There’s a strong piece by Luke Harding in today’s Guardian on the murder of Stanislav Markelov and the state’s role in similar cases:
The murders of these Kremlin foes – journalists, lawyers and critics of Russia’s security services – all have a common theme. Nobody is ever caught and punished. The trial of four men accused of involvement in Politkovskaya’s murder is ongoing, but is regarded by human rights activists as a farce. Investigators have failed to catch her assassin and have also apparently been unable to work out who ordered her death. “We can’t even call it a trial. The people being convicted aren’t the ones who carried it out,” Natalia Estemirova of the human rights group Memorial says. After Markelov’s slaying last week, the offices of Russia’s prime minister, Vladimir Putin, and the country’s president, Dmitry Medvedev, were strangely silent. Instead, authorities sent in riot police to break up spontaneous protests in several Russian cities.
This failure to condemn looks like a sign of tacit approval to whatever dark, reactionary and well-organised forces plotted Markelov’s death, his friends believe. They say that it comes against a backdrop of officially blessed harassment and persecution in Russia against human rights organisations – against anyone, in fact, who challenges the Kremlin’s monopoly on power. State TV has largely ignored Markelov’s death. (The snub is reminiscent of Putin’s description of Politkovskaya after her murder as an “extremely insignificant figure well known only in the west”.)
Read the full article here.