Michail Ryklin on Russia post-Politkovskaya

Last week I posted on the assassination of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, suggesting that this was a very bad sign for Freedom (of Speech and of everything else) in Putin’s Russia, forcing the citizens and the media into an ever more siberian self-censorship. Meanwhile signandsight has published the translation of an interview with Russian philosopher, writer and translator Michail Ryklin, which certainly confirms one’s worst fears. Below, an extract from that interview — which you can read in full here:

We assumed that Vladimir Putin and his system valued Politkovskaya as a democratic symbol and that her newspaper, the independent Novaya Gazeta, like the broadcaster Echo of Moscow represented a democratic showcase for the Kremlin elite that they wouldn’t want to do away with – or couldn’t. Even papers of less significance like the government-critical magazine of the chess champion Garry Kasparov seemed a guarantor that this niche would survive in some form. What is happening now is something like a paradigm shift.

And what is it exactly?

Until now, we, the critical voices, believed in a civilisational minimum at the least, that society stood on a more or less solid base. Now the message is: none of you are safe any more. Notability, Western friends, respect and awards can no longer protect us against violent attacks on the freedom of expression. If someone like Politkovskaya can be murdered in broad daylight in such an brutal way, any of us could be next. That is a shock. All the more so because in today’s Russia, most political murders are never solved.

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1 Response

  1. ren.kat says:

    Thank you for posting this! Norwegian PEN is organizing a memorial for her on the 1st of November. I hope to be there. I hope that enough people around the world will make themselves heard and make Putin realize that we notice what’s going on.

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