Sunday, October 07, 2007

President Putin Celebrates His Birthday

"In death, she confirmed that what she wrote is real and true...Violence and lies rule in our country and it's a disgrace."---Lyudmila Alexeyeva head of the Moscow Helsinki Group, a human rights group

On October 7, 2007, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty remembers the courageous Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya on the first anniversary of her murder. She was murdered on President Vladimir Putin's birthday exactly one year ago.

Readers can use the search feature on the top left to read other articles I have posted about this Russian journalist.

After Politkovskaya was gunned down in the elevator of her apartment building, a former Russian officer of the state security (FSB), the late Alexander Litvinenko, publically accused President Putin of involvement in her murder. Litvinenko was soon poisoned with a fatal dose of radioactive polonium.

Litvinenko may have been murdered because he accused President Putin and the Russian FSB (Federal Security Service) of complicity in the murder Anna Politkovskaya and of the bombing of several apartment buildings in Russia. Politkovskaya had been researching these bombings.

Litvinenko contended that the bombings were blamed on the Chechens, used to justify the second Chechen war and to launch and Putin's Presidency. A lot of people who have tried to get to the bottom of these mass murders of innocent Russians in their homes have also been murdered.

Before he was murdered, Litvinenko reportedly even claimed that the FSB trained Osama Bin Laden's deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri in Dagestan in the years before the 9/11 attacks. In 2005, Litvinenko reportedly told a Polish paper called Rzeczpospolita that Zawahiri was trained in Dagestan.

Moscow News carries this story about Zawahiri being trained in Dagestan by the FSB but does not mention Litvinenko as the source of the story.

Here is a passage from an AP article about Politkovskaya's murder and about Putin's supporters:

Politkovskaya remembered by Russia's rights groups as Putin celebrates his 55th birthday

VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV Associated Press Writer
Released : Sunday, October 07, 2007 8:55 AM

Several hundred opposition activists held a solemn commemoration Sunday for journalist Anna Politkovskaya on the anniversary of her killing, while 10,000 members of a pro-Kremlin youth group rallied in Moscow to celebrate President Vladimir Putin's 55th birthday.

Activists from liberal parties and rights groups gathered on the cold, rainy day in Moscow to pay tribute to Politkovskaya, whose reporting on atrocities against civilians in Chechnya earned her international claim but angered the Kremlin.

The activists, surrounded by tight police cordons, laid flowers and placed a memorial plaque at the Moscow apartment building where Politkovskaya lived and was gunned down in a contract-style killing on Oct. 7, 2006.

The Kremlin issued no statement related to Politkovskaya's case. A few days after her killing, Putin shocked many by saying she had little influence, and that her killing hurt the government much more than her writing.

In August, Russia's chief prosecutor announced 10 suspects had been arrested in connection with the killing, which he said had been ordered by someone outside the country to discredit Putin and destabilize Russia, allegations that echoed officials' earlier claims.

Kremlin critics and former colleagues of Politkovskaya were skeptical of the claims, and said her reporting on the government and war abuses in Chechnya had earned her many enemies at home.

Police on Saturday detained several foreign activists trying to attend a conference commemorating Politkovskaya in the Volga River city of Nizhny Novgorod, activists said. They were released after being fined for allegedly violating registration rules.

Meanwhile, about 10,000 members of the pro-Kremlin youth movement Nashi, which translates as Ours, marched along the Moscow River embankment to congratulate Putin and shout "Happy Birthday!"

Wearing T-shirts with Putin's portrait, the youths held placards with slogans reading "Putin is our everything!" "Putin means democracy!" and "Putin is our future!" [See full text]


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