Yesterday, in broad daylight, in the center of Moscow, a human rights lawyer and a journalist were gunned down. Lawyer Stanislav Markelov was most famous for representing the family of Elza Kungaeva, a young Chechen woman killed by a Russian officer, in a case that polarized the Russian Federation. Anastasia Baburova was a young journalist for Novaya Gazeta - a publication that is still mourning the death of another journalist, Anna Politkovskaya.
This week, some across Russia are celebrating this tragedy. Comments on Baburova’s Live Journal site have been shut off, but before they were, news of neo-Nazis gloating over her death had spread far and wide. Others are merely wagging their finger at “poor Nastya” for having “kept bad company” - meaning, of course, that she should have known better than to hang out with the hated Markelov.
It looks as though “the enemy of the people” may be a phrase that we will have to start using in earnest again...
...The beauty of downtown Moscow, where Stanislav and Anastasia were shot, is being paid for in blood. There isn’t anything shockingly new here - three hundred years ago, St. Petersburg was practically built upon a foundation of dead serfs. Yet I like to think that we live in times that are a little bit more enlightened that those of Peter the Great’s.
Growing prosperity means nothing when journalists and lawyers are murdered like this.
The most bitter irony of it all is the people who celebrate the deaths of Anastasia and Stanislav have no clue than when it’s their turn - and their turn will surely come, if we don’t watch out as the “brown-shirting” of Russia continues - there will be no lawyers or journalists left to sound the alarm.
The only solace we can take from what happened yesterday is that the voices of Russian outrage are stronger. Far too many have died. The most oft-repeated sentiment I have read and heard today is more akin to a demand - a demand that the terrorizing of the Russian media and the greater public be stopped.
Friday, January 23, 2009
Meanwhile, however, in Russia
via Global Comment: