Here is the text of a letter to the editor in today's Moscow Times:
I am a postgraduate medical student who has been living in Russia for more than eight years and in St. Petersburg for four years. For the first time I am seeing such brutality in a democratic country like Russia. I am astonished by the lack of reaction from the government side. Governor Valentina Matviyenko does not speak on this topic or at least take some measures to control the brutal murders of innocent students, who are no different from the children of Russian parents who send their children abroad to study.
I would understand if it were the first one, but even after six murders and several attacks in this academic year, there is no response from the governor.
The whole world is shouting about this problem, but local leaders are less bothered. Should this be the situation in a country that is going to hold a Group of Eight summit? Should such a city, which does not respect human rights, be eligible to hold such a summit? Is this the Russian version of democracy?I.V.S. Prasad
Ms. Matviyekno is a direct presidential appointment of Vladimir Putin, who has abolished the election of local governors. Here is how the Moscow Times reports Mr. Putin is dealing with the murder of foreign students:
The Kremlin has hired a leading Western public relations firm to improve foreign media coverage of the July Group of Eight summit in St. Petersburg -- an unprecedented step for Russia. Kremlin spokesman Alexander Smirnov said the government had decided to employ a multi-agency team led by U.S.-based firm Ketchum in order to more effectively get across its message to Western media. Ketchum's clients include U.S firms Kodak, Pepsi, FedEx, and Procter and Gamble. It said it had won the Kremlin contract along with European PR agency GPlus and Gavin Anderson in Japan. "The idea is to improve our communications strategy using the experience of a Western PR agency. In Russia, we are preparing seriously for the G8 summit," he said.
Ah, yes. The problem of all those dead and injured dark-skinned children is a just a matter of communications. Now where have we heard THAT before? And one supposes that the root cause of the Chechnya business is Moscow's exceedingly poor pizza-delivery system.