SPECIAL EXTRA EDITORIAL
Barack Obama declares war on La Russophobe
Reacting to the murder of Russian hero journalist Natalia Estemirova, the European Union stated: “We condemn that brutal act and call for the authorities to try to establish who is responsible and take the action that is called for.”
Here’s what Barack Obama’s State Department had to say: “The United States is deeply saddened by reports of the abduction and murder of respected human rights activist Natalya Estemirova. We call upon the Russian government to bring those responsible to justice.” Think that was just State, and Obama’s White House had stronger feelings? Nope, they were “sad” too. They were maybe a little sadder than state, to the point of being “disturbed.” They called the act an “outrageous crime” but did not condemn it as the EU was willing to do.
The EU is outraged and condemns the brutality, the American president is “sad” about the murder and has no further comment. We are disgusted beyond words. It feels as if Mr. Obama has declared war on La Russophobe. And let’s be clear: The EU statement was hardly all it should have been. Rather than “calling” for justice, the EU should have demanded it, and should have specified what steps it would take if Russia, once again, failed to deliver justice. Europe has always looked to America for leadership on such issues, and now it is America that looks to Europe. It is a nightmare.
Human rights leaders in Russia were not so cowardly.
They were willing to point the finger of blame where it belongs: at Ramzan Kadyrov and Vladimir Putin:
“I blame both of them for the killing — for involvement in the killing,” Lyudmila Alexeyeva, head of the Moscow Helsinki Group and one of the country’s most respected activists, told an emotional news conference in Moscow. “The impunity and omnipotence of Ramzan Kadyrov depends on the support of … Putin,” Alexeyeva said. “As long as Putin supports him nobody will touch a hair on Kadyrov’s head, even if he kills us all.”
Oleg Orlov, head of the Memorial rights group that Estemirova worked form, said Kadyrov hated Estemirova and saw her as “a personal enemy.” He said Kadyrov had created an atmosphere in which people in Chechnya were kidnapped every day and put into secret prisons. “The highest officials of Russia in recent years and today — including Putin and Medvedev — are to blame for the creation in Chechnya of a climate of permissiveness, impunity and the carrying out of massive, grave crimes by representatives of the state,” he told reporters.
These are people with their lives on the line, and they speak up. But Barack Obama, sitting confortably esconced in his White House after calling Vladimir Putin a “pragmatist” who acts in the interests of his country after visiting Putin in Moscow, will not speak up. Indeed, who can say that Mr. Obama’s reckless praise of Putin did not signal to the KGB lunatic that he had a free hand to continue his purge of civil society, a litany of killings that Obama did not once mention in any context while he was in Moscow?
And let’s be clear: It’s not just that Putin allowed Kadyrov a free hand to commit murders. He allowed Kadyrov to openly and repeatedly threaten the murdered journalist with impunity. That is the same as telling Kadyrov he had a go-ahead to strike her down.
Well, at least we know where we stand. Mr. Obama is no friend of democracy in Russia, just as we feared. Once again, the world must look someplace other than America if it wants a resolute defense of American values.