Friday, October 13, 2006

A Letter

Via Jeremy Putley:

11 October 2006

The Editor
Financial Times
London

Sir

Putin admits journalist’s murder has hurt image of Russia, page 7 today

Whatever the motive for the assassination of the greatly respected Russian journalist, Anna Politkovskaya, her death silences the bravest of the voices reporting on Chechnya in our times.

Your correspondent reporting today from Dresden quotes President Vladimir Putin as saying that Ms Politkovskaya had been well-known outside Russia, but that her influence in Russia itself had been small. That is a telling statement.

Anna Politkovskaya was a true Russian hero. In a decent country her stature would have been recognised. But in the Russian Federation the Hero of Russia medal is notably awarded to generals guilty of war crimes in Chechnya and to people like the brutal thug Ramzan Kadyrov, Mr Putin’s hand-picked prime minister in Chechnya.

Ms Politkovskaya’s memory is honoured abroad but barely acknowledged by her country’s leaders. Her funeral was well attended by representatives of foreign countries, including the British and US ambassadors, but no one of any rank from the Kremlin found it possible to attend.

Remarkably, none of her three books has been published in her own country, and the truth about the atrocities carried out, under the orders of the Russian leadership, by the armed forces in Chechnya, and the political repression there, is not widely known.

Russia truly needed a hero like Anna Politkovskaya.

Jeremy Putley

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