- Dear List,
Just a quick reminder that today it is exactly three months since the
murder of Anna Politkovskaya. Have the police made any headway? Are
they busily interrogating suspects? Is the net closing around the
Of course not - these are not what the russian police have been
tasked with. Their job at the moment is to do as little as possible
while looking as if they are actually working. Should they, by
chance, stumble upon any significant leads, no doubt orders will come
from above to look the other way and mind their own business. In
other words, continue to harass innocent citizens and collect bribes
and protect the men and women in power.
Secondly, for those who are able to tune in to Swedish television, on
Thursday january 11th, at 22.00 on TV1, will be shown Caroline
Campbell's film "When The Russian Bear Devours its Children".
Caroline Campbell is a free-lance filmer who made this personal tale
of the consequences of the war, and how it has affected different
people. Watch it!
Dissidents say BBC has caved in to Moscow
By Andrew Pierce
Last Updated: 12:19am GMT 01/01/2007
Leading dissidents from the former Soviet Union have demanded an
investigation into the BBC Russian Service, which they have accused
of caving in to pressure to be less critical of President Vladimir
They have written to Mark Thompson, the BBC director-general,
demanding an examination of what they claim is a string of examples
of pro-Putin bias on the taxpayer-funded service, which has a weekly
audience of two million.
The service went off air in Moscow and St Petersburg last month
around the time of the murder in London of Alexander Litvinenko, a
former officer in the Russian security service. "Unexplained
technical difficulties" with the BBC's local partners were blamed,
but there is still no service in Moscow.
The dissidents, led by Oleg Gordievsky, the former KGB spy turned
MI6 agent, and Vladimir Bukovsky, an author who spent 12 years in
Soviet prison camps, are particularly angered by the unexpected
axing of a programme presented by Seva Novgorodsev that had run for
Novgorodsev, who still broadcasts on the Russian Service, received
the MBE from the Queen in 2004. His programme regularly had guests
who were enemies of the Moscow regime, such as Litvinenko and the
journalist Anna Politkovskaya whose murder he was investigating.
The BBC has also received a protest letter signed by 1,000 listeners
around the world.
The dissidents' letter states: "At a time when Britain needs a
strong voice in Russia more than at any point over the past decade,
the taxpayer-funded BBC Russian Service radio seems to have
considerably mellowed in its tone towards the Russian government.
"By design or by neglect, it has become more accommodating of
Russian government views, dispensing with difficult questions and
denying a platform to some critics.
"Is the BBC Russian Service trying to soften up its news coverage
mindful of the Kremlin's ever-watchful eye over the airwaves? The UK
taxpayer funds the BBC World Service so that Britain can have a
strong voice in the world and it should not be compromised."
A BBC spokesman said: "The service remains an important and strong
source of impartial and independent news and current affairs
renowned for asking difficult questions on behalf of its listeners.
We reject any suggestion that we have made compromises in our
questioning of any point of view in any debate."