We Mustn’t Forget Russia’s Truth Seeker Anna Politkovskaya
"The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing."
A. Introduction: “What are we Supposed to do?”
An article in the Washington Post entitled “U.S. Hopes for Democracy in Russia Fade,” quoted a U.S. official as saying “what are we supposed to do?” (with regards to the undeniable authoritarian Russian regime) and the same official lamented that we shouldn’t exaggerate our ability to shape Russian politics.
No sane person thinks that we are capable of shaping Russian politics (or the politics of any country for that matter). What we are capable of doing is controlling our own actions. In this respect the answer to the question “what are we supposed to do” is simple.
We are supposed to act in accordance with our beliefs and principles and not fall prey to the mistaken belief that appeasing the Russian government will somehow lead to a change in their behavior. We are supposed to stand united with those who fight for liberty, democracy, and justice. We are supposed to remember with whom we are dealing, because as the Russian proverb goes, ‘live in the past, lose an eye, forget the past lose both eyes.’
Anna Politkovskaya was murdered one year ago. She new what she was supposed to do and she did it—even though there was danger, risk and in the end, death because of what she believed in. But she did it because she knew that the Russian regime could and would get worse. Time has proven Anna correct…which begs the question, are we doing what we are supposed to do?
B. Anna Politkovskaya: Truth Seeker
Until recently the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko consumed the media. It is, as of yet, unsolved. If Russian history has taught us anything, it will remain so. But Litvinenko’s murder is not the subject of this article. This article is about Anna. Litvinenko’s murder overshadowed the heinous killing of the brave Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya. It is a sad state of affairs when one of the G8 countries is the topic of such intrigue. Aren’t these countries supposed to be an example to the world? Anna Politkovskaya was trying very hard to tell the world something. It would be wise of us to listen.
Anna Politkovskaya was a staunch critic of the Putin administration and of the Russian army leadership. She was a fervent supporter of the rule of law and human rights, and argued that Putin was stifling civil liberties and moving the country back to a Soviet style dictatorship. “Everyone is convinced that the
Undersecretary Paula Dobriansky said that the role of a true journalist is to bring the truth, especially regarding difficult situations, to the citizens of the world; and that is exactly what Anna Politkovskaya did. David Satter said that Anna acted according to her own moral criteria, and did not fall to the pressure of the authoritarian Putin regime. He said, “…what she represented were a set of values, and those values insofar as they represent something that is basic to all people, and represent the best in people, are the most formidable enemy of a regime which tries to rule through violence, and has no respect for the truth.”
Former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzinski said that Anna Politkovskaya was a lonely hero; that she stood for something transcendental, something utterly good, amidst silence, indifference, hostility, cowardice and opportunism. And Andrei Piontkovsky stated that Anna was a dedicated person of one noble mission, to save the souls of the Russian people. “What made her unique was… her enormous moral and spiritual courage.” Piontkovsky also said, “If Saint Peter has read Anna’s book, Putin’s Russia, I think that Mr. Putin may find at the Pearly Gates that Anna was much more influential than he would like to believe.” Following Anna’s murder, Putin made a public statement in which he stated, “She was known among journalists, and in human rights circles and in the West, but I repeat that she had no influence on political life.”
Anna’s most recent book, Putin’s Russia-Life in a Failing Democracy is a damning conviction of Putin and the current state of affairs in
She called to the responsibility of her own people to change the political climate in
Anna also lamented that there seems to be a change in moral values. She argues that this change in moral values is more noticeable as the war in the
There seems to be a lingering culture of Communism, not just in
This is important because of the moral devastation Communism left in its wake. People learned to lie, cheat, and steal-often out of survival exigencies-but that does not negate the moral deficit these actions produce.
Note from the author:
I cannot claim to be unbiased. All people are subject to deeply embedded internal ideologies and beliefs stemming from sociological influences. I am an outsider, idealist, and a product of Western civilization which is based on democratic and Christian principles. I do not claim to be an expert on
 I have borrowed the term ‘truth seeker’ from David Satter’s book Age of Delirium. He defined truth seekers as those who could not reconcile themselves to the difference between the stated law and actual practices.
 Politkovskaya, Anna. Putin’s