July 15, 2024

Press Freedom

Russian Federation

Russia May 30, 2006

H.E. Vladimir Putin
The Kremlin
Russian Federation
Fax:  (011.7.095) 206-6277/ 5173

Your Excellency:

We write to express our continued concern over the case of Paul Klebnikov, the murdered editor of Forbes Russia.  We are informed that the prosecutor, Dmitri Shokhin, has asked the Supreme Court to overturn the acquittal of two Chechen men, Musa Vakhayev and Kazbek Dukuzov, who had been charged with his murder.  Shokhin said “serious violations” of criminal procedure accounted for the acquittals, and the local press has reported rumors of pressure being put on the jury.

While it is impossible to know what happened in a four-month trial that was closed to public observation, the case against Vakhayev and Dukuzov has seemed tenuous from the day of their arrest, and we can not ignore the possibility that they were indeed innocent.  We join the U.S. House of Representatives and our colleagues at ReportersWithout Borders in urging a continuing investigation of every aspect of Klebnikov’s murder, including the question of who ordered it, whether or not Vakhayev and Dukuzov carried it out.

Klebnikov was the twelfth journalist killed for doing his work since your government took office six years ago. So far, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, no one has been punished for any of these crimes.  If this pattern continues, or if scapegoats are convicted in a cover-up, tragedy will have become satire.

On another point, your Excellency, we urge you to take steps to drop the prosecution of Vladimir Rakhmankov, editor of the Web site, Cursive, for his
comment on your proposal to solve Russia’s demographic crisis by encouraging families to have more children. Rakhmankov called you “Russia’s phallic symbol,” and he was charged with insulting a public official.  In addition to being a clear violation of the principles of press freedom, which you have promised to support, this prosecution is simply beneath you.  If the president of the Russia Federation can not shrug off a light-hearted jibe and feels obliged to retaliate with the full power of the law, your country
is in trouble.

Thank you for your attention.  We would appreciate a reply.
Larry Martz
Kevin McDermott
Co-chairmen, Freedom of the Press Committee


Mikhail Yefimovich Fradkov
Prime Minister
Government Offices
2 Krasnopresnenskaya Naberezhnaya
Russian Federation
Fax:  (011.7.095) 206-4622

Sergey Viktorovich Lavrov
Foreign Minister
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Moscow  121200
Russian Federation

Yuriy Viktorovich Ushakov
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 Andrey Ivanovich Denisov Permanent Representative Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations
136 East 67th Street
New York, NY 10021
Fax:  (212) 628-0252

Mr. Dmitri Peskov
First Deputy Spokesman of the President of the Russian Federation
c/o  Embassy of the Russian Federation
2650 Wisconsin Avenue, NW
Washington, DC  20007
Fax:  (202) 298-5735

Alexander R. Vershbow
U.S. Ambassador to Russia
Embassy of the United States of America
8 Bolshoy Devyatinskiy Pereulok
Moscow  121099
Fax:  (011.7.095) 728-5090

Aleksey Kirillovich Simonov
Glasnost Defense Foundation
4 Zubovskiy Blvd., # 432
Moscow 119021
Fax:  (011.7.095) 201-4947
E-mail: simonov@gdf.ru

Lynn Berry
The Moscow Times
16 Vyborgskaya Street, building 4
Moscow 125212, Russia
Fax:  (011.7. 095) 937-3393
E-mail: l.berry@imedia.ru

Aleksander Vitalyevich Stukalin
Kommersant Daily
4 Vrubelya Street
Moscow, Russia
Fax:  (011.7.095) 943-9728
E-mail: kommersant@kommersant.ru  

Tatyana Petrovna Koshkaryova
Nezavisimaya Gazeta
13 Myasnitskaya Street, building.3
Fax:  (011.7. 095) 981-5434
E-mail: office@ng.ru

Vladimir Alekseyevich Borodin
18 Tverskaya Street, building 1
Moscow 127994
Fax: (011.7.095) 514-0223
E-mail: alekseeva@izvestia.ru

Pavel Nikolayevich Gusev
Moskovskiy Komsomolets
7 Ulitsa 1905 Goda
Moscow 123995, Russia
Fax:  (011.7.095) 259-4639
E-mail: berestovenko@mk.ru

Robert Munro
The St. Petersburg Times
4 Isakiyevskaya square
St. Petersburg 190000
Tel/fax:  (011.7.812) 325-6080
E-mail: munro@sptimes.ru  

Tatyana Gennadyevna Lysova
Editor-in-Chief, Vedomosti
1 6 Vyborgskaya Street
Moscow 125212, Russia
Fax:  (011.7.095) 956-0716
E-mail: vedomosti@imedia.ru

Dmitriy Andreyevich Muratov
Novaya Gazeta
3 Potapovskiy pereulok
Moscow 101990
Fax:  (011.7.095) 923-6888
E-mail: gazeta@novayagazeta.ru