Dmitri Medevev, Rat Bastard
“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. Her professional activities are necessary for any normal state, she was doing very useful things. She was telling the truth, she has openly and sometimes maybe even harshly evaluated certain processes in the country and that is why defenders of human rights are so valuable even if they are uncomforting and unpleasant for the authorities.”
Those are the remarks of Russian “president” Dmitri Medvedev, made in Germany, in response to the brutal murder of heroic Russian journalist Natalia Estemirova. Without any investigation having taken place at all, Medvedev has already ruled out the possiblity that Chechen dictator Ramzan Kadyrov, who had repeatedly threatened Estemirova’s life, could have been involved in the killing. He calls such an idea “unacceptable to the authorities.” Not false, mind you, just “unacceptable.” Just as Putin did with Politkovskaya, he claims the murderers are foreign conspirators who want to make Russia look bad. Berezovsky again, Mr. Medvedev? And while acknowledging her work as “necessary” he also finds it necessary to dismiss it as “harsh.”
So now we know without any shadow of doubt exactly where so-called “liberal” Medvedev stands. He stands with Putin. And let’s not forget for a second: Putin gave Kadyrov Russia’s highest state honour, making him a “Hero of Russia.”
Indeed, we can’t help but remember that Vladimir Putin was also in Germany when he finally reacted to the murder of Anna Politkovskaya, and he similarly sough to undermine the victim and blame enemies of Russia for provocation while condemning the crime.
But the involvement of the Russian authorities in the murder of Estemirova cannot be questioned. Kadyrov repeatedly threatened Estemirova, and the Kremlin did nothing to silence him or protect her. Her boss, the director of the internationally respected NGO human rights organization Memorial, has directly pointed his finger at Kadyrov for ordering the hit. No rational person can accuse Memorial of being a nest of foreign spies or a propaganda project of Boris Berezovsky. No organization in the world speaks with more moral authority on human rights issues in Chechnya than Memeorial does.
But we hardly need to hear from Memorial. Kadyrov’s enemies have been dropping like flies for nearly a year now, and the Kremlin has said and done nothing about it. Last September there was Ruslan Yamadayev in Moscow. Then in January, Umar Israilov in Vienna. Finally in March there was Sulim Yamadayev, Ruslan’s brother, gunned down in Dubai. Now, it’s Estemirova back home in Chechnya itself. There is no doubt who is behind these killings except in the minds of the people who ordered them.
Everyone else in the world knows that Estemirova was killed on the orders of Kadyrov, and everyone in the world knows that Kadyrov has the authority to give such orders only because he receives it from the Moscow Kremlin, which could remove him at any time just as it can and has removed many other regional leaders who displease. But Medvedev is categorically defending Kadyrov, will not even acknowledge the possiblity that he could have been involved, and falls back on the classic Putinite formulation about evil foreign enemies seeking to make Russia look bad. It’s the same tactic adopted by the USSR to deflect blame over atrocities like the Katyn massacre. It will not work.
Medvedev has shown his true colors, and they are the colors of a rat bastard, willing to dissemble and distract and to use any means to remain in power. The Kremlin’s propaganda network Russia Today is already hard at work furiously seeking to discredit Memorial and anyone who would demand justice in the Estemirova killling. Instead of showing the world a new kind of leader, Medvedev is showing himself to be carbon copy of Vladimir Putin — indeed he’s more than that, he’s as much a puppet of Putin as Kadyrov himself.
Of course, there is one other possiblity: That the Kremlin has lost control of Kadyrov and is afraid to admit it. That Chechnya has already won de facto independence from Russia despite so much Russian blood being spilled to prevent that circumstance, and the Kremlin is simply not prepared to accept this reality publicly. In other words, that Putin has created a Frankenstein in Chechnya. It’s difficult to decide which prospect is the more terrifying, the Medvedev can’t control Kadyrov, or that he can and chooses not to.