The Chechen leader of a children's charity and her husband were found shot dead today, the latest victims in a string of murders of human rights activists and journalists in the troubled Russian republic of Chechnya. Zarema Sadulayeva and husband Alik Dzhabrailov were kidnapped from the offices of Save the Generation, an NGO led by Sadulayeva dedicated to helping children suffering the effects of the devastating wars in Chechnya. The bodies of the couple were later found in the trunk of their own car.
Chechen leader and Kremlin comrade Ramzan Kadyrov denounced the killings, blaming them on a faction looking to destabilize and divide Chechen society. This tone of condemnation was a very different sentiment from the one Kadyrov recently leveled against Natalya Estemirova, human rights activist and journalist killed in Chechnya in July. In comments from an interview with Radio Free Liberty, Kadyrov claims Estemirova "never had any honor or sense of shame" and also rather crassly denied any role in her murder -- "Why would Kadyrov kill women that no one needs?"
Human rights organizations have called on the Russian government to stop the murders, and to staunch what Amnesty International called the "complete disregard for rule of law that prevails in Chechnya today." Kadyrov's response to these kinds of accusations, in a fashion popular among Russian politicians, was to change the subject to the open wound of the 2008 Russian-Georgian War in South Ossetia and blame America: "Human rights are violated all over the world. America pressures absolutely everyone. And no one says anything about it. Take South Ossetia. The Americans snuck in there at night, shot up the entire population, and left. And everyone's silent about it."
Mssrs. Kadyrov, Putin, and Medvedev: How many more need to be killed in Chechnya before that silence is broken? And who is left to break the silence? NPR reports that a major Russian radio station, Ekho Moskvy, tried to contact other human rights activists in Chechnya for their comments on the story, with no luck: ""We looked down our list and next to almost every name is the word 'died,' 'died,' 'died."'