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Murders of Lawyer, Journalist Slammed as 'Political Killings'

Published: January 23, 2009 (Issue # 1442)



  • Mourners hold photographs of Stanislav Markelov (l) and Anastasia Baburova in central St. Petersburg on Tuesday.
    Photo: Alexander Belenky / The St. Petersburg Times

More than 150 people gathered in central St. Petersburg on Tuesday to mourn lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova, who were murdered in Moscow on Monday, and protest against political killings.

Markelov was known for taking on human rights cases and defending left-wing and anti-Nazi activists, while Baburova was also an anarchist and anti-Nazi activist, so a plan for mourners to gather by Bukvoyed book store on Ligovsky Prospekt was quickly hatched on leftist and activist e-mail and Internet forums late Monday, just hours after the two were murdered.

The site near the book store was chosen because anti-Nazi activist and musician Timur Kacharava was stabbed to death there by a group of neo-Nazis in 2005. Vigils are held there every Nov. 13 to commemorate the day Kacharava was killed.

From there, mourners planned to march to Marsovo Pole (the Field of Mars), the park where victims of the 1917 Russian revolutions and Civil War are buried, and hold a vigil near the eternal flame monument.

Although information about the event was distributed only via the Internet and word of mouth, dozens of mourners turned up, from young punks, anarchists and left-wing activists to older human rights activists and sympathizers.

By the announced time of 7 p.m. the police were already on the site, with several police vehicles parked next to Bukvoyed. Three young people were reportedly detained at an early point in the gathering.

People held flowers, candles and portraits of Markelov and Baburova at the site. But when the mourners tried to move toward Nevsky Prospekt, the citys main street, at 7:25 p.m, they were blocked by policemen. A policeman with a megaphone warned the mourners that they were blocking the movement of pedestrians on Ligovsky Prospekt and demanded that they leave the site one by one and go home.

Some protesters replied that it was the police themselves who were blocking the movement of pedestrians. The policemen formed lines on both sides of the gathering, ready to act.

However, after 15 minutes of negotiations, mourners were allowed by a police colonel in command to walk along the side streets to Marsovo Pole rather than along Nevsky. They were allowed to carry flowers, but not candles or portraits. An estimated 65 people walked, accompanied by four police vehicles, to Marsovo Pole, while some used city buses to get to the site. Some activists distributed leaflets as they walked.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Oct. 30


Dental-Expo St. Petersburg 2014 concludes today at Lenexpo. Welcoming specialists from throughout the federation, the forum is an opportunity for dentists to share tricks of the trade and peruse the most recent innovations in technology and equipment, with over 100 companies hocking their wares at the event.



Friday, Oct. 31


Put your grammar and logical thinking to the test in a fun and friendly environment during the British Book Centers Board Game Evening starting at 5 p.m. today. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.



Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at todays Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nations premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the citys elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolans latest film Mommy at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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