Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Another murder

My attention has been drawn to the murder of a pro-Putin United Russia member of a regional council, committed by persons so far unknown a few days ago. As RIA Novosti reports,
A United Russia regional councillor was killed near Moscow on Wednesday evening, a police source told RIA Novosti on Thursday.

Grigory Nosikov, 48, was a member of the town council in Kubinka, some 60 miles west of the capital.

His body was found by his wife next to the automatic gates of their private house at 8:30 p.m. (16:30 GMT) on Wednesday. It was initially believed that he had been shot dead, but later established that he had been killed with a sharp object, the source said.

Nosikov was also the owner of the Zalesye transportation company, and police are working on the theory that his murder could have been connected to his business activities.
The story is confirmed by ITAR-TASS in almost exactly the same words. The story was picked up by the Romanian Ziua Online and by Sean’s Russian blog where I found it as did Robert Amsterdam, who is as skeptical of Sean’s conclusions as I am.

Sean is Sean Guillory, who is castigated by La Russophobe in a comment to Robert Amsterdam’s posting. Before we get too involved in all this mud-slinging among commentators on Russia, let us have a look what Sean G. is saying.

His view appears to be that somehow it is wrong to make a fuss about the murder of Anna Politkovskaya if one does not make an equal fuss about the murder of a pro-Putin politician. Look, he seems to be saying, it is not only anti-Putin activists get killed and, in any case, they are of no importance whatsoever. When will the Western media start paying attention to what matters and, in the process, take up the correct pro-Putin position?

There are several problems here. The first is that the Russian media does not seem to be all that interested in Nosikov’s murder, while it was in Politkovskaya’s, Markelov’s and, more recently, Estemirova’s. There is an article in Moskovsky Komsomolets that shows no doubt that Grigory Nosikov was killed by the local “Mafiosi” for reasons of business enmity. One or two other pieces took the same line.

Secondly, Politkovskaya was murdered for political reasons because of her courageous insistence on reporting what she perceived to be the truth in Russian and Chechnya. Nosikov is most likely to have been killed for business reasons, not the first nor the last to suffer that fate in Russia. To suggest that because he is one of the “fleecers” as Sean does sarcastically his murder is either more important or less comprehensible (it is unclear what he means) is silly. Has the man not heard of the expression “thieves falling out”?

For some reason, Sean also thinks that murder of politicians should carry a heavier sentence than does ordinary murder. I must say, it would never occur to me to say that the murder of a journalist and human rights activist should carry a heavier sentence than any other kind; but I did express some scepticism as to whether the perpetrators would ever be found, let alone tried. So far my scepticism seems to have been accurate.

Most importantly, however, the likes of Sean Guillory do not seem to realize that if the western media does pick up this story, it will not be to their hero’s credit. He links to an article in the well regarded weekly, Argumenty i Fakty, which lists twenty-four city and state parliamentary members that have been murdered since 1992, 12 of them under Putin (and, one assumes, Medvedev). This list does not include those murdered in Chechnya or Ingushetiya or those killed after they had stopped being “elected” politicians.

This is not a pretty picture. When Dimitry Medvedev, himself a lawyer and not a security service operator, became president, he announced that his mission was to turn Russia into a state of law and order. This does not seem to have happened. Under the dual rule of Putin and his teddy bear (mishka) Russia has remained lawless. Or as Russians would put it, бандитская страна, a bandit country. If the western media wrote about that, Sean Guillory would be one of the first to cry foul.

1 comment:

  1. Human rights for Chechnya?

    It'll be animal rights for the jungle next.