Russians remember dead journalists


Russian journalists lit candles today and read a roll-call of more than 200 colleagues who have died violently since the fall of the Soviet Union at a rally heavy with criticism of President Vladimir Putin.

Holding photographs of murdered reporters such as Anna Politkovskaya and Paul Klebnikov, two of 211 journalists killed in Russia in the past 15 years, supporters accused authorities of not doing enough to track down the assassins.

About 250 journalists and supporters rallied in a central Moscow square under writer Alexander Pushkin's statue, hemmed in by hundreds of police.

"When journalists are killed and the authorities do not find their killers it means that the authorities do not want people to know the truth," said Alexei Yablokov, an academic.

"Such a country is going nowhere, has no future and is going towards fascism. That is why I am here: I do not want my Russia to become a fascist country."

"Who ordered the murder of Anna Politkovskaya?" asked one placard. Politkovskaya, a journalist known for her opposition to Kremlin policies on Chechnya, was killed on October 7th outside her central Moscow apartment. Another read: "Anna Politkovskaya - the country's conscience."

The Russian Union of Journalists says 211 journalists have been killed in Russia since 1992. Of those, 109 were killed while former president Boris Yeltsin was in power and 102 have been killed in Putin's six years in power.

Some were killed in car accidents but most were murdered.