WaPo Condemns the Kremlin

At last, a major American newspaper has come out with the unvarnished truth about Russia.  Under the headline “Russia, Disgraced” the Washington Post tells it like it is in an editorial on the Estemirova killing:

IN RUSSIA, a surefire way to curtail one’s life expectancy is to tell truths and pose questions that are inconvenient to the Kremlin and its loyalists. That is particularly so for journalists, human rights activists and others who dare to criticize the supremely brutal regime in the southern Russian region of Chechnya, which, with the Kremlin’s full backing, has prosecuted a blood-soaked anti-insurgency campaign.

The latest truth-teller to be assassinated, Natalya Estemirova, who was kidnapped, shot to death and dumped on a roadside Wednesday, was also among the bravest. Ms. Estemirova, a 50-year-old single mother of a teenage daughter, defied the Chechen strongman, Ramzan Kadyrov, by relentlessly documenting a campaign of torture, abductions, intimidation and extrajudicial executions carried out by security forces under his control. And despite repeated threats to her life — including, according to her associates, explicit ones made to her face by Mr. Kadyrov himself — Ms. Estemirova pursued her work while living in the Chechen capital, Grozny.

Appallingly, Russian leaders, particularly Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, have barely managed to stifle their yawns at some such murders in the past, including killings that took place on the streets of Moscow. The fact that Western governments took notice of that indifference no doubt prompted a quick condemnation this week from Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian president, in response to Ms. Estemirova’s death. But the fact remains that dozens of contract-style murders of those who unearth ugly truths have gone unsolved, and there’s little reason to hope that Russia’s shambolic justice system will do any better in resolving this latest outrage.

The list of those whose killers remain unknown or at large is long and varied, and testifies to Russia’s culture of lawlessness and impunity. It includes, among many others:

— Stanislav Markelov, a human rights lawyer who campaigned for Chechen victims of Moscow’s policies, gunned down in January a few blocks from the Kremlin, along with a young journalist who tried to intervene.

— Anna Politkovskaya, the superb Russian journalist whose work illuminated horrific abuses in Chechnya, assassinated in her Moscow apartment building in 2006.

— Sergei Yushenkov, a prominent member of Russia’s parliament and fierce critic of the Kremlin, shot dead in front of his Moscow home in 2003.

— Paul Klebnikov, American editor of the Russian-language edition of Forbes magazine who did trailblazing investigations of Moscow’s super-wealthy oligarchs, assassinated in 2004 on a Moscow street.

Those murders and dozens of others, as well as the state’s evident inability or unwillingness to solve them, subvert Russia’s demands to be included in the ranks of civilized nations. For the country, these crimes are a disgrace; for the leadership in the Kremlin, they are an indictment.

4 responses to “WaPo Condemns the Kremlin

  1. Hurray! for the Washington Post!
    What a concise and right to the point article.
    Let’s hope other western news media, also wake up and finally speak the dirty truth about dirty-KGB run present Russia. Only the truth will help, only the full truth.

  2. Since Gorby’s times, Russians know from experience: if the Western media praise you, stop and think what terrible mistake you have done, but their blasting on you is a sure sign that you are doing everything right.


    That’s because, as all Russians know, the American media is controlled by the CIA, right? That’s why they routinely bash the president and Congress, who enjoy miniscule approval ratings compared to Russia.

    Eugene, do you think AT ALL before you write things other people can see? Do you you ever pause to consider how bad you make Russia look spouting this nonsense?

    The USA has been stable and prosperous for TWO HUNDRED YEARS. It now has a standard of living so high as to make Russia look like a third-world state by comparison. In that time, Russia has COLLAPSED TWICE and is on the verge of a hat trick. And you suggest Americans don’t know what they are doing, and Russians do.

    That’s mentally ill Eugene. You are raving like a madman.

  3. The CIS “near abroad” is also begining to condem their “Friendly” kremlin neighbor, and building higher fences.

    MOSCOW – The Kremlin will find it hard to ignore the absence of half the leaders of the former Soviet Union from an informal summit in Moscow last weekend, at a time when Europe is developing its interests in Russia’s “back yard”.

    This year’s Presidential Cup horse race, a traditional cue for an informal gathering of the 11-member Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), drew only five top guests: the leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Moldova and Tajikistan.

    The presidents of Ukraine, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan all failed to show up, citing personal reasons. Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko went instead to ride a Harley-Davidson at a local bikers’ rally.

    “The CIS leaders used the chance … to show they are unhappy with the state of relations with Russia,” said Alexei Mukhin, head of the Centre of Political Information think tank.

    Medvedev’s predecessor Vladimir Putin had managed to stiffen the loyalty of the ex-Soviet states, helped by their economic dependence on Moscow and their fear of popular revolutions. But Russia’s war with Georgia last year and a series of bilateral spats have strained this loyalty again.

    “A race away from Russia is inevitable,” analyst Leonid Radzikhovsky said on an opposition-minded web site, Yezhednyevny Zhurnal. (http://www.ej.ru) ……………………….

    [read rest at:]


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