Four Year Anniversary of Politkovskaya Murder
Four year ago today, Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya was shot while entering the elevator in the Moscow apartment building where she lived. The person suspected of shooting her is still at large.
Anna Politkovskaya was an investigative Russian journalist, who was sharply critical of Russia’s strongman Vladimir Putin and his policies in Chechnya. Since 1999, she wrote continuously about human rights abuses in Chechnya. She was gunned down in the stairwell of her central Moscow apartment on October 7, 2006, in an apparent contract killing. Since then, in Russia, more journalists and human rights defenders have been killed. Others have faced threats.
No one has yet been brought to justice for the crime, and the authorities have failed to identify the mastermind behind the murder. Lawyers representing the Politkovskaya family fear that there is a lack of will on the part of the authorities to vigorously investigate the case.
Dmitry Muratov, the editor-in-chief of Russia’s opposition newspaper, Novaya Gazeta said on October 6 that the will to solve the murder of Anna Politkovskaya was lacking; this on the eve of the fourth anniversary of her death. He said that the inquiry is proceeding far too slowly.
On the other hand, Novaya Gazeta complained that no street in the Russian capital has been named after the dead journalist; something that has been done in many other societies in the West.
On October 6, activists from Reporters Without Borders and Amnesty International gathered near the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the capital of France, to commemorate Anna Politkovskaya. They held a giant French-language poster reading, “Russia, Freedom Murdered.”
Philip J. Crowley, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Public Affairs of the USA published an official statement. He wrote that “October 7th marks the fourth anniversary of the murder of Anna Politkovskaya, a highly respected investigative journalist. Politkovskaya devoted much of her career to shining a light on human rights abuses and unmasking the misery of war, especially in Chechnya. She stood for what is best in independent journalism by giving a voice to victims and illuminating the truth.
Four years have passed since her murder, yet those responsible have yet to be brought to justice. We welcome the recent announcement by Russian officials that the criminal investigation into Ms. Politkovskaya’s case will be reenergized and that 19 unsolved cases of murdered journalists will be re-opened. The U.S. will continue to focus attention on Ms. Politkovskaya’s case, the case of Paul Klebnikov, the murdered editor of Forbes’ Russian edition, as well as the cases of all the other brave journalists who have been killed in Russia.”
Politkovskaya’s friends will hold an annual rally in her memory on the fourth anniversary of her death on today at 4:03 pm (12:03 GMT) at the Chistiye Prudy Park in central Moscow. The demonstration was organized by her colleagues from Novaya Gazeta; Memorial and other human rights organizations.
“It is just a little commemoration with friends and colleagues. The authorities have sanctioned it so there won’t be violent reprisals,” Human Rights Watch Russia deputy director Tanya Lokshina told The Moscow News.
*Text was written by Waynakh Online and edited by Michael Capobianco