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Re: NYT: A Death in Moscow

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  • solntsepyati
    A similar phenomenon to that described below has occurred in Politkovskaya s Voyage en Enfir: Journal de Tchetchenie, trans. Ackerman G, Lorrain P, Paris:
    Message 1 of 2 , Jun 30, 2007
      A similar phenomenon to that described below has occurred in
      Politkovskaya's Voyage en Enfir: Journal de Tchetchenie, trans.
      Ackerman G, Lorrain P, Paris: Robert Laffont(2000)) as compared to
      tha same text in the English edition: A Dirty War: A Russian
      Reporter in Chechnya, trans. Crowfoot J, London: Harvill (2001))

      'La meilleure solution, ce serait de rereunir les marchandises que
      je viens d'enumerer et d'envoyer un convoi en Ingouche pour les
      distribuer personnellement aux malheureux. Nous devons surmonter
      ensemble cette horrible epreuve. Obligatoirement ensemble. C'est une
      question de principe. C'est n'est qu'a cette condition que nous
      pourrons tous avancer vers l'avenir, comme des etres civilises et
      non comme des loups traques et feroces dans un monde ou la bonte n'a
      plus sa place.

      Une derniere chose: malgre leur calvaire, les refugies tchetchenes
      en Ingouche revent de conserver leur humanite. Ils ont besoin de
      notre side materielle, mais aussi de notre soutien spirituel. Ou
      sont les artistes de notre grand pays? Les chanteurs? Les musiciens?
      Les comediens? Ou sont Robert De Niro (souvez-vous de sa tournee
      dans les camps des Balkans) qui viendraient tendre la main a ces
      malheureux?'
      (November 1999, trans. Ackerman/Lorrain)

      'The best thing would be not only to collect the above-mentioned
      items, but also to hire and equip a convoy of trucks to drive to
      Ingushetia and hand out these goods ourselves. Where is our fellow
      feeling? If you want to know what is needed today in which camp, and
      its exact location, ring the author on her pager (232-0000,
      #49883).We must get the better of this appalling misfortune. And we
      must do so together. The last consideration is the most important of
      all, because we will only remain united in future if we act together
      now. Otherwise we shall become so many wild and hunted wolves each
      retreating to hide in its lair.

      The refugees in Ingushetia are suffering inhumand deprivation.
      Despite everything, though, they dream of remaining human beings.
      They need not only our practical help but also our moral support.
      Where are all the actors of our great country? Where are its
      singers, musicians, performers and satirists? Don't tell me they're
      all too busy with the Ukrainian elections. Where are our own de
      Niros (remember how he flew to the refugees in the Balkans) who are
      trying to reach out to these people?'
      (November 199, trans. Crowfoot)

      'There were two schools of truth 1) the French school (Descartes)
      where truth is a question of some fundamental intellectual intuition
      from which the rest is rigorously deduced. 2) The English school
      (Hobbes) according to which truth is always induced from something
      else, interpreted from sensory indices. In a word, deduction....But
      never the twain shall meet: they're the motors of two different
      series (they could never meet without one one of them looking
      ridiculous; cf. Leblanc's attempt to put Arsene Lapin together with
      Sherlock Holmes.'
      (Deleuze G, The Philosophy of Crime Novels, in Desert Islands and
      Other Texts, Semiotexte, Foreign Agent Series (2004) pp. 81-85)

      --- In chechnya-sl@yahoogroups.com, "mariuslab2002" <mariuslab@...>
      wrote:
      >
      > A Death in Moscow
      >
      > By ANDREW MEIER
      > Published: July 1, 2007
      >
      > History, sadly, is on Anna Politkovskaya's side. Last Oct. 7,
      > Politkovskaya, a reporter for Novaya Gazeta, one of Moscow's
      smallest
      > but most daring newspapers, was murdered. A 48-year-old who was
      about
      > to become a grandmother, she had gained fame in the West, and
      infamy
      > at home, for her writings on the war in Chechnya. Politkovskaya
      fell
      > in an all-too-common post-Soviet fashion: three bullets to the
      chest,
      > one "control shot" to the head. Within days, Vladimir Putin
      reassured
      > the West that Politkovskaya, the 13th journalist killed during his
      > reign, had "minimal" influence. She was, he said, "known among
      > journalists and in human rights circles and in the West, but I
      repeat
      > that she had no influence on political life. Her murder causes much
      > more harm than her publications did."
      > Skip to next paragraph
      > Sutton-Hibbert / Rex USA
      >
      > Anna Politkovskaya
      > A RUSSIAN DIARY
      > A Journalist's Final Account of Life, Corruption, and Death in
      Putin's
      > Russia.
      >
      > By Anna Politkovskaya. Translated by Arch Tait.
      >
      > 369 pp. Random House. $25.95.
      > Related
      > First Chapter: `A Russian Diary' (July 1, 2007)
      >
      > Putin was callous, but right. Since 1999, with the Kremlin's second
      > attempt to pacify Chechnya, Politkovskaya had braved the killing
      > fields as much as any journalist. The result was a scathing
      trilogy of
      > books, published abroad. At home, her articles brought trials —
      > including the conviction of Russian soldiers for abuse. She
      herself,
      > however, was likely to agree with Putin about her influence. Midway
      > through "A Russian Diary," Politkovskaya describes a scene caught
      on
      > videotape, a surrender of Chechen fighters that ended in
      a "mountain
      > of corpses" by a railway track. "What happened when the frames from
      > this record of our own Abu Ghraib were published?" she
      asks. "Nothing.
      > Nobody turned a hair, neither the public, nor the media, nor the
      > procurator's office. Many foreign journalists borrowed the video
      from
      > me," but "in Russia there was silence."
      >
      > Her diary, which covers the period from December 2003 to August
      2005,
      > is billed as an "intimate" memoir, though it is anything but.
      > Politkovskaya has no interest in retailing heroism. Oddly, for a
      > journalist who never feared writing in the first person, she
      recedes
      > here — even when she had a starring role in the events she is
      > describing. Replaying the siege at Beslan, for example, when more
      than
      > 1,100 school children and adults were held hostage in 2004,
      > Politkovskaya manages to discuss media censorship during the crisis
      > without mentioning that she was its chief victim. In an ominous
      sign
      > of things to come, Politkovskaya fell ill after a midflight cup of
      > tea, as she tried, in vain, to get to the school. Modesty is not
      her
      > motive in cases like this one. She seems eerily moved by a desire
      to
      > leave a testament. Following a long tradition of Russian truth-
      tellers
      > — be it Pyotr Chaadayev in the 1830s or Solzhenitsyn in the 1970s —
      > she has recorded testimony not for domestic consumption, but for
      export.
      >
      > Russia under Putin, Politkovskaya believed, is a diseased state. In
      > this final work, she gives us a near-stenographic record of her
      > country's descent: the emergence of a petrostate fueled by rising
      oil
      > prices, as well as a willingness to sacrifice civil liberties along
      > with, when necessary, its own citizens. She has left us, at her
      best,
      > a C-Span reel of the dismemberment of the Russian body politic. The
      > set pieces read like an unfiltered newsfeed that reveals the
      greater
      > malaise: Putin at a Kremlin roundtable encircled by cowed former
      > dissidents (an unseemly display of mutual false admiration); the
      > meltdown of the liberal politician Grigory Yavlinsky (once the
      Great
      > Russian Hope of Westernizers in Moscow and of the Clinton
      > administration) and the rise of Ramzan Kadyrov, the "deranged" and
      > "virtually brain-dead" "lunatic" warlord Putin tapped to rule
      > Chechnya. There's also a reprise — running eight pages — of a Putin
      > telethon phone-in, his "virtual dialogue with the country" that has
      > become an annual fixture, the equivalent of a sweeps-season
      special on
      > state television.
      >
      > If Putin was unkind to Politkovskaya, her translator and editor
      have
      > done her few favors either. British expressions and (unexplained)
      > Russian references appear with regularity. Still, there is an
      > unexpected joy, too. Politkovskaya has given us, and her
      compatriots,
      > a gift — a new Russian journalism. Her insightful black humor will
      > come as a relief to readers of the weighty tomes that have charted
      the
      > Putin years. Thus, on the emasculation of the Parliament, she
      writes:
      > "Were we seeing a crisis in Russian parliamentary democracy in the
      > Putin era? No, we were witnessing its death." On Putin's selection
      of
      > a potato-faced unknown, late of the Tax Police, to head his
      > government: "A prime minister as clueless as this is, even for us,
      > quite unusual." On the ineptitude of the army: "Our system of
      defense
      > is as virtual as Putin, created purely to make a show of fighting,
      but
      > not actually to fight." On Chechnya and its legacy: "First the
      Kremlin
      > tried to show the Chechens that resistance to Putin was useless.
      That
      > more or less worked; most of them gave up. Then it was the turn of
      the
      > rest of Russia."
      >
      > Her merciless wit can reveal essential political truths. She
      skewers
      > the feeble liberal opposition, the "democrats," with such
      regularity
      > that when their electoral failure comes, it's a train wreck long
      > foretold: "The average life expectancy in Russia is 58 years and
      six
      > months. Why not make the main plank in your election platform a
      demand
      > to let people live at least to 70!" And on the inevitable demise of
      > Putinism she was, despite it all, an optimist: "Today's FSB" — the
      > security service — "also seriously distorts information going
      > upstairs, but Putin distrusts all other sources. The aorta will
      duly
      > be blocked again. Let's hope we don't have to wait 70 years this
      time."
      >
      > Politkovskaya's first job in journalism, envious colleagues
      snickered,
      > was in the Otdel pisem — the letters department. True or not, she
      > reveled in her reputation. Politkovskaya practiced advocacy
      > journalism. For more than 20 years her beat remained the same. Her
      > subjects were the forsaken — frostbitten Russian conscripts,
      Chechen
      > refugees, orphans, prisoners, drug addicts, the ill, the infirm. In
      > short, in the age of Putin, the nation at large. Her writing made
      her
      > more than a reporter; when she died, she was a crisis mediator and
      > Russia's most prominent human rights advocate. Stacks of letters —
      > pleas for help — came daily. Politkovskaya fought for the victims —
      of
      > the state, of terror and of that Russian catchall, fate. Then she
      > joined them.
      >
      > Andrew Meier is the author of "Black Earth: A Journey Through
      Russia
      > After the Fall."
      >
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