December 15, 2018

Press Freedom

Russian Federation

Russia April 10, 2013

H.E. Vladimir Putin
President
The Kremlin
Moscow
Russian Federation
Fax: (011.7.495) 206.6277/ 5173

Your Excellency:

Ever since his savage beating four years ago, no case – not even the notorious killing of Anna Politkovskaya – has better exposed your government’s ruthless crackdown on dissent better than that of Mikhail Beketov.  Now his death releases him from the suffering inflicted on him, and reminds the world again of your pillaging of the environment, the Russian economy, press freedom and human rights.

There is no need to rehearse the details of Beketov’s efforts to expose and prevent the destruction of part of the Khimki forest to build a highway, the repeated acts of violence directed at him, or the beating in 2008 that cost him a leg and a finger and damaged his brain.  To stop his writing, his assailants took special pains to mangle his hands.  The perfunctory “investigation” that followed soon wound down, and Beketov since then has been an invalid, unable to speak and confined to a wheelchair.  As one of his environmentalist colleagues has put it, “In essence, they killed him back then.  He was just dying all these years.  That’s all.”

Your Excellency, there seems little hope that you will ever understand or repent the damage you are doing to your country.  Perhaps one day, even the long-suffering Russian people, accustomed as they are to being abused, will have had enough and demand an end to it.  The Overseas Press Club of America, an independent organization of journalists that has defended press freedom around the world for more than 70 years, hopes that day will soon arrive.

Respectfully yours,
Larry Martz
John Martin
Freedom of the Press Committee

cc:

H.E. Dmitri Medvedev
Prime Minister
Government Offices
2 Krasnopresnenskaya Naberezhnaya
Moscow
Russian Federation
Fax:  (011.7.495) 206.4622, 205.4219

H.E. Sergey V. Lavrov
Foreign Minister
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Moscow 121200
Russian Federation
Fax: (011.7.495) 244.3448

H.E. Sergey I. Kislyak
Ambassador of Russia to the U.S.A.
Embassy of the Russian Federation
2650 Wisconsin Avenue, NW
Washington, DC  20007
Fax:  (202) 298.5735

Ambassador Vitaly Churkin
Permanent Representative
Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations
136 East 67th Street
New York, NY  10021
Fax: (212) 628.0252

H.E. Michael A. McFaul
U.S. Ambassador to Russia
Embassy of the United States of America
8 Bolshoy Devyatinskiy
Pereulok
Moscow  121099
Russia
Fax:  (011.7.495) 728.5090

Andrey Vitalyevich Vasilyev
Editor-in-Chief
Kommersant Daily
4 Vrubelya Street
Moscow, Russia
kommersant@kommersant.ru

Aleksey K. Simonov
President
Glasnost Defense Foundation
4 Zubovskiy Boulevard, # 432
Moscow  119021
Russia
Fax: (011.7.495) 637.4947

Andrew McChesney
Editor-in-Chief
The Moscow Times
Ul. Polkovaya, 3, build. 1
Moscow  127018
Russia
mcchesney@imedia.ru

Maria Otero
Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, D.C.  20520