Tag Archives: stanislav markelov

Nemtsov Blasts Putin on Chechyna

Remember how dangerous it is for any Russian to criticize the Putin regime over Chechnya, as best illustrated by the murders of Anna Politkovskaya, Natalia Estemirova and Stanislav Markelov, a recent interview by Boris Nemtsov is truly breathtaking in its courage.  Paul Goble reports:

The North Caucasus at the present time is “our Palestine,” Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov says, the result of the deal between Vladimir Putin and Ramzan Kadyrov in which the former has purchased the loyalty of the latter for cash and at the price of allowing the Chechen leader and his minions to do what they like throughout Russia.

If Russia is to escape from this dilemma, Nemtsov said in the course of an online press conference, several steps are necessary because as the Manezh violence shows the problems of that region are no longer confined to it but rather spreading throughout Russian society.

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The Final Push against Novaya Gazeta

Other Russia reports:

Editors at Novaya Gazeta, one of Russia’s most well-renowned opposition newspapers, fear that the publication may be shut down in the coming year.

Following months of legal battles, a Russian court declared in September that a decision by Roskomnadzor (Russia’s federal media supervision agency) to issue an official warning against the newspaper for “propagandizing nationalistic views” was valid. Since a publication can be shut down after two such warnings, Novaya Gazeta editors say that the court’s decision spells the beginning of the possible end of the newspaper.

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Izvestia Smears Markelov

The only thing surprising here is that it took the Kremlin this long to “think” it up. The Moscow Times reports (hero journalist Grigori Pasko als0 has commentary, including a link to the Russian source material over at Robert Amsterdam’s blog):

A Moscow journalist has filed a complaint over an article in the daily newspaper Izvestia suggesting that lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova were lovers and that their slaying in central Moscow last month was a crime of passion.

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On the Trail of the Markelov Assassins

Der Spiegel reports:

Nowhere in Europe is life more dangerous for journalists than in Russia, and no Russian newspaper has had as many of its journalists killed as Novaya Gazeta. After the murder of lawyer Stanislav Markelov and reporter Anastasia Baburova, the newspaper’s publisher wants to provide its reporters with guns.

A simple glass case stands next to the door leading to the editorial offices of the Moscow-based newspaper Novaya Gazeta. Inside are displayed the newspaper’s trophies, including the mobile telephone that former first lady Raisa Gorbachyova gave the paper a decade and a half ago, as well as various awards and certificates.

But the display cabinet also contains shrapnel that was removed from the bodies of war correspondents during surgery, and the computer that investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya used to write her articles. The upper shelf is reserved for the portraits of the victims of contract killings: Politkovskaya, Yuri Shchekochikhin and Igor Domnikov.

Now space will have to be made for two more portraits. They are still hanging on the wall, together with a black ribbon of mourning: a photo of prominent attorney Stanislav Markelov, 34, who represented the newspaper in various trials, and a portrait of Anastasia Baburova, 25, who wrote about Russian fascists for the paper. Neo-Nazis have been celebrating her violent death on the Internet since she was killed last week — and plotting to hunt down other journalists.

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Kommersant on Markelov

Dmitri Sidorov, Washington Bureau Chief for the Russian newspaper Kommersant, writing in Forbes magazine:

Stanislav Markelov was buried in Moscow Friday, Jan. 23. A well-known lawyer and human rights advocate, he was murdered Jan. 19, not far from the Kremlin. His killer also mortally wounded Anastasia Baburina, a journalist for the newspaper Novaya Gazeta. The 25-year-old Baburina, who had been walking alongside Markelov, died in the hospital several hours after the shooting.

Novaya Gazeta, where Baburina worked, has lost many of its leading lights in recent years. Among them was Anna Politkovskaya, who had written about human rights violations in Chechnya; she was shot. Another probable victim was Yuri Shchekochikhin, who was poisoned. He had written about a corruption scandal involving high-ranking officials in the security services.

The double murder of Markelov and Baburina comes as yet another dreadful confirmation that to be a human rights advocate, or an investigative journalist without Kremlin sanction, is equivalent to a death sentence in today’s Russia.

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Three Pictures are Worth a Billion Screams




An Epitaph for Markelov

There are Few Like him Left

Olga Malysh


Translated from the Russian by The Other Russia

“Take care of yourself, ok?” Masha, a young nazbol hugged me, looking in my eyes.  That day some of the people who gathered at Prechistenka, the place where Stanislav Markelov and Anastasia Baburova died, said similar words to each other.  This pointless phrase had a new meaning in the context of the three deaths that happened on “black” Monday, the previous day.  It finally became clear that anyone with any visibility in the civil society [community] could be killed: an attorney, a journalist, an activist.  And one can only guess at who will be next.

It becomes especially frightening if one looks at the ranks of that same “civil society” – a few thousand people in all, who often know each other.

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EDITORIAL: Russia — Bandit Nation


Russia — Bandit Nation

“I came today as I am deeply sorry and disgusted for Russia: how can you just shoot people down in broad daylight in the centre of Moscow?”

Alexandra Fomina, a prominent Russian artist, visiting the scene of the Markelov assassination the day after the killing

“We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.”

— U.S. President Barack H. Obama, Inaugural Address

Once again, as they have been doing for centuries, like a pack of wild dogs the people of Russia have mauled and destroyed one of their greatest patriots.  From Dostoevsky through Solzhenitsyn to Politkovskaya and now most recently Stanislav Markelov, Russians seem to relish spilling the blood of those who love the nation and elevating to highest authority those who would obliterate it. What nation can expect to survive such a course of conduct?

There are of course no words we can call upon which can adequately condemn the cowardice and malignant evil displayed on Monday afternoon by the vile reptiles who scurry through the Moscow Kremlin when their henchman sneaked up behind Markelov, one of Russia’s greatest living patriots, and put a bullet in the back of his head.  The venal reptiles did not even have the courage to face him, or to use a normal pistol.   Instead, they relied upon a silencer in hopes of slinking off into the shadows unnoticed, and they did not hesitate to kill a valiant young woman — Anastasia Barburova — a university student, another great Russian patriot, who dared to challenge their action.

These Stalinesque murders defy written condemnation not only because they are so inhuman, but also because they are only the latest in such a horrifyingly long litany of barbaric killings.  It is more than ten years now since November 1998 when, less than four months after Vladimir Putin took the reins of power at the KGB (by then renamed FSB), Russia’s most ferocious defender of human rights, perhaps who ever lived, namely Galina Starovoitova, was shot down at her apartment building in St. Petersburg.  Fast forward to October 2006, and Anna Politkovskaya, the direct successor to Statovoitova, meets exactly the same fate, with dozens of other lesser-known fatalities in between.  And now Markelov, the lawyer counterpart to Politkovskaya, who in fact served as her legal counsel, and Barburova, one of Politkovskaya’s disciples.  It seems the people of Russia, through their official representatives, mean to rend up the tree of liberty root and branch and fling in onto their pagan bonfire.

We condemn their suicidal ignorance, cowardice and malice.  Russia appears to be a nation of bandits governed by bandits with no intention or even desire for anything remotely like civilization.  We are appalled.  The people of Russia stand teetering on the precipice of a chasm of absolute barbarism from which, upon falling in, there is no escape.  It hard at this moment to decide whether the world would be better off reaching out desperately to get them away from the brink or better off pushing them in.

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WaPo on Markelov

an-investigator-works-nea-004Everything that is said in this editorial from the Washington Post has already been said (many times) on this blog. And that’s why we republish it. Because what got us accused of “extremism” three years ago is now conventional wisdom.  In fact, we now must wonder whether we’ve become too moderate in our assessment of Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

ANOTHER RUSSIAN fighting for human rights and the rule of law has been murdered in Vladimir Putin’s Moscow. Stanislav Markelov, a lawyer who defended Chechens brutalized by Russian troops and journalists who wrote about the abuses, was shot in the head yesterday by a masked man carrying a silencer-equipped pistol. An opposition journalist who tried to intervene, Anastasia Baburova, was also fatally shot in the head. This occurred in broad daylight, on a busy street in central Moscow less than half a mile from the Kremlin. It was another demonstration that assassinations are a dominating feature of political life under Mr. Putin’s regime.

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Hero, Patriot Lawyer Stanislav Markelov

Hero, Patriot and Martyr: Lawyer Stanislav Markelov

No sooner had we published an editorial (below) decrying the injustice of releasing the brutal murderer Col. Yuri Budanov from prison than the lawyer for Budanov’s victim, 18-year-old Heda Kungayeva, was shot and killed in Moscow after leaving a news conference where he, too, expressed outrage at the release and announced his intention to challenge the release in court. The lawyer, Stanislav Markelov, was a renowned defender of human rights in Russia, director of the Rule of Law Institute and the attorney equivalent of Anna Politkovskaya (indeed, she was one of his clients), and now he has met the same fate as she did, the same fate Russia reserves for all her true patriots.

Anastasia Barurova

Anastasia Baburova

Anastasia Baburova, a Kremlin-critical journalist with the Novaya Gazeta newspaper which previously published Politkovskaya and at whose knee Barburova had studied, was at Markelov’s side and was also shot, but survived — only to perish hours later in the emergency room. She was NG’s correspondent on the Budanov story and had written extensively about it.   Markelov was shot from behind at 2 pm Moscow time by a silencer-equipped pistol at close range. It is being reported that Baburova was shot when she tried to pursue and seize the assassin after the first shots were fired.

Nobody even casually familiar with this blog can be surprised by this news; it is only the latest in a long string of political murders have have shadowed Vladimir Putin from his first months in the Kremlin. 

To the leaders of the Western democracies we can only say:  “How many deaths will it take til you know that too many Russians have died?”

NOTE:  Grusome photographs from the scene of the crime are here courtesy of Kommersant and Novaya Gazeta’s coverage is here (Russian link).