YPC Weekly Newsletter

2006


ANNA POLITKOVSKAYA KILLED

On October 7 in Moscow at her house entrance the observer of “Novaya Gazeta”
newspaper Anna Politkovskaya was killed. She received pot shots, and a control
shot was made at her head. The detached brief information in the newscasts of
the two Russian national companies (First Channel and RTR), rebroadcast in Armenia,
was simply perplexing at first. One could not but recall the murder of Vladislav
Listiev that blew up immediately the broadcast schedule, normally so strictly
followed by the TV companies. On the Saturday night of October 7, 2006 the comedy
shows and concerts on these channels did not subside. During Sunday “Vremena”
program its author and host Vladimir Pozner, completing the discussion of relations
between Russia and Georgia, made a reproachful remark: the death of Anna Politkovskaya
did not send the country in turmoil. The information flows, coming through Internet,
refute this statement. People, not infected with cynicism and indifference,
are in turmoil: in Russia, post-Soviet countries, the West and the East. The
Book of Mourning that “Novaya Gazeta” opened gets more and more e-condolences
– brief, long, in verse, in Russian, English, German, French, Italian, from
all parts of the world. Only those are silent about this murder for whom Journalist
Anna Politkovskaya was the remorse.

Yerevan Press Club offers its greatest condolences to the family, friends,
colleagues, readers of Anna Politkovskaya, the whole journalistic community.

PERSPECTIVE

SHE SAID LIVING LIKE THAT WAS A SHAME

The world has lost another representative of the restless minority. Anna Politkovskaya
was one of the kind that make the life of the many people with unclean conscience
difficult. And this was probably her main mission as a professional and a human
being.

We do not really think, do we, that the pieces by Politkovskaya in ”Novaya
Gazeta” or her interviews to radio companies really influence the policy of
Russia with regard to North Caucasus or corruption? Did any of the world’s stronger
ones commit fewer murders, robberies, made smaller connivance at terrible crimes
for fear of getting stricken by the pen of the journalist? In Russia, of all
places?! It takes just a recollection of the complacent faces and voices of
the main characters of her revelations to dismiss all our doubts whether these
people fear public opinion – be it international or home-grown. It is they who
rule the country, and their comfortable existence can only be interrupted by
those of “their own kind”: bullet, money, the right of the stronger one, but
never – the word. They believe this setup to be eternal or at least to last
a lifetime. Whether they are wrong or right in this does not matter. This is
the mentality of power, political and economic, mixed with criminality.

Exposure of various deformities? Of course this professional mission of Anna
Politkovskaya deserves appreciation. But even without her brilliant stories
Russia and the whole world had sufficient information of the legal outrage,
corruption among senior officials or kidnappings in Chechnya. The mere dissemination
of such information can hardly change anything, unless it touches moral strings.
And one needs the journalistic talent and uncompromising courage of Politkovskaya
to break through the hardest skins and the narrowest minds.

She was in the way of those, primarily, who want to think themselves not indifferent
to evil, but are not up to it, allowing bargains with conscience. It is not
by accident that some Russian “colleagues”, violating the unwritten rule of
“Speak well of the dead or not at all”, have rushed to ponder about the bias,
the professional “screw-ups” made by Politkovskaya, putting their “inner world”
into a condition, necessary to further unwind the anti-Georgian hysteria or
for the laudation of the long-sighted social and economic policy of the government.

One high-ranked international official in his condolences found it necessary
to call the stance of Politkovskaya “tough”. But what other stance can an honest
journalist, writing about politics and corruption in such countries as Russia
or Armenia, have? This reminds of an episode on a major international conference
on security and countering terrorism: Anna “broke” the smooth flow of abstract
discussion, raising a specific problem, related to Chechnya. The audience gave
a long applause to her, but the conference chair did their best to make this
appearance of the journalist to be the first and the last at that forum. The
attack on conscience, the appeal for an adequate response to tragedies and downright
disgrace do very much impede the calm and dignified performance by our western
assistants for developing freedom of expression and democratic institutes.

This is also very visible in Armenia of today that is getting ready to a truly
vital cycles of national election campaigns: as a response to the consistent
activities of the authorities to destroy the institute of elections as such,
the representatives of the international community are “improving” the legislation
and developing “training programs” for election commissions, judges, journalists,
as if nothing is happening…

Because of the betrayal of her “peers” and the unstirred diligence of “progressive
humanity” there are fewer and fewer people in our countries, who, like Anna
Politkovskaya, shout: living like that is a shame.