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Saturday, September 16, 2006

Annals of Cold War II: U.S. Senate Condemns Neo-Soviet Repression by Unanimous Consent

On July 25, 2006, the United States Senate passed a resolution by unanimous consent condemning the Russian government for failing to control brutal violence against Russian journalists. The resolution was sponsored by Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York. It read:

Whereas, on July 9, 2004, United States journalist Paul Klebnikov was murdered by gunmen as he exited the Moscow offices of Forbes Magazine;

Whereas no person has been convicted of any offense in connection with the murder of Mr. Klebnikov;

Whereas Mr. Klebnikov is survived by his wife Helen and his 3 young children;

Whereas 12 journalists have been murdered in the Russian Federation since 2000 and Mr. Klebnikov was the first and only citizen of the United States among those journalists;

Whereas the Office of the Russian Prosecutor General arrested and tried Musa Vahaev and Kazbek Dukzov for the murder of Mr. Klebnikov;

Whereas Musa Vahaev and Kazbek Dukzov were acquitted on May 5, 2006, of the charges of murdering Mr. Klebnikov;

Whereas the Government of Russia has stated that the murder of Mr. Klebnikov was ordered by Khozh-Akhmed Nukhayev, a fugitive Chechen criminal gang leader, but has not publicly released any evidence of the complicity of Mr. Nukhayev;

Whereas it remains unclear who ordered the murder of Mr. Klebnikov or if any party will be convicted of that crime;

Whereas the attorneys that represented the Klebnikov family have alleged that numerous procedural violations occurred during the trial;

Whereas a group of investigative journalists from the United States has launched an independent inquiry into the death of Mr. Klebnikov;

Whereas the 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices published by the Department of State indicated that the Government of Russia had continued to weaken the independence and freedom of expression of the media industry of Russia, particularly among the major national television networks and regional media outlets of that country; and

Whereas, on June 4, 2006, President Putin told a conference of the World Association of Newspapers that ``A progressive state requires a free press.'': Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate--

(1) condemns--
(A) the murder of United States journalist Paul Klebnikov on July 9, 2004, in Moscow; and
(B) the murders of other members of the media in the Russian Federation;
(2) commends the Office of the Russian Prosecutor General for its continuing investigation of the murder of Mr. Klebnikov;
(3) urges the Government of Russia--
(A) to continue its inquiries to determine all parties involved in the murder of Mr. Klebnikov; and
(B) to bring those parties responsible for the murder of Mr. Klebnikov to justice;
(4) urges the Government of Russia to accept offers of assistance with the investigation of the murder of Mr. Klebnikov from--
(A) the United States; and
(B) other concerned governments;
(5) urges the Government of Russia, upon request, to extend appropriate assistance to investigative journalists who have started to conduct independent inquiries relating to the death of Mr. Klebnikov, to the extent that such assistance conforms with the privacy safeguards and the laws of Russia; and
(6) urges the Government of Russia to take appropriate action to protect the independence and freedom of--
(A) the media of Russia; and
(B) all visiting members of the media.

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