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    Tuesday, August 28, 2007

    Who killed Anna Politkovskaya?

    Just a quick post to highlight Novaya Gazeta's editorial today (it's here in imperfect English, which is nonetheless a first for NG) on the arrest of 10 suspects in connection with Anna Politkovskaya's murder last fall. It's a very carefully worded piece, one that takes pains to praise the police work, but one that also makes it clear that this story isn't over yet.

    The newspaper has been conducting its own investigation of who killed their prominent reporter, and editor Dmitry Muratov confirmed that the 10 people arrested - a group that includes three members of a Chechen crime family as well as one FSB officer, one police major and three former police officers - were the same people that Novaya Gazeta's investigation was pointing towards. So the paper gives cautious kudos to Prosecutor-General Yury Chaika.

    But the paper also says that it believes the 10 men arrested yesterday were contract killers. Charging them is half the prosecution's task here, the other half is to find out who hired them and to bring them to justice.

    While noting that many people had reason to hold a grudge against Politkovskaya, whose tenacious and aggressive reporting work is said to have angered President Vladimir Putin and Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov among many others, the paper nonetheless suggests it knows who the contract killers' "clients" were.

    Promising to reveal what it knows later, the paper hints quite strongly that charging the real perpetrators will require an act of bravery from Chaika and his investigators and could have an impact on the coming Duma and presidential elections:

    It’s too early to talk about those who ordered this murder; the coming elections... may cause political special operations around the circumstances of Politkovskaya's murder. Besides, we don’t yet have any guarantees that the real clients’ names will be mentioned in the indictment. And that wouldn’t be investigation’s fault.

    We have repeated many times that we don’t have claims against those who investigate the murder of Novaya Gazeta’s journalist. We are collaborating [with them], and the mutual opinion is that this collaboration is effective. We just want to be sure that “expediencies” that don’t relate to this matter directly, wouldn’t influence the outcome of our joint work. The outcome we need is clear. The killers, accomplices and real clients of this murder must be established and convicted.

    Sounds like they're hoping another shoe will drop soon. I've read that Novaya Gazeta will go ahead and publish what it knows on Oct. 7, the anniversary of Politkovskaya's murder.

    Robert Amsterdam, who as a member of Mikhail Khodorkovsky's defense team knows something about politically charged investigations in Russia, adds his own pessimistic analysis of the arrests here.


    Unknown said...

    Robert Amsterdam's predictably pessimistic response to the Politkovskaya announcement threatens to undermine any credibility he might have once had.

    For a small group of anti-Kremlin zealots, it is more important to portray everything associated with the Kremlin as negative versus examining the facts thoughtfully.

    I'm beginning the think Mr. Amsterdam would rather leave the Politkovskaya murder unsolved if by solving it the Kremlin is exonerated.

    La Russophobe said...

    For a small group of pro-Kremlin zealots whose personal financial well-being depends on the benevolence of the Kremlin, it is more important to portray everything associated with the Kremlin as positive versus examining the facts thoughtfully.

    And, of course, to libel and smear personally anyone who dares to disagree (those, of course, unlike poor Anna, who don't actually get killed).

    Meanwhile, the highest court in Switzerland, the most famous neutral country in the world, has just ruled that Mr. Amsterdam's client Mikhail Khodorkovsky was railroaded by the Kremlin. The British government has concluded that the Kremlin ordered the murder of dissident Alexander Litvinenko. So there's no reason whatsoever not to be suspicious of any claims that attempt to exonerate the Kremlin in connection with Anna's killing. Anyone who would fail to do so is quite simply a pathetic fraud.

    Anonymous said...

    Meanwhile Brazil and Netherlands joined Russian efforts to bring to trial Boris Berezovsky. Only London rejects to expell him. All the recent cases (Litvinenko, Politkovskaya etc) are leading to this exciled oligarch. As soon as he'll be jailed, all the problems will over. But obviously there are a lot of people who are interested in his current position as a fierce critic of Putin found political asylum abroad.

    Timothy: Good point. That is great that there are still some guys in the West who have their own mind.

    As for Mr. Amsterdam ... If he were working for Mr. Putin instead of Mr. Khodorkovsky, He would have critisized anti-Kremlin guys. You know how prostitutes are working? There is no love for them, there is only money.

    Anonymous said...

    In the Eng. lang., Jon Hellevig and Kirill Pankratov seem to have the only detailed criticisms of Anna Politkovskaya's dubious journalism.

    Such is the state of censorship in Eng. lang. mass media.

    To date, it's off the wall to believe that there's a strong claim of the Russian government contracted her reprehensible murder.

    Anonymous said...


    Your truth is in your article.
    Russian truth is here:

    Now in this post there only two of you (anti-kremlinists)and three of us (Russians). You should think about my wording: you are anti-kremlinists and we are Russians. Stop teaching as how to leave. Stop throwing mud at OUR country.

    Why don't you write about Canadians in Afghanistant? Why don't you write about corupt Canadian government? Why don't you write about police infiltrators during the SPP summit? Why don't you write about SPP itself and about the neglecting the public opinion by the Canadian Government?

    There are so many things to deal with in Canada. Why are you trying to teach Russians?

    You spent some time in Russia. But you still don't understand this country.

    Anonymous said...

    Question: Who killed Anna Politkovskaya?

    Answer: Boris Berezovsky.

    Anonymous said...

    True Russian

    When compared to other Eng. lang. mass media journalists, Mark is fair. This is why Eng. lang. mass media is in need of improvement.

    The last point isn't meant as a knock on Mark. We all have our biases. Some have really off the wall ones. In any event, the intelligently presented Eng. lang. view of Russia from a mainstream Russian perspective is lacking. This is the result of bias on the Eng. lang. mass media side and some not so great decisions on the part of Russian government funded Eng. lang. media/PR ventures.

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