Grigory Pasko: Violence against Journalists Worsening in Russia


He tripped and fell on my knife. Eight times…

Grigory Pasko, journalist

A few weeks ago…  The editor-in-chief of the newspaper “Solnechnogorsky forum”, 72-year-old Yuri Grachev, about whom it had recently been reported that he had been beaten up in the entryway of his own house, regained consciousness and gave the first explanations to the police. In his words, he had driven up to the house in an automobile, he was walking into the entryway and what happened next – he doesn’t remember. In the law-enforcement organs, they do not rule out that Grachev could have lost his footing and fallen, as the result of which he received the traumas the presence of which doctors had ascertained.

The day before…  In the MVD of Russia they have named the reason for which Russian journalists are murdered most often. The percentage of crimes associated with professional activity is not great, they assert at the agency. In the words of the chief of the administration of public relations of the MVD RF, Valery Gribakin, whom ITAR-TASS cites, in the main employees of the mass information media are murdered during the course of conflicts that arise on ordinary everyday soil. The number of cases when journalists are lynched for their publications and investigations, in percentage ratio is not great”.

In confirmation of his words, the representative of the MVD citedseveral examples. Thus, for example, correspondent of the newspaper”Moscow news” Valery Batuyev was murdered in March of the year 2003 byhis acquaintances in a quarrel after a joint imbibing of spiritousbeverages.

Two weeks earlier…  The declarations resonating from the side of highly-placedrepresentatives of individual countries and organizations about thesupposedly political character of the murder of the journalistAnastasia Baburova can not but amaze the Russian side. About this they declared in the department of information andpress of the MFA RF.

«The latest data bear witness that Anastasia Baburova turned out to bean innocent victim of the situation, when an attempt was undertakenagainst the lawyer Stanislav Markelov, — they clarified in theMinistry. — The tragic events associated with the death of thejournalist are beginning to get artificially politicized and used withunseemly objectives for the discreditation of Russia, to be drawn underalready elaborated conceptions of the absence of freedom of the pressin the RF, the persecution of journalists».

And now…  Well, of course, what do you expect? Thosegood-for-nothing journalist types, they go and kill themselves, or getdrunk with who knows who and then they wake up with a knife in thechest. They write about who knows who, and then they complain thatsomeone’s implanted a bullet in their skull. It’s all their own fault.And that Grachev no doubt split his skull against the door jamb in theentryway. And Beketov over there in Khimkiaccidentally fell under the baseball bats of some fine upstanding youngmen. And Baburova? Why, you shouldn’t go around trying to rip pistolsout of the hands of people busy working at their jobs. In short: alljust simple ordinary everyday occurrences. And in general – we ought tostill also check all those beaten and murdered pen-pushers for thesubject of extremism-alcoholism and what-not. I mean, just look at whatthey’re doing, manifesting some kind of Murzilki* solidarity, writingabout each other and all… While in actuality – it’s really nothingpersonal, political, professional…. Nothing but simple ordinaryeveryday happenings. Nothing even to investigate here, really. And noreason to. That’s all, break it up now, everybody go home, you’re allfree to go…

Photo of the magazine Murzilka. – a children’s magazine that’s been published since theyear 1924. The main character in the magazine is Murzlika – «a yellowfurry personage in a red beret with a scarf and a photo camera over theshoulder». Journalism department students, and journalists themselves,were called «Murzilki» in the USSR.