Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Politkovskaya Laureate Murdered

For Global Voices Online: Just another death, just another obituary. That seems to be the general sentiment as news of today's murder of Russian Human Rights activist, Natalya Estemirova, broke. However, there are still people out there, in the Russian blogosphere, who challenge disillusion as yet another voice of conscience and tolerance is silenced by violent death.

This morning, prominent Russian Human Rights activist Natalya Estemirova was abducted from her home in Ingushetia by armed men. She was later found dead, a bullet through her heart. As mainstream media reports just another death of an activist - even when it comes to the assassination of one of the country's leading Human Rights' adovcates - some bloggers react with abhorrence.

Then, who was Natalya Estemirova? LJ user xanzhar gives [RUS] a short account of the public figure:

Natalya Estemirova was one of [Russian Human Rights Organization] Memorial's leading representative in the Caucasus. Authorities in the Republic of Chechnya never expressed any discontent with her work. Estemirova's Human Rights advocacy earnt her many international awards. She was the first recipient of the Anna Politkovskaya Award (2007), and winner of the Swedish [---] Right Livelihood Award (2004). In 2005, the European Parliament gave her the Robert Schumann medal.
LJ user nansysnspb expresses [RUS] her feelings about the murder:

So close, and so terrible... [---] I know people who were friends with Natalya Estemirova... So, they take her life. It's like in a Strugatsky [fantasy novel]... What's next then? Lighting candles... Cursing the murderers, and writing letters to the prosecutor's office with appeals for investigation to rightfully convict these murderers - murderers who probably carry epaulettes and hold positions of corresponding responsibility in the security structures.
LJ user for efel continues [RUS] along the same line:

Surely, [the murder] is connected to [Chechen president] Kadyrov. It's simply not known in what way. To please or to spite him, as with the murder of Politkovskaya. It's connected (as I see it) to the official removal of the borders between Chechnya and Ingushetia for his sonderkomand [special units]... [---] Natasha [Estemirova] was a more precious person than even Anna Politkovskaya - it's a fact. Generally, one could raise a memorial to every single Human Rights activist working in the Caucasus. I only hope murderers don't take it the wrong way: I mean a monument for the living!
Another death - another obituary. Does it make a difference? That is a question for each and everyone to ponder. Still, judging from blogger reactions, Natalya Estemirova surely made a significant difference for many people exposed to the indiscriminate violence and terror of everyday life in Russia's conflict-ridden Republic of Chechnya.

1 comment:

Index on Censorship said...

Dear Vilhelm,

We though you might be interested to post this story below to supplement your coverage of the Natalia Estemirova murder this summer in Chechnya. This article covers the recent defamation case brought by Razman Kadyrov, president of Chechnya, against Oleg Orlov, director of Russian human rights organisation Memorial because Orlov criticised the lawlessness of Chechnya in which murders such as Estemirova could happen. Sadly, he won. Nevertheless, we want exposure on this story to be high and wide, so if you feel this is something that is relevant to your work, please do post it on your blog.
Here is the link,


Index on Censorship