Anatomy of Injustice: In Their Words

Anatomy of Injustice: The Unsolved Killings of Journalists in Russia

“The recognition, observance and protection of the rights
and freedoms of man and citizen shall be the obligation of the State. … Everyone shall have the right to life. … Everyone shall be guaranteed the freedom of ideas and speech.” —Constitution of the Russian Federation, Articles 2, 20, and 29.

“For our country … the issue of the persecution of journalists is one of the most pressing. And we realize our degree of responsibility in this. We will do everything to protect the press corps.” —Vladimir Putin, then president, at a news conference in the Kremlin’s Round Hall, February 1, 2007.

“These crimes are politically related and often are contract-style. … Large numbers of unresolved murders committed in recent yearsreflect the inadequacies of the investigative bodies in the beginning and during the later stages of the investigation.”—Aleksandr Bastrykin, head of the Investigative Committee of the Prosecutor General’s Office, to Novaya Gazeta, May 15, 2009.

“Each of them should be examined in detail and the criminals should be found and prosecuted. This is the only way to change the situation.”—President Dmitry Medvedev, responding to a question about attacks on journalists, on the BBC’s “Andrew Marr Show,” March 29, 2009.

“As long as journalists are not able to freely carry out investigations, Russia cannot be considered a truly free country.” —Michael Klebnikov, brother of slain editor Paul Klebnikov, to Agence France-Presse, October 10, 2006.

“In a city of millions, filled with the video cameras, security services, bodyguards and other such structures that are supposed to guarantee people’s safety, killers feel more confident than citizens.”—Valery Yakov, editor-in-chief of the Moscow newspaperNovye Izvestiya, in a January 23, 2009, commentary. The piece ran four days after journalist Anastasiya Baburova and human rights lawyer Stanislav Markelov were murdered.

“He never tried to hide his fear. He never even said that he was not afraid. He used to say that he could not do it any other way.”—Olga Lapitskaya, widow of slain editor Aleksei Sidorov, to The Washington Post, October 24, 2003.

“I have open eyes and this is the real part of my job—to write and to travel and to take risk. I am not happy when someone wants to poison me or beat me or kill me. It is a risk, but it is reality.”—Anna Politkovskaya, in an interview with of Glasgow, October 22, 2004.

“The Russian president made clear
that everything would be done to solve this crime. … I think this is very important and a necessary sign that the freedom of those who report and write is an important aspect of countries where democracy is developing.” —German Chancellor Angela Merkel, speaking about the Politkovskaya murder at a press conference with Vladimir Putin, October 10, 2006.

“We understand that the murder was organized at a very high level by those who were bothered by Politkovskaya’s articles.”—Karinna Moskalenko, lawyer for the Politkovskaya family, in Novye Izvestiya, February 17, 2009. Three defendants were acquitted in the killing that month.
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