Not since the Time of Stalin

An editorial in the Washington Post:

MURDERS OF human rights activists in Russia have been happening with such frequency that some will be tempted to shrug at the brutal slaying on Sunday of Maksharip Aushev, who campaigned against abuses by the security forces in the Caucasian republic of Ingushetia. Mr. Maksharip was driving on a major highway, in broad daylight, when a car pulled up beside him and delivered a fusillade of bullets. His funeral came two months after that of Zarema Sadulayeva, the head of a children’s charity in neighboring Chechnya, and her husband, who were shot and stuffed in a car trunk. Those murders, in turn, followed the July 15 killing of Natalya Estemirova, Chechnya’s most prominent human rights activist.

No one has been arrested, much less held responsible, in any of these cases. No one has been charged for the murder last Jan. 19 of human rights lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova, who were gunned down on a busy street just blocks from the Kremlin. The murderers of journalist Anna Politkovskaya, who was assassinated outside her Moscow apartment three years ago this month, remain at large. These courageous men and women had in common their effort to hold Russian security forces accountable for the extrajudicial killings, torture and rape of innocent civilians in Chechnya, Ingushetia and other Caucasus republics.

Russia leader Vladimir Putin has been shrugging at this gangsterism all along. He disparaged Ms. Politkovskaya, one of the country’s most renowned journalists, shortly after her death, and he’s had nothing to say about the recent killings. President Dmitry Medvedev has been a little more responsive, expressing regrets and once meeting with editors of the newspaper where Ms. Politkovskaya and Ms. Baburova worked. But he doesn’t seem to have much influence over his country’s security forces. A year ago Mr. Medvedev replaced the governor of Ingushetia after Mr. Aushev led protests against the killing of an opposition journalist. But the new governor was powerless to stop the latest assassination, which he blamed on “power-wielding structures.”

Everyone in Russia knows who he is talking about: the lawless gunmen commanded by the Kremlin-backed ruler of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, and the Federal Security Service, which is the successor to Mr. Putin’s KGB. Russians also know that Mr. Putin could put a stop to the state-sponsored murders if he chose to; he does not. This is not new, of course. Past Kremlin rulers have used murder to shore up their authority. Not since the time of Joseph Stalin, however, have the political killings been so blatant — or so chillingly common.

10 responses to “Not since the Time of Stalin

  1. Critic of Chechen president Ramzan Kadyrov abducted in Moscow

    Fears for safety of Russian human rights campaigner Arbi Khachukayev after he is flown to Chechnya

    A Russian human rights group today said that gunmen loyal to Chechnya’s pro-Kremlin president had abducted a human rights activist in Moscow and flown him to Chechnya.

    Chechen security officials grabbed Arbi Khachukayev this afternoon and then bundled him on to a flight to Chechnya’s capital, Grozny, Memorial said. Its staff were deeply concerned for his safety, it added.

    Khachukayev runs a Chechen human rights organisation, Law. It has exposed human rights abuses allegedly committed by forces loyal to Chechnya’s Kremlin-appointed president, Ramzan Kadyrov. Last night Chechnya’s interior ministry claimed that Khachukayev had been seized for taking part in an “armed assault”.


    Meanwhile Isa Yamadayev,the last open enemy of Kadyrov in the so called “pro-russian chechen camp”,finally left russia forever last sunday,after Kadyrov´s killer-gangs tried to assassinate him in a staged car-accident in Moscow! Isa told,that his life in Moscow and russia is in huge danger and therefore he left russia immediately after the assassination-attempt last sunday and that he has no plans to return to russia again! No one knows,where he is,the rumours tell,that he is either in Dubai or in Canada!
    With Isa´s indefinite flight from russia Kadyrov has “rubbed out” the last opponent of his rule in the “pro-russian chechen camp”. Only the chechen rebels are now still fighting against Kadyrov and his gangster-militias called “chechen police”.

    • Alright Akhmad/Kadyrovfan/whatever (don’t ask me how I always know it’s you), what do you think about the recent supposed assassination plot against Ramzan & Ad by the former Vostoks? Actual stuff or just theatrics?

  3. Lawyer: Man says he killed lawyer, journalist

    By BEN JUDAH (AP) – 16 hours ago

    MOSCOW — A suspect in the killing of a human rights lawyer and a journalist has confessed to the crime, his lawyer said Friday.

    A Moscow court on Thursday approved the arrest of a man and a woman suspected in January’s killing of Stanislav Markelov and Anastasia Baburova, which caused an international outcry.

    Russia has seen a string of contract-style killings of human rights workers and journalists in recent years. Few of the killings are ever solved. In the rare case when people suspected of taking part in a killing are brought to trial, the mastermind is rarely identified.

  4. Danish Refugee Council

    Staff member missing in Chechnya

  5. whom are you talking about? It´s not my fault,that some guys post under several names,using several ID`s,including through hacker-attacks. Most of those guys are the same russian FSB-hackers,who constantly hack georgian websites and personal websites of all russia-critical guys.

    Concerning Yamadayev i don´t think,that those former Vostok-members are able to launch assassination-attempts against Kadyrov on their own. Maybe some of them joined the rebels and use their knowledge of Kadyrov´s home region Gudermes,where the Yamadayevites also lived! But most of recent killed young chechens were civilians and no rebels. The rebels usually acknowledge their “martyrs”. Kadyrov kills young civilians to frighten all other young people not to join the rebels

  6. What is truly shocking in Putin’s undemocratic Russia is the fact that not one person has ever been convicted in any of these murders of civil right workers or journalist I will repeat not one since the reign of Putin, now that’s sinister and alarming.

    Since the beslan siege in North Ossetia all the presidents of the caucus republics Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia have been handpicked by Moscow the citizens of these republics have had their democratic right to vote for a leader removed, unsurprisingly since then the deaths of so called terrorists have gone from a handful to hundreds in Dagestan and Ingushetia.

    During the Duma/Presidential elections in 2008, Putin’s United Russia party were a little over zealous when ballot box stuffing in Chechnya, embarrassingly when the voter turnout was assessed it was noted that 99% of the Chechen electorate voted now that’s either the most enthusiastic group of voters in the history of democracy or something stinks you decide.

    • Only 99%?

      Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov stated during a television interview carried live by the central Russian TV channels that the voter turnout during the “elections” in Chechnya would “be no less than 100 percent and maybe even more” (RIA Novosti, October 12; North Caucasus Weekly, October 16).

  7. During the elapsed 18 months, the inquiry into the murders of the employees of the humanitarian organization “Let’s Save the Generation” Zarema Sadulayeva and her husband Alik Dzhabrailov “has not left its starting point.” This was stated by Adlan Mukhamedov, the current head of the NGO “Let’s Save the Generation”.

    “I’m in permanent contact with the investigator, but there is no new information – nothing about the suspects and nothing about the versions of the murder – at least they tell me nothing,” Adlan Mukhamedov told the “Caucasian Knot” correspondent.

    Let us note here that in March 2010 Mr Kadyrov accused, during his meeting with the PACE Rapporteur Dick Martin, “international terrorists or those who support them” of murdering human rights defenders Natalia Estemirova and Zarema Sadulayeva.

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