Tuesday, October 07, 2008

"She Is Still With Us"

Sorry for silence. Miss Funnybunny accidentally broke my laptop, and I have been far too busy to write this at work. (The insurance will cover a new one - I have just beeen to busy to buy the new one!)

But no time for silence. Today is marked as the second anniversary of the murder of Anna Politkovskaya. Therefore I must publish the following reminder written by my dear friend Oksana Chelysheva.

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On the second anniversary of Anna Politkovskaya's murder I feel like speaking up on those who are still alive. This year I felt more inclined to commemorate her on her birthday and to raise other people's fates on her death day.
Anna Politkovskaya is one of them as here assassins fail to erase her voice, her views and her deeds as well as her charm from her friends' memory.

For me personally Anna is one of those few who will never cease to exist. She is still alive as she is with us in her articles, in her small granddaughter who was named after her. Even the hatred of those who are hiding their shadows behind statements on Anna's "insignificance" and "damaging Putin's Russia's positive image" can't destroy the voice of Anna.
At the same time, I can't accept this kind of post-mortal symbolism of the person who often felt too lonely and even marginalized being called "too passionate", "too radical", "too much involved" and not very "diplomatic" unlike a huge crowd of those who prefer to balance the circumstances rather than call on their changing.
She was often listened to without being heard. And it is also the responsibility of those who could have done a lot more to stop Russia's sliding first to autocracy and now to despotism by just calling the developments in Putin's Russia by their real names…

Anna wanted to live, to enjoy life as fully as such a bright person could, to continue her often desperate attempts to help out those who didn't have public recognition of the level she had.

Their number is increasing rapidly. More and more people are being killed without any hope that their deaths would be ever investigated and the guilty would be ever brought to account. People are being taken into custody under falsified charges. They are more and more often subjected to enforced psychiatric treatment. They are being labeled as supporters of terrorism and traitors of Russian like it happened to terrorism survivors from the Voice of Beslan and Nord-Ost public associations.

Magomed Evloev, the owner of an independent Ingush website, was killed while in police custody on 31 August 2008. The murder is crying for impartial investigation, to ensure that the circumstances under which he died are brought to light and that those who are responsible for his death are charged and tried in accordance with the law. Nevertheless, the outrageous extrajudicial execution perpetrated at day light is declared to be "a death caused by accident". On October 6, life of another Ingush opposition leader was attempted. The car in which Akhmed Kotiev was driving was fired at. Fortunately, the bullets have missed this time.

On 25 July 2008, human rights defender Zurab Tsechoev, working for the human rights organization MASHR (peace) in Ingushetia, was taken away from his home in Troitskaia, Ingushetia by armed men, thought to be federal law enforcement officials. A couple of hours later he was found on a roadside near Magas, the capital of Ingushetia, with serious injuries. He had to be hospitalized. Is there any hope that the perpetrators of this act against Zurab Tsechoev would be ever identified and brought to justice? Much depends on what kind of response the authorities of Russia will get from the international community and whether this response would be limited to some mild rhetoric and expressions of concerns.

Late on 1 August 2008, an arson attack was allegedly made on the flat of human rights defender Dmitrii Kraiukhin from the town of Orel in the Central Russian Federal District. The arsonists had also allegedly tried to block the entrance door. Luckily, Dmitrii Kraiukhin was reportedly not in the flat, but his relatives who were, were able to alert the fire brigade in time. So far, to Amnesty International's knowledge, no criminal investigation into this case has been undertaken, as the authorities allegedly considered the damage too insignificant to warrant a criminal investigation. However, this is not an isolated incident as far as threats to Dmitrii Kraiukhin are concerned.

On 14 August 2008, unknown assailants threw a brick through the window of the flat in Nizhnii Novgorod where human rights activist Stanislav Dmitrievskii lives. Luckily, nobody was hurt. At the same time, the entrance of his apartment building was covered with abusive language and threats against Stanislav Dmitrievskii. Actually, it was all painted with swastikas. A criminal investigation into this attack has been opened. However, I don't believe that it would bring any results. There have been several cases initiated into death threats that both Stanislav and I have received in the last three years. All to no avail. I have heard various investigators telling me, "You do understand… the circumstances. We would not be able to identify those who are behind the threats".

They won't be able because they don't want to. Because they are afraid to get their own voice. Because they are not masters of themselves, in their words. Because they are ready to implement whatever kind of order as they are just loyal serfs of their master.

And it is in your hands to influence them. They should be under moral pressure from all people of good will. They should know that they will never be accepted and welcome outside Russia for their readiness and willingness to be on orders.

They should know that even their property bought in Finland, Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria, Montenegro or Czech Republic and Slovakia would not make them your neighbors. They should know that not everything could be purchased, no matter how wealthy they are. They should be aware that you have honour and dignity and that you are ready to stand up for them. They should be denounced and put to shame.

Oksana Chelysheva

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