Monday, October 09, 2006

Anna Politkovskaya's Last Interview

RFE/RL has a transcript of Anna Politkovskaya’s last interview, given to RFE/RL just two days before her murder in Moscow by an unknown gunman. In it, she talks about Chechnya’s Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrov, whose 30th birthday fell on the same date as the interview, October 5. Her remarks give the lie to the official Moscow line that life in Chechnya is returning to normal, that torture, abductions and kidnappings by Russian and pro-Moscow Chechen forces are a thing of the past. An excerpt:

I want to say here that there were more abductions in the first half of this year than in the first half of last year… And those are figures just of those people whose relatives reported abductions and whose bodies were never found. I’d like to call attention to the fact that we talk about “individual cases” only because these people aren’t our loved ones — it’s not my son, my brother, my husband. The photographs that I’m telling you about, these were bodies that had been horribly tortured. You can’t reduce this to a small percentage — it’s an enormous percentage.

Kadyrov is a Stalin of our times. This is true for the Chechen people. Many of our colleagues have gone out of their way to make us believe that this is a small percentage, that absolute evil can triumph today so that in some hypothetical future this evil can become good. This is absolutely not true.

As for the admiration felt for Kadyrov, you know, the situation is as it was under Stalin. If you [hear someone] speaking officially, publicly, openly, there is admiration. As soon as you [hear someone] speak secretly, softly, confidentially, you’re told: ‘We hate him intensely.’ This split is absolute in people’s souls. This is a very dangerous thing.

Read all of it.

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