Monday, December 01, 2008

Politkovskaya: A flawed figure

The trial of the murder of Anna Politkovskaya is starting in Russia, and no doubt people are following it closely in order to see Putin brought to justice. But while he was most likely behind her murder, Politkovskaya wasn't a pure martyr to truth. Her reporting about Chechnya is really good, but "Putin's Russia", a later work, is largely a syncophantic pro-Yeltsin account of Putin's government. She conveniently ovelooks the looting of Russia's economy that went on during those times, virtually putting the start of the decline of Russia at the time that Putin assumed office. One of the early vignettes in the book is emblematic: talking about Putin and the market system she makes the statement that starting ones own business was the thing that people in the pro-democracy movement in Soviet Russia were fighting for. She specifically says that this is what "we" were fighting for. I guess that the whole thing about human rights abuses by the police, lack of internal democracy, and suppression of things like free speech come later when compared to the importance of opening a store and making money.

No comments: