Oct 9, 2006

Anna Politkovskaya is dead

Anna Politkovskaya was assassinated on Saturday. While a lone gunman was seen on the apartment surveillance cameras, his capture, or conviction, is as unlikely as it is important. Indeed, the assign's identity is far less important than the identities of those who paid for her death -- one of the last voices in Russia.

Anna Politkovskaya was the bravest women I'd ever met. Fearless and clear-eyed to the realities which beset Russia at the end of it's democratic period. In fact, she seemed to gain little interest or satisfaction from admiring Westerners, who called her "brave" and heaped praise upon her. What did the opinions of Westerners matter? She was a Russian journalist, who wrote for Russians, and believed in the lasting power of the written word.

Now she is dead. The technocrats and administrators who refused to answer her questions have outlasted her life, as has the Chechen conflict which cut short so many others.

Yet, the power of words is often greater than the life and spirit of the author. I hope that Anna Politkovskaya's intrepid spirit will have a lasting impact on the country and the conflict which consumed her. But there are few developments in Russia which lead to hope. Such is the state of things.

Goodbye Anna Politkovskaya. Our loss is great.


Pirates&Diplomats said...

Looking past the sad loss of Politkovskaya, we have to ask ourselves the вечный русский вопрос - - КТО ВИНОВАТ? I am very eager to hear who you all think is to blame.

I can hardly imagine that this is some great consipracy that was crafted in one of the many towers of the Kremlin. I wouldn't, however, put it past the local powers at this moment. As the power struggle in Chechnya between Alkhanov and Kadyrov continues to heat up, neither side can afford the lose face in Moscow. While I want to read up on the issue further before making any definate predictions, one has to wonder if Kadyrov's recent promise to find the killers is as believable as OJ's solemn vow. Let's see if Ramzan takes up golf - that seemed to be where most of Simpson's hunts for the truth took place.

Any other suggestions? Perhaps this is the work of the Tbilisi-Washington axis of evil?


Pirates&Diplomats said...

I agree J.

Politkovskaya had so many enemies, and the list of potential suspects is so long, that everyone, and no one could be proved guilty, even in a Russian court.

Although, I wouldn't be one to immediately discount the "plots-within-plots" nature of Kremlin politics. But the investigation will likely linger for years.

The Politkovskaya case reminds me of the beheading of Ukrainian journalists Georgiy Gongadze. That case lay open, as authorities lethargically "investigated" a long list of red-herrings and false leads. In fact, it wasn't until the "Tapegate" implicated Kuchma that all the facts came to light.

The Kremlin has little interest dredging thru this muck. Public opinion, as it is in Russia, will likely force them to go through the motions of an investigation, but I have very little hope that we will ever find any answers.

Pirates&Diplomats said...

By the way, no coughs or reservations about the statement that Russia is, indeed, "at the end of it's democratic period?"