EDITORIAL: Congratulations, Memorial!

Memorial's Oleg Orlov (left to right), Lyudmila Alekseyeva, and Sergei Kovalyov receive the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize in Strasbourg.


Congratulations, Memorial!

Last week in Strasbourg the President of the EU Parliament, Jerzy Buzek, handed Sergei Kovalev, Oleg Orlov, Lyudmila Alexeyeva of the Memorial human rights organization a check for 50,000 euros and presented them with the EU’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.  Buzek left no doubt about the meaning of the ceremony:

“Human rights defenders in Russia are awaiting liberty.  They are waiting for European Union support, and we are awarding this prize today to all Russian citizens. With this prize we members of the European Parliament honor those who still among us fight for human rights. But we also honor those who lost their lives in this valiant struggle. Natalya Estemirova should have been among us today.”

We congratulate these great Russian patriots on their heroic efforts to bring civilization and democracy to Russia at the risk of their own lives, and we condemn the craven cowards who prowl the Kremlin and seek ways to liquidate them, just as was done in Soviet times.  We also congratulate the EU for making a clear stand against dictatorship and state-sponsored murder in Russia.  The photograph above will surely give the KGB spies in the Kremlin many sleepless nights of well-deserved fury.

Orlov, of course, has already been convicted by Kremlin courts of libeling its lunatic ruler of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadryov, by accusing him of being complicit in the murder of Memorial’s Natalia Estemirova, something Kadyrov has basically admitted is true.  And now Orlov is facing criminal prosecution over the same incident.

Accepting the award Kovlalov stated:

Europe’s task is to not remain silent. But to always insist that Russia respects its obligations to human rights.o not call on Russia to do so would be interpreted as indulgence by the Russian authorities. That would be bad for Russia and for Europe as a whole.  Russia pays victims the compensation ordered by the European human rights court, it’s a sort of impunity tax. And it refuses to investigate crimes and punish the guilty.

He accused the Kremlin of promoting officers who are sanctioned by the ECHR.

These are the words of a true Russian patriot, a man willing to risk his life to pull his country back from the abyss of failure towards which it is hurtling at breakneck speed.  There is a reason Natalia Estemirova, one of Memorial’s leading light, was brutally murdered by the Kremlin:  It was afraid of her.  If more Russians would join forces with Memorial and stand up against the clan of proud KGB spies who rule it, demanding a better future, Russia could have one.

It is heartening to see Europe reaching out to recognize these Russian heroes. it shows that the lame propaganda campaign being practiced by the Kremlin fools nobody, that there are many in Europe who clearly see the neo-Soviet atrocity that Russia threatens to become.  More should now be done to follow up on this first step and give genuine tangible to support to all those brave Russian patriots who will fight for democracy, from Oleg Kozlovsky to Vladimir Milov to Lev Ponomarev.  Only when that is done can the West avoid its own repetition of history.

In another editorial today, we congratulate NATO for clearly standing up to Russia on Georgia and Ukraine. Taken together, these two developments clearly signal that the forces opposing the Putin dictatorship are mobilizing and taking effective steps to contain and ultimately destroy the neo-Soviet threat Putin has created.  The people of Russia now have a clear choice. We urge them to make the right one.

15 responses to “EDITORIAL: Congratulations, Memorial!

  1. In Ingushetia, Maksharip Aushev’s relatives assert that power agents are guilty of his widow’s death


    The “Caucasian Knot” reported earlier that on December 16 in Nazran the car with relatives of earlier murdered Ingush human rights defender Maksharip Aushev was blown up. His widow – Leila Dzhanieva, 51, a resident of Nazran, and her son Ruslan, 25, were lost, while her daughter – Fatima Dzhanieva, 27, and son Amir, 23, were wounded. Magomed Khazbiev, leader of the Ingush opposition, told the “Caucasian Knot” correspondent that before the explosion the car was examined by special agents. Under another version, the reason of the explosion was shelling of the car by militiamen.

  2. The state of Russia is such that Lyudmila Alekseyeva has to go to register application (which will be refused) for the meeting to Moscow city hall with Eduard Lemonov. Eduard Lemonov maybe be not so bad guy afterall but he is kind of “black horse” – nobody is 100% sure what he is up too. His prohibited political party has some roots in soviet and fascist idelogoy. I wonder what will happen if Limonov wins power in Russia. Even with the best intentions, he may be simply killed by his own supporters and then much less intellectual will take his place from ultra-right. What will happen with nuclear weapons then?
    21 century looks quite dark for Russia but it won’t stop companies like MacDonalds or IKEA. They will open their branches even on the Hell’s ass. Why western leaders are so arrogant?

    • @Ramzan Kadryov

      Poles, Kadyrov Trade Barbs Over Refugees


      Kadyrov said he has “regularly heard that Chechen refugees in Poland are living in miserable conditions” and a group of Chechens must have been desperate for trying to take a protest about Polish conditions to Strasbourg before being stopped at Poland’s border earlier in the week.

      “We do not force anybody to return … but if these people come back, their rights will be much better protected,” Kadyrov said in a statement published last week on his government’s web site.

      Kadyrov has regularly been accused of grave human rights violations, including kidnapping and murder — charges that he denies.

      Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski reacted Friday by questioning Kadyrov’s logic. “If there was democracy in Chechnya, I suppose that there would not be as many Chechen refugees as there are, including in Poland,” he said in remarks e-mailed by his ministry to The Moscow Times.

    • When you say “Western leaders” do you mean political leadership or business leaders?

  3. When I say western leaders, I mean all influential people. I don’t get, why Germany and Italy governments lick ass of Putin. Is it the questions of corruption or lack of vision or both? It’s funny when Germans sya they are sorry for Nazi times and at the same time lobby Russian interests like crazy.
    It’s strange when businessmen who are already quite rich are prepared to embrace russian government in exchange for some protection of their business in Russia.
    I blame also Russians but I think those who have power to change things is not only Russians but those who shake hands with Putin and Medvedev and other government oficials.
    Yegor Gaidar wrote in his book that those who is born in freedom often can hardly imagine what’s it like not to have basic freedoms.
    I was born in USSR and I tell you – it’s not much fun. And then Russian TV show meeting of G8 and G20 and all those slave-Russians watch how international leaders hug Putin and Medvedev. What do you think they think? They think that all these leaders are more or less the same. So why try to change anything if they are the same everywhere.
    Stop buying Russian oil and gas and problem solved!

    • Well, I see your point, but it’s not quite right to put all those as you called them “influential people” in one group. They are all different with different interests. Businesses coddle Russia because they smell profit. You can’t blame them — that’s what business is for. They care about their companies and solving global problems is not their job nor do are they really equipped. But they will flee the moment they feel that making profit or doing business in general has become too difficult. Funny you mentioned IKEA. They sell crappy and cheap furniture (at least by American standards) and make ungodly piles of profits, including some of that in Russia. But once they felt that too much bribing is required to sustain their low profit margins — they made it exceedingly clear they leave Russia. The story was widely publicized a few months ago.

      But as far as political leadership is concerned, I am totally with you Alex. Russia must be absolutely expelled from G8 as clearly not qualifying for membership; and I doubt it is the 20th biggest economy in the world either (at least not on a per capita basis). Germans and other Europeans worry too much about gas, I think. They must make it clear that new sources will be found, perhaps this would make Russian hubris a bit smaller

  4. A well deserved award for Russians with personal inegrity working in difficult and constrained circumstances, whose concern is honesty and truth regarding the past and present, human rights to avoid any reversion to totalitarianism.

    No doubt the fact the award was presented by Jerzy Buzek (a Pole) will be enough for their deranged compatriots to accuse and portray them of being n patriotic, a fith column in the pay of the West, who tarnish Russias reputation by not spouting the stock Russian lies and propoganda, past and present.

  5. Relatives of Slain Ingush Opposition Leader Killed and Injured in Blast
    Publication: Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 6 Issue: 233
    December 18, 2009 02:39 PM Age: 4 days
    By: The Jamestown Foundation

    A suicide car bomber attacked a police checkpoint in Nazran, Ingushetia, yesterday (December 17), wounding 23 people –10 internal troops, three members of the patrol-sentry service of Ingushetia’s interior minister and 10 civilians, including three children. Law enforcement sources were quoted today as saying that they had identified the suicide bomber as 23-year-old Batyr Dzhaniev and that the motive for the attack was revenge for the death of his mother –the mother-in-law of slain Ingush opposition leader and human rights activist Maksharip Aushev– in an explosion on December 16 (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, December 17-18).

    Russian news agencies reported on December 16 that two people had been killed and two wounded when a car blew up in Nazran, Ingushetia, after it was shot at by police. Ingushetia’s interior ministry was quoted as saying that the incident took place when the car’s driver tried to do a quick U-turn when the vehicle suddenly came upon a police post and the policemen manning the checkpoint opened fire on the car in order to stop it, after which some sort of explosive device inside the car detonated. The blast reportedly had the power of 5-7 kilograms of TNT.

    Later on December 16, Ingush opposition leader Magomed Khazbiev identified those killed and wounded in the car explosion as the family of Maksharip Aushev, the Ingush opposition leader and rights activist who was shot to death when his car was ambushed in Kabardino-Balkaria on October 25 (EDM, October 26). According to Khazbiev, shortly before the explosion, the car in which Aushev’s widow was traveling along with her mother and two brothers had been stopped by special services staff members wearing masks and helmets, who ordered them out of the car and carefully searched the vehicle for around ten minutes. Khazbiev said the explosion took place as soon as the driver and passengers were allowed to get back into the car and drove off, and that the blast had killed the mother and older brother of Aushev’s widow while seriously wounding Aushev’s widow and her younger brother (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, December 16).

    Kommersant yesterday (December 17) identified those inside the VAZ-21099 car at the time of the blast as 27-year-old Fatima Dzhanieva, the pregnant widow of Maksharip Aushev, along with her two brothers and mother. The newspaper reported that one of Fatima Dzhanieva’s brothers, 24-year-old Muslim Dzhaniev, who was driving the car at the time of the explosion, was killed along with her mother, 51-year-old Leila Dzhanieva, and that Fatima and another brother, 23-year-old Amirkhan, were hospitalized with serious injuries. Kommersant quoted an investigator as saying that a bomb had been placed underneath the driver’s seat or on the bottom of the car beneath the driver’s seat. “Clearly, this was a well-planned attack,” the investigator told the newspaper (Kommersant, December 17). It should be noted that the Novosti Ingushetii portal named the slain brother of Aushev’s widow who was behind the wheel at the time of the blast as 25-year-old Ruslan Dzhaniev, not Muslim Dzhaniev, as Kommersant reported (www.kakaz-uzel.ru, December 16).

    The Moscow Times today (December 18) quoted Kaloi Akhilgov, a spokesman for Ingushetia’s President Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, as denying that the blast was caused by a bomb in the car. Akhilgov said the car was running on propane gas, which exploded when police fired at the car.

    On December 12, Maksharip Aushev’s brother, Mussa, complained that the investigation of Maksharip’s murder had made no evident progress despite the fact that President Yevkurov and Russian Prosecutor-General Yury Chaika had taken the case under their personal control. Mussa Aushev also alleged that his brother’s killers were “people from the security services, the FSB” – the Federal Security Service (EDM, December 16).

    At the time of his murder in October, Maksharip Aushev had renewed his criticism of extra-judicial killings and other abuses by siloviki in Ingushetia despite the fact that he maintained close relations with President Yevkurov. Following his death, Kavkazsky Uzel reported that Aushev had told the website about an attempt to abduct him in the city of Magas on September 15, saying that it had been carried out by unidentified armed people traveling in armored personnel carriers and that it was “a miracle” he had been able to escape. The former chief editor of the Ingushetiya.ru opposition website, Roza Malsagova, said that Aushev knew his life was in danger in Ingushetia and had been hiding in Turkey on the advice of his friends. He had traveled home for the marriage of his son and planned to leave Ingushetia for Europe when he was murdered (EDM, October 26).

    On December 9, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton posthumously named Maksharip Aushev as one of the two 2009 recipients of the Human Rights Defenders Award (EDM, December 16).

    Meanwhile, Kavkazsky Uzel reported that Ingush opposition leader Magomed Khazbiev is currently abroad, but plans to return to Russia despite appeals from many human rights activists that he remain abroad. According to the website, Moscow Helsinki Group Chairwoman Lyudmila Alekseyeva has strongly urged Khazbiev either to leave Russia altogether or to remain abroad for a longer period in light of the murder of Maksharip Aushev and the 2008 murder of another Ingush opposition figure, Magomed Yevloev.

    However, Khazbiev said he plans to return to Ingushetia. “Ingushetia is my homeland; I do not plan to leave it or run away anywhere,” Kavkazsky Uzel quoted him as saying, adding “I will do everything possible so that there are no enemies of my people digging their fangs into the body of the people like parasites. And I will achieve that. You see, two days ago in Washington they conferred an award on Maksharip, and today they killed his family: the enemies awarded themselves. There you have it –a dirty game” (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, December 16).

    Meanwhile, unidentified gunmen fired at a car carrying four officers of the Ingush branch of the FSB in Nazran yesterday (December 17). According to official reports, two of the FSB officers were killed and one wounded in the ambush. According to unofficial reports, however, all four FSB officers were killed (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, December 17).

    • Just before Aushev’s widow was killed:

      Authorities Show Little Enthusiasm for Probing Murders of Ingush Rights Activist

      Publication: Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 6 Issue: 231
      December 16, 2009 03:35 PM Age: 5 days
      Category: Eurasia Daily Monitor, Home Page, Domestic/Social, Military/Security, North Caucasus Analysis, North Caucasus
      By: Valery Dzutsev

      On December 12, the brother of the murdered Ingush opposition figure Maksharip Aushev, Mussa, stated that the investigation of the murder had made no evident progress since he was killed on October 25. That is despite the fact that Ingushetia’s President Yunus-Bek Yevkurov and Russian Prosecutor-General Yuri Chaika took the case under their personal control. Mussa Aushev stated that the cars in which Maksharip Aushev’s killers were traveling had no plates and prior to the killing had been caught by police cameras parked next to police roadblocks. “It is easy to explain why none of the policemen undertook anything, when there were cars with no plates on them [illegal in Russia],” said Musa. “They were people from the security services, the FSB” (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, December 12).

      On December 11, the policeman-killer of another major Ingush opposition leader, Magomed Yevloev, was sentenced to two years prison for the “accidental killing” of Yevloev on August 31, 2008. Yevloev’s father, Yahya, is convinced that the former Ingush Interior Minister Musa Medov was involved in the killing. Yahya Yevloev is planning to take the case to the court in Strasbourg (Kommersant, December 12). The light sentence for the killer was condemned by the United States Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe. “In today’s Russia it seems that you can commit all manner of violence and outrage against the weaker segments of society and be reasonably assured of a slap on the wrist at worst,” said the commission’s co-chairman, (Rep) Alcee Hastings (www.csce.gov, December 15).

      Meanwhile, in a rare act of simultaneous recognition of Maksharip Aushev’s works in the human rights field, both Russia’s ombudsman, Vladimir Lukin and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton posthumously awarded Maksharip Aushev honors for defending human rights. The Russian ombudsman also recognized the works of another famous rights defender, Natalya Estemirova of Chechnya, who was killed earlier this year (www.state.gov, http://www.ombudsman.gov.ru, December 9). Neither Aushev’s nor Estemirova’s murder has been solved.

      Additional evidence of the appalling conditions of Ingush inmates in Russian prisons has emerged. One source alleged that an Ingush prisoner in Russia’s Volgograd region, Askhabali Natsulkhanov, 31, has tuberculosis and an ulcer, but has not received any medical treatment. A photograph of Natsulkhanov apparently taken clandestinely in detention shows some of his intestines literally sticking out of his abdomen. The photograph was accompanied by his plea for help (www.ingushetiyaru.org, December 14). On December 13, the Islamic Committee of Russia reported that the son of the well-known Ingush writer Issa Kodzoev, Zyalmakh, was penalized along with several other Muslims for performing a prayer in prison. The Islamic Committee reported that the Muslims were treated with cruelty verging on torture (www.islamkom.org, December 13).

      Ingush prosecutors have demanded that several Ingush websites, like the Ingush insurgents’ website Hunafa.com, registered in Sweden, but also the independent news website Ingushetiyaru.org, registered in Russia, be shut down for extremism. The prosecutors also demanded that a LiveJournal account, ingushetiyaru, be shut down for the same reason. LiveJournal is the most popular blogging platform among Russian-speakers and is managed by a company affiliated with Russian businessmen (www.ingushetiyaru.org, December 15). Ingushetiyaru.org has extensively reported on human rights violations, sometimes being the only source of information about the most egregious ones.

      The security situation in Ingushetia remains very precarious and shows signs of transforming into an even more dangerous phase.

      On December 13, two explosive devices were found on a major gas pipeline in Ingushetia. The security services had to order the flow of gas to be shut off to avoid greater damage to the pipeline and the surrounding area. As a result, Ingushetia and North Ossetia were cut off from gas supplies for a day and consumers of Russian gas in Georgia and Armenia were also affected by the disruption. The attempt to blow up the pipeline was preceded by a similar one on December 9, which caused relatively little disruption. The incident revived the memory of a gas pipeline explosion in Ingushetia on September 1, which was announced to have been caused by a technical failure (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, December 13).

      Several consecutive back to back incidents on the pipelines in Ingushetia may point to a new pattern of the insurgency’s attacks in Ingushetia and its surroundings. The great stir that recent infrastructure failures and the derailment of the Nevsky Express train on November 27 caused in Russian society may have convinced the insurgency leaders to begin targeting infrastructure. The expansion of their attacks may have an international dimension, as the countries of the South Caucasus may be affected. Equally, it is plausible that the FSB may use attacks of this type as an additional tool to cause problems for neighboring Georgia, without being held responsible for it. In either case, it is a dangerous turn that calls for more international attention to the region.

      Meanwhile, attacks targeting law enforcement personnel in Ingushetia are continuing. The latest attack took place on December 13, when unknown assailants fired at two policemen in a car, wounding them (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, December 13).

      The instability of the situation in Ingushetia is matched by its fluid government, which is still being formed by President Yevkurov. The most notable among Yevkurov’s expected new appointees is the republic’s former Interior Minister, Ruslan Meiriev, who is predicted to become head of the president’s administration. Meiriev was dismissed as Ingushetia’s Interior Minister by President Dmitry Medvedev following the devastating terrorist attack on the police headquarters in Nazran in August (Kommersant, December 10).

  6. http://www.cecenonline.com/tr/devam.asp?yid=798

    You should congratulate the chechen mujahideen for killing 13 Kadyrovtsy-bandits!!! Memorial is unimportant,these guys are even useless in russia,nobody needs them,because they lack power completely. In order to fight the Kremlin you need to use weapons like the heroes in the Caucasian Emirate!!!

  7. Robert,you secret pro-russian scum,you will be unable to expell me from this website with your dirty lies,you bastard can be sure,that your place in hell is already guaranteed

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