Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 217

Ludmila Alekseeva, a veteran Soviet-era human rights campaigner, also noted that Starovoitova had spoken out in the Duma about Makashov’s remarks, and about the death of Larisa Yudina, a reporter murdered last summer while investigating alleged corruption by surrounding Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, president of Kalmykia. Starovoitova, Alekseeva said, disturbed “communists and nationalists and even those who are formally included among the democrats.” She said the motive for the murder may have been “the desire of certain Russian politicians to divert attention away from themselves… toward another subject.” Alekseeva also reported that Starovoitova had information on who was behind the murder last year of St. Petersburg Deputy Mayor Mikhail Manevich (Russian agencies, November 22). “Moskovsky komsomlets” today included among its various theories for the Starovoitova murder the possibility that some of her “partners” (the newspaper’s quotes) in the democratic camp had her killed, in essence, to create a martyr and win back lost popularity (Moskovsky komsomolets, November 23).

Galina Starovoitova was a veteran human rights activist who during the perestroika era helped create, along with Andrei Sakharov, the Inter-Regional Group of liberal deputies in the Soviet-era parliament. She later served as President Boris Yeltsin’s adviser on nationalities, but broke with him over the war in Chechnya. Over the weekend, politicians from across the political spectrum–including former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov and Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze–paid tribute to her. Meanwhile, in St. Petersburg, Democratic Russia, the “Soglasye” bloc and Grigory Yavlinsky’s Yabloko signed a joint statement setting up a “Citizens Front Against Crime,” with the aim of unifying their electoral efforts ahead of the December 6 vote (Russian agencies, November 22).