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Baburova's Parents Speak, Baikal Law Contested, Church Restitution

Anastasia Baburova
Anastasia Baburova

Exclusive Interview: Baburova’s Parents Reflect On Loss Of Daughter

January 19 marks the first anniversary of the murders of journalist Anastasia Baburova and lawyer Stanislav Merkelov. In an interview with RFE/RL, Anastasia’s parents share memories of their daughter and speak about how their attitudes toward Russian politics and society have changed following her death.

“We were totally shocked by how fascism has taken hold in Russia," Eduard Baburov says. "We have the impression that the situation is no longer controllable and that the leadership can’t do anything about it. The ideology of Nazism and fascism has grown from the bottom to the very top and its representatives are in various state organs and in the State Duma.”

[read in Russian]

Medvedev Appealed To Save Baikal From Putin Law

Ecologists plan to appeal to President Dmitri Medvedev to overrule an act signed by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin that paves the way for the resumption of cellulose and paper production on the shores of Lake Baikal.

Marina Rikhvanova, a representative of Baikal Ecological Wave, tells RFE/RL that if paper production is resumed, an incineration plant would be built to burn waste from the production process, and it would release highly poisonous dioxins with harmful effects on wildlife and the local population.

Mikhail Grachev of the Russian Academy of Sciences tells RFE/RL that the production of bleached cellulose might also resume, despite a UNESCO ban. “I think such a decision would be a great political mistake, because it would bring us into conflict with the international community,” he says.

[read in Russian]

Concern Grows Over Restitution Of Church Property

Following the announcement of the return of Moscow's Novodevichi Monastery to the Russian Orthodox Church, the Church has produced a list of other churches and monasteries for restitution, a move that has drawn concern from both art historians and Church representatives.

Father Ioann Sviridov, chief editor of “Radio Sofia,” tells RFE/RL that the question of restitution of church property is a highly sensitive cultural issue that must not be rushed. “There are not many people within the Church’s leadership who understand art," he says. "Novodevichi Monastery is a heritage site with global significance. Here supervision by art historians is essential.”

Sviridov adds that plans for restitution are “based on personal relationships, and it seems to me that the public, including the religious community, has been left out.”

[read in Russian]