the killing of innocents in the name of some higher cause.

      Yes, because they gassed to death the hostages and themselves there. You know, like in Auschwitz (where the SS would also gas the prisoners and themselves at once, too). But hey, this was not the only Chechen Auchwitz:

      In particular, Rose, referring to his “sources” in Russia, asserted, that A.Zakaev killed a Russian priest (later the priest in the wonderful manner “resurrected” and has arrived to London to testify on court against Zakaev to the murder). About present the head of Ministries of Foreign Affairs of CHRI Usman Ferzali [Ferzauli ]Flemming Rose wrote, as about an “organizer” and the head of Chechen “GULAG” in which in conditions of Osventsem [Russian for Auschwitz] were contained Russian military prisoners”.

      You know, “Nazism and Stalinism”, complete with “GULAG and Auschwitz”, “horrific” gas chambers in Moscow and “Nordic holy warriors”.

      Btw, Kadyrov declared that he wanted “this cartoonist” to be “buried alive”, but said nothing about Rose. But I guess it was just out of his ignorance and stupidity (I mean Ramzan the Hero of Russia).

    • Certainly, of all ex-KGB goons, scumballs, racketeers and murderers, Litvinenko is the only one to induce almost as much laughter as disgust.

      I find the following claim to be his funniest:


      Danish cartoon controversy

      According to Litvinenko, the 2005 controversy over the publication in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten of editorial cartoons depicting the Islamic prophet Muhammad was orchestrated by the FSB to punish Denmark for its refusal to extradite Chechen separatists.[33]

      • Human rights activists today accused Chechnya’s president, Ramzan Kadyrov, of personally threatening Natalia Estemirova, the Russian human rights campaigner who was abducted and shot dead in Chechnya yesterday.

        Oleg Orlov, the director of the human rights organisation Memorial, claimed Kadyrov made the threat during a meeting just months before her death. He said the president’s aides had explicitly warned her to stop her work in Chechnya.

        “I know who is guilty of Natalia’s murder. His name is Ramzan Kadyrov,” Orlov said in a statement posted today on Memorial’s website.


  35. And here is his story how in year 2000, while he was presumably rotting in Moscow jail, he met the FSB deputy chief for a friendly chit-chat, and the latter lovingly confided to him FSB’s biggest secret: that the Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi is a KGB spy! It looks like the only honorable and honest man in all of Italy is Prodi’s rival Silvio Berlusconi, when he rests from controlling 5 out 7 top TV channels, being indicted in Spain for charges of tax fraud and violation of anti-trust laws, and screwing teenagers at wild orgies. I wonder if Berlusconi paid Litvinenko more than did Berezovsky or less… :-)


    Allegations concerning Romano Prodi

    According to Litvinenko, FSB deputy chief, General Anatoly Trofimov said to him “Don’t go to Italy, there are many KGB agents among the politicians. Romano Prodi is our man there”,[57][58] meaning Romano Prodi, the Italian centre-left leader, former Prime Minister of Italy and former President of the European Commission.

    • That’s cute how in your copy-paste from Wikipedia (with curiously a redirect link, twice) you ommited:

      “The conversation with Trofimov took place in 2000, after the Prodi-KGB scandal broke out in October 1999 due to information about Prodi provided by Vasili Mitrokhin.[13]”

      And also Berlusconi is also a close ally and personal friend of Putin. I wonder what stops you short from claiming Litvinenko was also paid to smuggle-in the Russian polonium using Lugovoy’s “business” baggage (as in “it’s only business, nothing personal”) and then to ingest it in London in order to “meet 76 virgins”. (Btw, the FSB his now destroying his books for “disclosing state secrets”.)

      Please just get out. At least you’ll stop derailing threads and diverting attention. It was the last I answered you, or even when I did read anything from you.

    • “The conversation with Trofimov took place in 2000, after the Prodi-KGB scandal broke out in October 1999 due to information about Prodi provided by Vasili Mitrokhin.[13]”

      Thanks for adding this text for me, Robert. You are very good. Indeed, given that Trofimov was fired in 1997, Litvinenko’s claim that it was in year 2000 looks even more ridiculous.


      Trofimov … was later FSB deputy director and head of service for the Moscow region until February 1997 when he was fired.

  36. Kadyrov and Putin wanted this brave woman dead to cover up their crimes.

    Any invsetigation by the Russian/Chechen authorities is like having Nazi’s conduct the investigations for the Nuremburg trials.

    Estemirova’s Death Raises Questions About Kadyrov’s Power

    By Gregory Feifer
    Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has vowed to carry out a full investigation into the murder of Natalya Estemirova, the latest human rights activist to have been killed in Russia.

    But Estemirova’s colleagues say the murder was sanctioned by Ramzan Kadyrov, the powerful leader of Chechnya, and will likely go unpunished.

    Estemirova worked for Memorial, a human rights organization whose dingy offices in central Grozny are the first stop for researchers and journalists traveling to Chechnya. The 50-year-old single mother, who lived with her 15-year-old daughter in a cramped Grozny apartment, documented disappearances, torture, and killings since Moscow launched its second war in Chechnya 10 years ago.

    Memorial head Oleg Orlov told RFE/RL’s Russian Service that Estemirova was killed to stop her from investigating a recent spate of kidnappings she believed were carried out by forces loyal to Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov.

    “Ramzan Kadyrov was personally unhappy about what Natalya Estemirova was doing. Ramzan Kadyrov personally threatened her, in a private conversation,” Orlov said.

    “She spoke later about what he said to her. He said, ‘I have blood on my hands, it’s true, and I’m not ashamed of it. I have killed and will continue to kill bad people.’ And that statement was followed by insults and threats against [Estemirova],” he continued.

    Estemirova’s bullet-riddled body was found on July 15 in a stretch of woods in neighboring Ingushetia hours after she was snatched by kidnappers outside her home. Colleagues said witnesses heard her screaming that she was being kidnapped as she was bundled into a white Lada.

    ‘She Spoke The Truth’

    Russian President Dmitry Medvedev expressed outrage at the killing. Speaking in Munich on July 16, he said Estemirova’s murder was a “very sad incident.”

    “Perhaps unlike other such incidents, which unfortunately happen in Russia, it is absolutely obvious to me that this killing was linked to her professional activities,” Medvedev said. “Her professional activities are something that any normal country needs. She was doing a very useful job. She spoke the truth.”

    Estemirova’s death was the latest in a long series of killings of rivals and critics of Kremlin-appointed Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov. The list includes Estemirova’s colleague, journalist Anna Politkovskaya, and a former Kadyrov bodyguard who was chased and gunned down on a street in Vienna.

    Dmitry Muratov, editor of the crusading “Novaya gazeta” newspaper, said he last spoke to Estemirova after yet another Kadyrov critic, lawyer Stanislav Markelov, was shot dead on a Moscow street in January.

    “I said, ‘Natasha, you should get the hell out of there, immediately. No one is going to help you. They have no limits anymore. You should simply get out of there immediately.’ She said she understood that,” Muratov said.

    An eccentric former rebel, Kadyrov has overseen the reconstruction of Chechnya following two devastating wars. Moscow declared an end to its 10-year counterterrorism operation in the region earlier this year.

    But there’s been a growing number of shootings and bombings since then in Chechnya and across neighboring regions in the restive North Caucasus.

    Last month, Ingush leader Yunus Bek Yevkurov was seriously injured in a suicide bomb explosion.

    Editor Muratov says Estemirova’s murder is raising new questions about the Kremlin’s reliance on a largely independent Kadyrov to maintain its authority in Chechnya.

    “There will be two versions [of the killing] now: one, that it was Kadyrov who killed her, and two, that she was killed to frame Kadyrov. And everybody will talk about these two versions forever,” Muratov said.

    “But this is not what this story is about. It is that when there are special territories in the country where the constitution does not apply, anything can happen there,” he said.

    Kadyrov has raised alarm bells among those who believe he had a hand in Estemirova’s murder by vowing to oversee the investigation into the killing.

    Veteran rights activist Lev Ponomaryov says he welcomes Medvedev’s statements, but doesn’t believe the president can guarantee an objective investigation even if he wants to.

    Kadyrov’s influence in Chechnya “is endless, and I believe he’s one of the suspects. That’s why his desire to head the probe is dangerous for the investigation,” Ponomaryov said.

    Estemirova was due to be buried in her native Chechen village of Ishkoi-Yurt on July 16.

    Before her death, Estemirova said she believed Kadyrov’s forces were relying on the growing abductions and killings in Chechnya to enforce their rule. For many of Estemirova’s supporters, her murder is seen as confirmation.


  37. And from the “You have to be joking” department, more Russian stupidity.

    Lets make the prime suspect lead the invsetigation into the murder of the brave journalist uncovering his crimes!!!!

    Chechen president takes charge of activist’s murder inquiry
    The president of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, said he would take personal control of an investigation into the murder of Natalya Estemirova, hours after his regime was accused of ordering the slaying of the human rights campaigner.

    By Miriam Elder in Moscow
    Published: 5:55PM BST 16 Jul 2009

    Ramzan Kadyrov, who was installed by the Kremlin as leader of the southern Russian republic, denied the allegation by colleagues of Natalya Estemirova that he was behind her abduction and murder and insisted that he would bring her “cynical” killers to justice.

    Mr Kadyrov’s spokesman, Alvi Kerimov, said: “Kadyrov said those who stand behind the organisation of this crime present a bigger threat to society than terrorists and Wahhabists [Sunni Muslim extremists].”

    Any accusation of Mr Kadyrov’s involvement was “absolutely absurd”, he said, saying Mr Kadyrov was “indignant” over the murder. “Kadyrov never directly threatened her. He respected her.”

    In a comment that reflected Chechnya’s bloody history and alleged human rights violations, Mr Kerimov said that Mr Kadyrov had promised two investigations – one official and one “unofficial, according to Chechen traditions”.

    The killing on Wednesday of one of Russia’s most outspoken critics of the Chechen regime drew condemnation from around the world. The White House said in a statement that it was “deeply disturbed and saddened” by what was a “brutal slaying”, while Chancellor Angela Merkel said she had expressed her “shock” to Dmitry Medvedev and called for the Russian president, who was visiting germany, to mount a rigorous inquiry.

    Mr Medvedev said that Russia’s chief prosecutor would take control of the case in a separate investigation in Moscow.

    Members of Memorial, Russia’s leading human rights group which had posted Miss Estemirova in Chechnya, held a peaceful demonstration in central Moscow.

    Hours before the killing, activists had called for Mr Putin to face prosecution over alleged atrocities committed in Chechnya during his presidency.

    “Who is protecting Kadyrov? He came to power under Putin. That’s why I am addressing this person,” said Lyudmila Alekseyeva, the doyenne of Russia’s human rights community, who was speaking at apress conference in Moscow.

    “I blame both of them both for involvement in the killing,” she said.

    Mrs Alekseyeva, 82, said: “How they live in Chechnya reminds me of Stalinist times in the Soviet Union.”

    Dmitry Peskov, Mr Putin’s spokesman, strenuously denied any involvement on the part of the prime minister. He told The Daily Telegraph that those behind the murder were seeking to destabilise the “peace, stability and rule of order” in the republic.

    He called the killing a “terrible murder”.

    “We do share this pain and sorrow because of the murder,” said Mr Peskov.

    “But even this can hardly be an excuse for these kind of allegations that have nothing to do with real efforts that have been spent by President Putin during the last decade in terms of bringing peace, stability and rule of order to the troubled land of Chechnya,” he said.

    Miss Estemirova, a 50-year-old single mother with a 15-year-old daughter, won numerous international awards for her work.

    She was kidnapped from in front of her home in the Chechen capital Grozny and her body was found later that day in the neighbouring republic of Ingushetia. She had two gun shot wounds to the head, suggesting an execution-style killing.

    Miss Estemirova – who is half Chechen – was due to be buried in her hometown of Gudermes in the republic.


    • Oh ome on, Andrew. The esteemed Russian national hero and academician Ramzan Akhmadovich is an excellent investigator “according to Chechen traditions”. Just check out for example this statement by him a few days ago:

      “We are destroying their ‘emirs’ every day. The investigation will be complete when Umarov or Yevloev are no longer around.” Kadyrov claimed that the real number of rebels in Chechnya is ten times lower than the estimates made by the federal military authorities, meaning that only 50-70 rebels remain in the republic. He also insisted that there are only “a dozen or so” inhabitants of Chechnya among the militants. “The majority of those located on the border of the Chechen Republic and the Republic of Ingushetia are Azerbaijanis, Turks, Ukrainians, Georgians, Arabs,” he said, adding that 60-70 percent of the militants are “foreign mercenaries.” “We have information from a captured militant that they are given some kind of tablets, and that after taking them, a person comes to resemble a robot, and is in a daze,” Kadyrov said. “They get these tablets from abroad and give them to young people. These are excellently trained workers of Western special services, who are working against the Russian Federation. They are using us, knowing our mentality, knowing that a majority of us are Muslims. They have good supplies and specialists. All of the foreign special services workers are operating against Russia. And the people of Russia accuse us. They think that a war is still going on here, that Chechens are bandits and terrorists. But Chechens are dying while protecting Russia’s [territorial] integrity. Hundreds of thousands died here, thousands of people disappeared without a trace, thousands of police died in battle” (www.izvestia.ru, July 7).

    • Dmitry M. jumps to defend Ramzan in Munich:

      MUNICH, July 16 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Dmitry Medvedev dismissed as “primitive” a theory implicating Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov in the murder of human rights activist Natalya Estemirova.
      “As for the theories, I believe that those who committed this crime expected that the theories most primitive and unacceptable to the authorities would be put forward immediately,” Medvedev said at a joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Munich.

  38. A single mother of mixed Russian and Chechen parentage, Estemirova worked at Memorial’s poky office in central Grozny, near the monument to a trio of heroic Caucasian figures affectionately known as “the three idiots”. That office, not far from what is now known without irony as Putin Avenue, has a comfortable and slightly shabby feel. Its lacquered front door sticks in the frame; its loo has no light and a hosepipe instead of a cistern. Estemirova’s desk was in a tiny room like a corridor with a colleague behind her, so they sat like two people on a bus: for a private chat she took you to the kitchen out the back and gave you tea and poppyseed cake (I still can’t believe I’m writing this in the past tense). She rode to work on the bus and laughed richly at the thought of hiring a bodyguard. Her manner was forthright, warm and accessible.

    But the friendly atmosphere at the office was deceptive. Because the sweet-looking old ladies in headscarves who queued in the hallway came not for idle chat, but to tell tales of depravity: a son shot dead at home by masked men in uniform, a nephew detained and tortured, a family made homeless after security forces burnt their house to the ground.

    “This is how things are in our new, peaceful Chechnya,” Estemirova once told me with a grim smile, after describing the disappearance of a young woman who was kidnapped by camouflaged men in central Grozny. It was such horrors which Estemirova painstakingly recorded and publicised, to the chagrin of Chechnya’s Kremlin-backed government. For the man she considered most at fault for the cruelty in recent years was the republic’s president, Ramzan Kadyrov, who was appointed by the Russian leader Vladimir Putin.


  39. Remembering Natalia

    By Lucy Ash
    BBC Radio 4, Crossing Continents

    Natalia Estemirova, murdered this week, was Chechnya’s foremost defender of human rights and an exceptionally brave woman, as I discovered on a recent visit to the capital Grozny, where I had come to investigate a string of abductions, unexplained disappearances and murders of women.


  40. Andrew,

    Look like you have successfully sunk this blog with your flood of irrelevant russophobic drive, deflecting attention from the murders of journalists to wife abuse.

    You don’t care about human rights in Russia. All you want is to vent your personal frustrations with the Russian culture.

  41. Natalia Estemirova gave interview to “Caucasian Knot” one day before her death


    During the first conversation Natalia Estemirova said that Ramzan Albekov was executed in the presence of witnesses by employees of Russian power agencies. They told the witnesses that Ramzan had helped rebellious militants. His son Aziz was “nobody knows where.”

    Under Estemirova’s statement, the Albekovs were absolutely ordinary people. “They had never been engaged in any improper activities. For 26 years they lived in the Stavropol Territory, and returned home only a year ago. The son has just finished school,” said the human rights advocate.

    Last year, this family won the case at the European Court, which found Russia guilty of inability to ensure its obligations to defend lives of its citizens in Chechnya, who die from land mines.

    During the second conversation with Natalia Estemirova, the topic was on the persons executed at night of July 13 in the Urus-Martan District between Goi-Chu and Alkhazurovo villages.

  42. The statement of the Human Rights Centre (HRC) “Memorial” that has arrived to the “Caucasian Knot” runs that Ramzan Kadyrov has made the work of human rights activists in Chechnya impossible. Russia is under state terror; those who try to tell the truth and criticize the regime are assassinated


    Oleg Orlov, Board Chairman of the HRC “Memorial”, directly points to Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov as to the person in charge of Estemirova’s murder. “Ramzan has already threatened Natalia; he insulted her and treated as his personal enemy. We don’t know, whether he gave the order himself, or it was done by his closest allies to please their boss. While President Medvedev is probably satisfied to have a killer as the head of one of Russia’s subjects,” Mr Orlov has stated.

    When Natalia dared to speak disapprovingly that girls are almost forced to wear headscarves in public places, she had a talk with Kadyrov. She said later that Kadyrov threatened her and said literally the following: “Yes, my arms are elbow-deep in blood; and I’m not ashamed of it. I’ve been killing and I’ll keep killing bad people. We’re at war with enemies of our republic.”

    Human rights and political organizations of St Petersburg have also adopted a statement, emphasizing that there are no doubts that the murder is directly linked with Natalia’s public work, since she made public war crimes in Chechnya related to execution of peaceful citizens, including women and children

  43. In her last video interview to the “Caucasian Knot”, Natalia Estemirova, an employee of the HRC “Memorial”, who was shot dead on Wednesday, July 15, expressed her “complete confidence” that the murders of her friends – journalist Anna Politkovskaya and advocate Stanislav Markelov – were committed “upon blessing of those in power.”


  44. From beyond the grave: A searing indictment of Putin’s protegé

    A report by Natalya Estemirova, the Russian activist murdered in Chechnya as she investigated human rights abuses


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