Anna Politkovskaya buried – Putin jeered

Last week Russia’s most vocal journalist on human rights in Chechnya was assassinated.

The Russian government did not acknowledge it, and there is suspicion of Kremlin involvement.

Putin flew in to Germany yesterday and got jeered by over 2,000 demonstrators.

From The Telegraph:

Angry protesters greeted Vladimir Putin as he flew into Germany yesterday for a two-day official visit that has been overshadowed by the weekend murder of his most prominent critic in the Russian media.

  Anna Politkovskaya's funeral
Mourners gather around the coffin of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya before her burial in Moscow

Arriving in Dresden, the city where he served as a KGB spy in the 1980s, the Russian president was heckled by 2,000 demonstrators furious over the killing of Anna Politkovskaya, shot dead by a gunman outside her home on Saturday afternoon.

As Mr Putin got out of his limousine, one man shouted: “You’re a murderer, you’re not welcome here.” The killing of Mrs Politkovskaya, who was internationally admired for her exposes of Russian military atrocities in Chechnya, forced the Russian leader onto the defensive during a trip that was meant to focus on energy and growing economic ties with Germany.

Two hours after the reporter was buried at an emotional funeral in Moscow, Mr Putin publicly acknowledged her death for the first time at a joint press conference with Angela Merkel, the German chancellor.

Though he described the murder as “a dreadful and unacceptable crime”, Mr Putin sought to reject allegations of possible Kremlin involvement in it by downplaying the significance of Mrs Politkovskaya’s career.

“She was a journalist who was critical of the current authorities in Russia,” he said. “But although she was well-known among human rights groups and abroad, she had minimal influence on political life in Russia.”

….

“Russia is becoming an authoritarian and corrupt country,” said Grigory Yavlinsky, leader of the opposition Yabloko party. “This killing opens a new phase when the physical elimination of political opponents becomes possible.” Fear was as much an emotion as grief for many; a belief that with the death of one of so very few prepared to criticise the Kremlin the last vestiges of freedom in Russia had also passed.

“I did not know Anna personally but when I heard of the murder I got very scared,” said Alexander Glushenko, a nuclear physicist who recently wrote a book about his experiences of containing the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. “I may be wrong, but I have a feeling that now anyone who writes the truth can be killed.”

Full story here

 

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