Staunton, Nov. 20 – Ruslan Linkov, a personal assistant to Galina Starovoitova who was seriously wounded in the attack that killed her 25 years ago this week, says she was murdered because of her principled commitment to democracy, something Russian prosecutors have been unwilling to focus on and therefore have not yet solved the case.
He argues that the investigation into Starovoitova’s 1998 murder, the longest such investigation in Russian history except for that into the Bolshevik murder of Nicholas II and the the Imperial Family, has not ended because the Russian government doesn’t want to admit she was killed for her democratic views (spektr.press/o-galine-starovojtovoj-ruslan-linkov/).
Russian authoritarians, Linkov says, hated Starovoitova because in their view, she didn’t think about ethnic Russians but instead focused on ethnic minorities like Jews, Armenians and Tatars. That attitude is reflected among most of those who have been involved in the long-running investigation into her death.
The authorities have arrested some of those immediately involved and seek the arrest of others as well, but they have not gone after those behind the actions of these “executors.” And so, 25 years on, the best one can say is that “the investigation at present still continues,” the former Starovoitova secretary says.
According to Linkov, those behind the killing were proud to identify themselves with the reactionary anti-Semitic views of the Black Hundreds at the end of the tsarist period. Some of them even proudly called themselves just that. But investigators into Starovoitova’s murder have ignored this.
To be sure, he says, the authorities have admitted that those behind the murder wanted to get Starovoitova out of the way; but they haven’t been at all willing to address precisely why and what those who arranged for her murder actually thought. To do so, apparently, would be too risky for them even now.
Starovoitova’s principled commitment to democracy and human rights put her at odds not only with these people but with a broader swath of Russians who didn’t want to rock the boat or put their own positions at risk. Avoiding any discussion of that is why the authorities won’t focus on the real causes of her death, Linkov concludes.