| The Russian Democratic Party "YABLOKO" expresses
its condolences to the family and friends of journalist Paul Khlebnikov
who was murdered by contract killers in Moscow.
We demand a rapid and effective investigation of this crime by the authorities
and that its executors and people behind the attack be found and punished.
True professional journalists such as Paul Khlebnikov, regardless of
their citizenship, represent our civil society. Their work allows Russian
citizens to learn the truth about developments in the country, obtain
an objective evaluation of people and events and draw their own conclusions,
instead of having them imposed in different forms of propaganda.
Work in Russia has always been difficult and dangerous for such journalists.
Recently, however, the danger does not come only from criminals and corrupt
officials. Journalists are exposed to impudent pressure by the authorities.
In circumstances where the publication of an article in the press about
corruption in the top echelons of power receives no proper response and
where the independent mass media and journalists are actually treated
as enemies of the state, criminals feel more and more free to take actions
against journalists that will go unpunished.
This practice should be brought to an end. Otherwise all conversations
on the prospects for democracy in Russia, the opportunities for qualitative
growth of the Russian economy, a favorable investment climate and the
welfare of most citizens in the country are pointless.
We are counting on honest professionals in the Russian law and enforcement
agencies, who consider their work not to be a fight against political
opponents of the authorities, but rather the need to get to the truth
and protect the interests of society. The discovery and punishment of
the people behind the murder of Paul Khlebnikov certainly represent such
Chairman of YABLOKO party
of Speech and Media Law in Russia