The Anthem of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation:
While all the fanfare? Well, because there’s reason to celebrate. The Voice of Russia tells it like it is:
Bastrykin – Novaya Gazeta: conflict is over
Jun 14, 2012
Alexander Bastrykin. Photo: RIA Novosti
One of the greatest public scandals recently seen by Russia is over: Alexander Bastrykin, the head of the Investigative Committee, and the Novaya Gazeta chief editor Dmitry Muratov have made reciprocal apologies and shook hands in reconciliation.
The scandal began after newspaper’s deputy editor Sergey Sokolov had published an article which accused Russian law enforcement agencies of helping a mafia gang leader Sergey Tsepovyaz in Russia’s corrupted Kushchevskaya village in Krasnodar. The author was especially critical about Bastrykin’s agency.
The official invited the journalist to a meeting in Nalchik, where the Kushchevskaya massacre was discussed. They had a talk during which Bastrykin called the accusations a lie and demanded apologies. They ended up in a quarrel and the reporter was expelled from the meeting.
But this was not the end. Shortly after, Dmitry Muratov wrote an open letter in which he claimed that Bastrykin took Sokolov to a forest where he threatened the journalist’s life. No proof except Sokolov’s testimony was provided.
Reporters were impatient about June 14 when Bastrykin was to meet chief editors of top Russian media. The meeting went surprisingly peaceful and Bastrykin started with apologizing for being too emotional. Dmitry Muratov accepted the apologies and said that the conflict was over. Then he called the author of the article, Sokolov, and they exchanged apologies with the top investigator.
“Our country must have an image in the world. If it’s positive, if people in the world see the country as democratic, free, civilized, safe and interesting in terms of history, nature and hospitality, this will attract them here,” Grigory Sarishvili, the [Russian Federal Tourism Agency’s] deputy head, told The St. Petersburg Times.
A top Russian official summoned a journalist to a one-on-one meeting in a forest and threatened to personally arrange his killing, according to one of the country’s leading newspapers.
Without providing any explanation, aides working for Alexander Bastrykin, the head of Russia’s investigative committee, which has powers similar to those of the FBI in America, drove Novaya Gazeta’s deputy editor, Sergei Sokolov, to a forest outside Moscow after a organised press trip and told security guards to leave them alone, it is claimed.
Bastrykin, in an “extremely emotional condition”, then expressed his opinions about Novaya Gazeta’s journalism and made threats against Sokolov’s life, suggesting he would himself oversee such an assassination. The allegations were made by the editor of Novaya Gazeta, Dmitry Muratov, in an open letter to Bastrykin published on Wednesday.
As a result of the alleged threats to his life, Sokolov has decided to leave Russia and is now outside the country….
Chtodelat News has already reported on the recent attacks on Russia social and labor activists. The most serious of these assaults was made on Mikhail Beketov, the editor-in-chief of Khimkinskaya Pravda. Beketov has bravely campaigned to save the Khimki Forest from destruction, and has exposed the corruption of the local administration. Now he lies in a coma at Moscow’s Sklifosovsky Institute, badly beaten, one leg amputated, on the verge of death.
Below, we present a translation of a recent article on the Beketov case from the independent liberal newspaper Novaya Gazeta. Elena Kostyuchenko’s investigative report is not, however, run-of-the-mill journalism. Whether she intended it or not, her essay hearkens to the great nineteenth-century tradition of engaged writing represented by Tolstoy, Chekhov, and Vladimir Korolenko. “The Truth in Khimki” is not so much a reporting of facts as it is a portrait in miniature of a society in deep, continuing crisis and riven by violent, often lethal contradictions. Police who are less interested in solving crimes than in squelching “the opposition.” A population that (sometimes) knows the truth but, with few exceptions, is too frightened to speak out or act on what it knows. State officials who can’t be bothered to answer the charges made against the state and are quick to downplay the significance of the journalists making those charges. (Witness Putin’s public reaction to the murder of Anna Politkovskaya.) Neighbors who are so apathetic that they let a beaten man lie on the cold ground for two days before they call the police. Rightless migrants whose humanity is often more easily manifested than that of the fully endowed “citizens” who surround them. (Witness the Uzbek migrant worker who was the only person to come to the aid of a Tuvan journalist attacked by skinheads in the Petersburg subway, in December of last year.)
On a more pragmatic note, we should call attention to the fact that, at the end of the article, the newspaper’s editors provide information on how to donate money for Beketov’s medical care and donate blood for the transfusions he so badly needs. If you have the means or ability to help Beketov in this way, please do.
November 20, 2008
The Truth in Khimki
The police are afraid to investigate the attempted murder of journalist Mikhail Beketov
As this issue of the paper goes to press, Mikhail Beketov, the editor-in-chief of Khimkinskaya Pravda [The Khimki Truth], is alive. For the past four days, he has been the most serious case in the intensive care ward at the Sklifosovsky Institute. He has suffered a deep skull fracture as well as multiple fractures all over his body. His right leg has been amputated, and doctors are getting ready to amputate his crushed and frostbitten fingers. He is in a coma. His relatives say that Mikhail hears their voices. He tries to open his eyes; he shakes his head, straining to say something. The doctors advise his relatives not to get their hopes up—just muscle contractions, they say. The doctors have no idea why he is still alive.