Day: July 18, 2009

Memorial: Kadyrov has made human rights work impossible in Chechnya

Via Caucasian Knot:

“Memorial” links Estemirova’s murder to authorities’ policy in Chechnya

jul 16 2009, 18:00

The statement of the Human Rights Centre (HRC) “Memorial” that has arrived to the “Caucasian Knot” runs that Ramzan Kadyrov has made the work of human rights activists in Chechnya impossible. Russia is under state terror; those who try to tell the truth and criticize the regime are assassinated; and Natalia Estemirova’s murder is also a result of such policy.
Human rights advocates are sure that the murderers of Estemirova, who was, for almost ten years, the leading expert of the “Memorial” for Northern Caucasus, first of all for Chechnya, wanted to stop the flow of truthful information outgoing from this republic. “Natalia was repeatedly threatened by bureaucrats of all levels; however, she could not imagine herself away from her work in her homeland – in Chechnya,” the statement says.

Natalia’s latest reports about new kidnappings, extrajudicial executions and a public killing in one of Chechen villages have caused angriness among Chechnya’s top leaders. “This is what the so-called Ombudsman in Chechnya Nurdi Nukhazhiev said to the head of our Grozny office. He said that would not like anything to happen, therefore, he would criticize human rights defenders,” the statement further runs.

Oleg Orlov, Board Chairman of the HRC “Memorial“, directly points to Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov as to the person in charge of Estemirova’s murder. “Ramzan has already threatened Natalia; he insulted her and treated as his personal enemy. We don’t know, whether he gave the order himself, or it was done by his closest allies to please their boss. While President Medvedev is probably satisfied to have a killer as the head of one of Russia’s subjects,” Mr Orlov has stated.

When Natalia dared to speak disapprovingly that girls are almost forced to wear headscarves in public places, she had a talk with Kadyrov. She said later that Kadyrov threatened her and said literally the following: “Yes, my arms are elbow-deep in blood; and I’m not ashamed of it. I’ve been killing and I’ll keep killing bad people. We’re at war with enemies of our republic.”

Human rights and political organizations of St Petersburg have also adopted a statement, emphasizing that there are no doubts that the murder is directly linked with Natalia’s public work, since she made public war crimes in Chechnya related to execution of peaceful citizens, including women and children; she held numerous investigations and disclosed facts of kidnappings and extrajudicial killings.

“We assert that Natalia Estemirova’s murder is another proof of a complete failure of Russian authorities’ policy in Chechnya, where unlimited power was vested into Ramzan Kadyrov’s hands, and where not a single human right out of those fixed in the Russian Constitution is guaranteed, including the right to live,” runs the statement of St Petersburg’s organizations.

The authors of the statement from the Scientific-Information Centre “Memorial“, St Petersburg Branch of the “Yabloko” Russian United Democratic Party (RUDP), “Civil Control”, “Home of Peace and Non-Violence” and the Ecological Human Rights Centre “Bellona” call to a resolute amendment of this policy and demand a careful investigation of Natalia Estemirova’s murder and unconditional punishment of those guilty.

The administration of US President Barack Obama has also condemned the murder in Ingushetia of Natalia Estemirova, an employee of the “Memorial” Centre and called Russian government to hold the killers liable.

See earlier reports: “Natalia Estemirova: “I’m sure that human rights defenders are murdered on authorities’ blessing”,” “In the near future, Chechen human rights activists will advance their version of Estemirova’s murder,” “HRC “Memorial” confirms Estemirova’s murder in Ingushetia.”

Estemirova sure that rights defenders were murdered "on authorities’ blessing"

Via Caucasian Knot:

jul 15 2009, 21:00

In her last video interview to the “Caucasian Knot“, Natalia Estemirova, an employee of the HRC “Memorial“, who was shot dead on Wednesday, July 15, expressed her “complete confidence” that the murders of her friends – journalist Anna Politkovskaya and advocate Stanislav Markelov – were committed “upon blessing of those in power.” She gave the interview on January 23, at the Ostankino cemetery, the day Markelov was buried there.

According to Estemirova, despite all the threats that Stanislav Markelov received, neither she nor her colleagues could believe that he would be killed. Natalia had also repeatedly received threats during many years of her human rights work in Chechnya.

“Her life was all the time in danger. She was threatened by special power services, by militants, by federal forces and by special troops,” Radio Liberty reported back in 2007.

“We, human rights advocates, are defending human rights and fight against the crime, while the state fights against us,” said Natalia Estemirova at Markelov’s funeral. “Not only that criminal cases are all the time opened against human rights activists, and Stanislav also had problems, we see no investigation into their murders.”

See earlier reports: “In the near future, Chechen human rights activists will advance their version of Estemirova’s murder,” “HRC “Memorial” confirms Estemirova’s murder in Ingushetia,” “Olga Trusevich claims Markelov accepted cases other lawyers refused to undertake.”

Author: Vyacheslav Feraposhkin; Source: CK correspondent

No thaw in sight

Live Journal blogger hasid discusses the impossibility of liberalization with Medvedev (my tr.): 

It’s really very strange to see liberals expecting a political thaw under Russia’s youngest president, Medvedev.

Surely some historian ought to explain to them that in Russia’s history any reform or thaw during an economic crisis leads to an even greater crisis.

Ever since the days of Muscovy, Russia has constantly teetered on the brink of becoming a failed state. Let’s leave for another occasion the reasons for this permanent lack of success in state-building. Facts are what matter right now.

On the contrary, during an economic  crisis Russia has to tighten the screws with particular ferocity. During this period Russia must have curfews, prison sentences for being late, half the country must wear uniform on both body and face (sideburns, mustaches or beards, depending on social status).

Even the poorly educated modern youth that now surfs LJ ought to remember what liberalization led to under Gorbachev, during a period of very low oil prices…