On October 12 John Hall, Washington bureau chief of Media General News Service, published an article on the murder of Anna Politkovskaya called Russia’s anti-Putin Voice Silenced, which was syndicated in a number of mainstream media. In it, he discussed Politkovskaya’s book Putin’s Russia. A few excerpts from Hall’s comments:
Her book should have been more widely heralded in the United States, but the diplomatic and journalistic book review establishment here sniffed at it. Foreign Affairs magazine called it “stridently indignant.” Other reviewers said she was too provocative in claiming Russia was on its way back to Stalinism. One even suggested she was a “Cassandra.” Perhaps we all needed to be a little more indignant and provocative about Putin’s Russia after his election to a second term. The pity is that Politkovskaya didn’t get as much attention when she was alive as she’s getting now that her voice has been silenced.
Her book - written in Russian and translated into English - was for sale in St. Petersburg, the hometown of Putin. But it was not available in a Russian language edition.
Politkovskaya compared Putin to Stalin and Lenin in his ruthlessness, but she was an equal opportunity critic. She didn’t have much good to say about western leaders, either.
Russia’s slide back to the Soviet system, she said, “happened to choruses of encouragement from the West, primarily from (Italy’s) Silvio Berlusconi, who appears to have fallen in love with Putin. He is Putin’s main European champion, but Putin also enjoys the support of (Britain’s) Blair, (Germany’s) Schroeder and (France’s) Chirac, and receives no discouragement from the transatlantic junior Bush.”
For President Bush, indeed, having a steady partner in the war on terrorism has been the steering current of his relationship with Putin. Corruption and even intimidation of its neighbors, such as is occurring right now in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, is being overlooked.
It’s also noticeable, one might add, how quiet large sections of the U.S. blogosphere have been with regard to the murder. Sites which are normally among the first to respond to terrorist outrages around the world have had nothing to say on this subject at all. Michelle Malkin was one of the few to write a post on the assassination - many other high-profile bloggers have remained unreassuringly silent.
(Hat tip: MAK)