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Anna Politkovskaya and us. A control shot
Written by Сергей Баймухаметов (Москва)   
Среда, 01 Ноябрь 2006
Article Index
Anna Politkovskaya and us. A control shot
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Anna Politkovskaya’s murder was a demonstrative act, which should, according to the plan of those who ordered it, become a ‘control shot’ (a killing shot to the head after an opponent has already been immobilized — ed). A control shot against press freedom and democracy in general. Whoever was behind the assassination, his meaning is clear. He is saying unequivocally to society as a whole: “Shut up! This is not Brezhnev-era Soviet rule, when you were summoned to the KGB, testified against, stigmatized, and imprisoned in a camp or tossed into a psychiatric hospital. Here the conversation is short — a bullet to the head. Is this clear?”

It has long been clear. It has long been understood. Only, no matter what, there were, there still are, and there will always be new Politkovskayas — people who will pay with their lives for the word of truth, this word to us.

Defenders of the State Order

No one remained indifferent to Anna Politkovskaya’s death. Everyone asked: who, for what, for whose benefit? The dean of the journalism college at Moscow State University, Yasen Zasursky, said at her funeral: “They gunned down the conscience of Russian journalism.” Of course, there are people who think differently, but even I could not imagine to what depths some of Anna’s colleagues could sink in their commentaries in their defense of the State Order. I cannot put this any other way, since otherwise it would not come out right.

In the previous chapter I already presented a statement from Gleb Pavlovsky, who argued that the killing of the journalist first and foremost benefited the opposition, and that the opposition is happy, since it is always “looking for this start-up scenario,” and only waiting, “begging for the Event to arrive.”

The thoughts and feelings of an old comrade were fully shared and supported by Maxim Sokolov, columnist for ‘Izvestiya’: “That is the logic, that Politkovskaya was killed by a cannibalistic government, so proclaim the self-professed liberators on Sunday. Obviously, in principle, they reject the question of just how could this incriminating act benefit the Kremlin. It does not matter, as they also reject the fact that for two years A. S. Politkovskaya has been on the periphery of public attention. Up until October 7th of last year the number of mentions of her articles was close to zero. Why it was even necessary to kill a journalist who was not dangerous, and in so doing gain a whole set of troubles, is known only to the liberators.”

Sokolov’s point is clear, but the claim that Politkovskaya “has been on the periphery of public attention” is very subjective, and inaccurate. It is a bit awkward to remind ‘Izvestiya’ that to an informed person that the name of Anna Politkovskaya was always to be heard, otherwise there would not have been such a response from the public to the tragedy. To deny this is wishful thinking, and this is what Maxim Sokolov accuses those people whom he calls liberators of doing. I thank you for not putting that word in quotation marks. Some, when speaking about human rights advocates, already put that word in quotes, just like in the Soviet days. Sokolov, while criticizing the proponents of universal human values, sarcastically calls them ‘universal humans’. I simply must bring to your attention the title of one of Sokolov’s articles: “The educated choice for the moment.” An article with the same name was printed in ‘Izvestiya’ on the day of Anna Politkovskaya’s funeral. By the way, the name of Gleb Pavlovsky’s article that day was: “A victim of ritual.”
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