Murder of lawyer and Journalist shocks Russians
20-Jan-2009 (one comment)

The double murder of a top human rights lawyer and a journalist in Moscow has reinforced the fears of those who say that in Russia words alone can put you in mortal danger. A journalist who was wounded in the attack which killed Mr Markelov later died of her injuries. The dead reporter, Anastasia Baburova, was with Mr Markelov when - investigators say - a masked gunman shot him in the head. After shooting Mr Markelov, the gunman shot her.

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DW Duke

Winds of Change

by DW Duke on

It is unfortunate that the Bush adminstration missed the opportunity to bolster relations with Russia as the Cold War ended.  Russia was eager as the Bush adminstration took office to develop those relations.  I recall a candle light prayer vigil held in the Red Square attended by thousands in honor of those killed in 9/11.  Unfortunately, it would be two years before President Bush and President Putin would even meet.  As time passed Russian intrigue with the US turned into a perceived insult and the Russian newspapers described the US as treating Russia as an unwanted stepchild.  In time, the perceived insult turned into alienation. 

I have been working in Russia since 1989 and saw the change in attitude towards the US.  At first Americans were treated as celebrities and received special treatment everywhere we went.  That continued until about 2003 then the change became apparent and the dislike for the US caused associates in Russia to avoid contact with Americans.  On my last trip to Russia I was detained at the Moscow Airport for for over an hour with no explanation.  I believe it was because of a public dispute with the Prosecutor of Moscow but I can never prove this.  Some of my clients were detained for several days in Vladimir where they were interrogated and threatened by the police with no opportunity to see legal counsel. 

There is a great deal of hope among Russians that Obama will make efforts to rebuild the relationship that was exciting to both Russians and Americans in the late 1980's and the 1990's.  I can't help but wonder if many things would be different in Russia today if developed free nations would have come along side her and supported her better.  Lets hope for better in the next eight years.

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