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Anna Politkovskaya was an outstanding woman, devoted writer, and Human Rights activist. On October 7th 2006, a group of cowards assassinated her because they were afraid to face the truth. She was murdered because she exposed the crimes of the Russian government. Throughout the years Politkovskaya had been tracked down, followed, and investigated but that did not discourage her. Even after several failed assassination attempts, she kept going because she knew that she possessed a gift that was no match for the Russian government. She had the gift of writing, and wrote about the facts. Anna revealed the secrets that government tried kept hidden, and exposed their evil deeds. Even though her life was at stake she never gave up, she knew that it was her duty to keep the world informed. The world will never forget her. We salute Anna Politkovskaya.

Eagle / www.JusticeForNorthCaucasus.Com Updated October 9th 2006

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JUNE 2005

Russian newspaper claims Russia could have abducted Chechen representative Ahmed Zakayev in Helsink

posted by Justice For North Caucasus - Anna Politkovskaya. on June, 2005 as Anna Politkovskaya

Russian newspaper claims Russia could have abducted Chechen representative Ahmed Zakayev in Helsink

Journalist Anna Politkovskaya's recent article in the Novaya Gazeta newspaper, about the replaced Chechen president Aslan Mashadov's special representative Ahmed Zakayev's cancelled seminar trip to Finland, has provoked a minor sensation in Russia.
According to the article, Finland's Minister of Justice Johannes Koskinen had said to the organisers of the seminar, the Green League MPs Heidi Hautala and Matti Wuori, that "he was unable to guarantee Zakayev's safety in Finland against the Russian secret service".
      "According to Politkovskaya, the minister could not guarantee that Russian secret service officials wouldn't have seated Zakayev on a Russian plane in Helsinki and flown him to be interrogated in the Lefortovo prison", Finland's Ministry for Foreign Affairs quoted Novaya Gazeta in a recent press round-up.
      Politkovskaya called this a "serious scandal for Finland", and asked: "Who runs the country, the Finnish government or the Russian secret service?"
      The Russian Ministry for Foreign Affairs also commented on Politkovskaya's article on their website, claiming that Finnish officials' statements and the whole state of affairs had been grossly misconstrued by the writer.
Politkovskaya has continued probing into the matter in her latest article in the same newspaper. She claims it is possible that Zakayev's handing over may really have been planned, as the Russian Ministry for Foreign Affairs was so quick to deny everything.
      Politkovskaya also hinted that minister Koskinen may have to step down because of the "Zakayev scandal".
On Monday, Koskinen denied having said anything about the Russian secret service during a telephone conversation with Matti Wuori.
      Koskinen explained that he had been unable to promise in advance that Finland would not consider handing Zakayev over to Russian officials, should Russia come up with an official request of extradition, as arguments for such a request could not be known in advance.
      Koskinen also pointed out that had Zakayev shown up, the Finnish police should have arrested him in any case, as he is wanted by Interpol. "But even in that case, Zakayev would have been handed over by the Finnish police, not by Russian security agents", Koskinen explained.
Abu Bakar lifts the black mask covering his face. We are staring, examining each other at close quarters, both trying to understand what's going to happen when this, yet another Russian tragedy, is over. Abu Bakar, a 29-year-old Chechen, looks 40. He is deputy commander of the terrorist group that has taken several hundred people hostage. I am a journalist who has come to the captured theater to negotiate. I am trying to understand who these people are. Who is behind them? And, more important, what comes after them?
We don't want anything, says Abu Bakar sharply; we do not intend to survive. We have come to die. And we are going to die in battle. His military fatigues cover the figure of a physically fit fighter with long service. He strokes the automatic weapon on his lap as if it were a baby.
Abu Bakar is one of those Chechens who have been fighting since youth. He has spent the past three years in the woods and mountains, without water, gas or heat. He has been surviving.
-- Why did you live like that?
-- I am a fighter for the freedom of my land.
-- What did you come to Moscow for?
-- To show you what we feel like during mop-up operations, when federals take us hostage, beat us up, humiliate, kill. We want you to go through it and understand how you have hurt us.
-- But let the children go.
-- Children? You take our 12-year-old children away. We are going to keep yours. To make you understand what it feels like.
This refrain -- "We will show you how we suffer" -- is an undercurrent of our "talks." Their attitude is not going to change. It is this: We have come to die to make the war stop. We are making no concessions.
Abu Bakar and his group, the majority of them between the ages of 25 and 30, are the generation of the "sons" of the Chechen war, who have grown old together with their "fathers." They have known nothing but an automatic weapon and the woods ever since they finished school.
In midsummer this year, as the military-political leadership of the Chechen resistance grew more radical, Abu Bakar and people like him began to raise their voices against the "fathers" -- including leaders and well-known field commanders -- saying they were lacking in drive, leaving fighters alone in the woods while the outrageous Russian "mopping up" operations rose to unprecedented levels.
A Chechen woman of about 40 comes in, an explosive device attached to her body. She carries a pail, which she fills with water for the hostages. We talk a little about her family in Grozny. She doesn't feel sorry for anybody or anything. Her husband and brothers were killed; her uncle and nephew are missing.
-- Are you answerable to Aslan Maskhadov?
-- Yes, Maskhadov is our president, but we are fighting on our own.
Abu Bakar says this coldly. It confirms one's worst fears: This group is a force that operates on its own, waging a war of its own. Members of the Chechen leadership conduct peace talks slowly, he says, because they sleep on sheets, whereas we are dying in the woods. We are tired of them.
That was it, the sum total of their "ideology." It's easy to deride it as primitive, but I don't feel like doing that just now. This group, which is gaining the upper hand in Chechnya, promises innocent blood in the future -- one terrorist act after another. Meanwhile, the Kremlin does not want to hear about a peace process.
The fate of Maskhadov is becoming ever more predictable: Choose the frenzied radicalism of the "sons" or be swept away, and very soon.
The chance for a peaceful settlement now, after the October tragedy, has been lost. The Kremlin turns a deaf ear. Now it will take a much stronger effort for it to sit down at a negotiating table.
Anna Politkovskaya is the author of "A Dirty War: A Russian Reporter in Chechnya." She contributed this comment to The Washington Post.
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