"He will leave a Soviet country with a downtrodden media and with strong fascist undercurrents"
- Anna Politkovskaya April 2006 via the BBC November 24 2006
Monday, November 27, 2006. Issue 3548. Page 4.
Politkovskaya Accuses Putin in Interview Shown on BBC
The Associated Press
LONDON -- Slain journalist Anna Politkovskaya -- whose killing former FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko had been investigating before his death by poisoning -- said President Vladimir Putin was killing democracy in an interview broadcast for the first time Friday.
Politkovskaya, who exposed killings, torture and abuses against civilians in Chechnya, was gunned down in her Moscow apartment building Oct. 7, and told BBC television that Putin had deliberately provoked acts of terrorism, including the 2002 Dubrovka-theater siege.
"The birth of democracy was hard. But it was born, and he is killing it," Politkovskaya told the BBC's "This World" program in an interview recorded in April.
"His years in the Kremlin have meant that the next generation will have to do a great deal, take a giant leap, to get out of the problems," she said.
Litvinenko died after meeting a contact in London who claimed to have information about the slaying of Politkovskaya, whom he described as a friend.
In her interview, Politkovskaya accused the Kremlin of provoking the 2004 seizure of hostages at the Beslan school.
"All his problems, the theater siege, Beslan and the results come from the fact [that] he doesn't understand that each person has rights, that he is not a cog in a machine," Politkovskaya said. "Putin doesn't understand that, he has own logic, it is the logic of a KGB officer in the Soviet Union -- the worst type.
"The thing is that many people in our country share this view, many. But the life of a person is nothing. ... This Stalinesque psychology is very much alive in our country," she said.
Politkovskaya said Putin's tenure had also seen a deliberate inflaming of tensions with Chechnya. "The root of the problem is that he is reproducing terrorism. It is a kind of politics that creates people who want to be terrorists."
She said Putin had muzzled the country's press, pressuring critical voices who challenged his authority. "He became president without any program, without any words. If there was an independent press, they would tear Putin apart, piece by piece," she said. "He will leave a Soviet country with a downtrodden media and with strong fascist undercurrents."