Dicky's Doodles &Scribbles

Cartoons,editorials and comment about current events and more.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Is There A Bloody Campaign In Russia Against Putin Critics?

Anna Politkovskaya was found dead in her Moscow apartment block last month. She had suffered numerous gunshot wounds. Politkovskaya was a highly respected and courageous journalist and had been a critic of the activities of the Russian government in Chechnya. Russian journalists have been murdered in recent years at an alarming rate and most of these have been critical of Vladimir Putin and the Russian government and its policies. Speculation is that she was killed because of her reporting. Government spokesmen have denied any connection with the murder calling that idea "ridiculous." Politkovskaya, 48 a mother of two, had reciecived several death threats. A surveilance video exists of a man following Politkovskaya into her apartment building on the night of her murder. The police are searching for him as a person of interest. Politkovskaya was featured along with a number of other journalists working in very dangerous conditions in a PBS special which aired on our local channel. These episodes were filmed in Mexico, Israel, Africa, Russia and others. Politkovskaya seemed dedicated, extremely intelligent and to be a person of exceptional character and qualities. Her death is an indictment of Putin's Russia which has steadily rolled back journalistic freedom which had begun to bloom following the breakup of the Soviet Union. Deputy Prosecutor Vyacheslav Rosinsky said that the killing may be "linked to the victim's social or professional duties". Politkovskaya worked for the newspaper Novaya Gazeta. A front page piece in that paper said she was likely killed because of her reporting on Chechnya. A police report stated that Politkovskaya was shot three times in the body and once in the head. A Makarov pistol and four cartridges were reportedly found near her body. Politkovskaya's death was the latest in a string of what has been called "contract" killings of Russian journalists, important business people and politicians over the last few years. Below is a list of some of the others. RUSSIA'S CONTRACT KILLINGS: Sept 2006 - first deputy chairman of Russia's central bank Andrei Kozlov shot dead in Moscow Oct 2005 - former bank head Alexander Slesarev gunned down near Moscow July 2004 - US editor of Forbes' Russian edition Paul Klebnikov shot dead in Moscow Oct 2002 - Magadan governor Valentin Tsvetkov killed in Moscow Nov 1998 - liberal MP Galina Starovoitova killed in St Petersburg March 1995 - leading journalist Vladislav Listyev shot dead in Moscow In London former spy Alexander Litvinenko remains in serious condition in a hospital as doctors treat him with a sickness initially thought to be food poisoning. As his condition worsened he was thought to have been poisoned by a toxic metal called thalium. Now that diagnosis is in doubt as doctors search to find out what it is. Litvinenko, who was a lieutenant-colonel in the FSB, the successor to the KGB, is believed to have been poisoned on November 1. Litvinenko had been openly critical of Russia's President VladimirPutin, a former KGB director. There is also the strange case of Viktor Andriyovych Yushchenko, President of the Ukraine Republic. Yushchenko was poisoned and nearly lost his life during his campaign for President against a Kremlin backed candidate. Is there a pattern here? What do you think?


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