I was surprised to read so many government voices rallying on the side of Stanislav Markelov and Anastasia Baburova in this report from the Press Association. The article says that lawmakers in the State Duma ‘voted unanimously to demand that prosecutors share details of the inquiry into the murder[s]’, and even quotes a United Russia party member, Sergei Markov, who urged a ‘stop to the wave of attacks on rights defenders’.
The United Russia voice sounds especially jarring here, but all of these voices are complicit in a system within which these awful things happen again and again – the same system which will, presumably, do nothing to ensure that those responsible are brought to justice.
Given that these declamatory words and impassioned calls for justiceare precisely what we want to hear when something like this happens, itis difficult to accept that such words promise nothing, except that wecannot underestimate the levels of hypocrisy at work here.
There’s a strong piece by Novaya Gazeta reporter Yelena Milashina on the murders, which was translated and posted over at Radio Free Europe today. Here’s an extract:
‘Thekillers have no fear because they know they will not be punished. Butneither are their victims afraid, because when you defend others youcease to fear. Those today who are fearful are the people who keep outof trouble, trying to survive these bad times, when the bad times (forsome reason) never seem to end.’