Friday, July 17, 2009

On the death of Natalia Estemirova

With Natalia Estemirova yet another Russian human rights fighter in Chechnya has been killed. As usual there is no clue who did it, but human rights activists pointed to the prime minister of Chechnya, Kadyrov:

Lev Ponamaryov, a human rights activist, said the pattern of attacks on critics of Mr Kadyrov appeared to answer questions over who could be to blame.

“When they kill three people in a row in a short space of time who worked on the same subject, then all questions disappear,” he said. “Politkovskaya, Markelov and now Estemirova, they were all investigating abuses by law enforcement and the killings of peaceful citizens in Chechnya – and all these people have been killed . . . It is absolutely clear.

“This is either former or current security services or people connected to Kadyrov’s regime.”

Oleg Orlov, chairman of Memorial, the rights group where Estemirova had worked for a decade documenting abuses by law enforcers in Chechnya, had claimed that Mr Kadyrov, a former rebel turned Kremlin loyalist, was behind the killing.

“I know, I am sure of it, who is guilty for the murder of Natalia. His name is Ramzan Kadyrov,” Mr Orlov said in a statement on the Memorial website. “Ramzan already threatened Natalia, insulted her, considered her a personal enemy.”

I don't expect a speedy departure of mr. Kadyrov. But I think that the last sentence offers a clue how to start: threats and insults should not be tolerated from a politician. Enforcing that would be a big step to normalize Russia and its unruly Chechnya-

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