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Ten years without Anna Politkovskaya

7 October marks the 10th anniversary of the murder of Anna Politkovskaya, an independent Russian journalist.

Ms Politkovskaya was the author of many reportage pieces on the war in Chechnya. On many occasions, she brought to light human rights violations in the region of the conflict and informed the public about killings of civilians, war crimes cover-ups and kidnappings, openly accusing Russian authorities of committing the atrocities.

As a journalist of the Novaya Gazeta, an opposition newspaper, she criticised the authoritarian policies of Vladimir Putin, which were the subject of her book, “Putin’s Russia”, released in 2005. Her uncompromising attitude and involvement in human rights advocacy won her recognition in Russia and abroad. In 2003 she received the OSCE Prize for Journalism and Democracy “for her courageous professional work in support of human rights and freedom of the media”.

On 7 October 2006, she was found shot dead in an elevator in the apartment building where she lived. For many years, her murder remained partially unsolved and even now the case poses a number of unanswered questions.

Although direct perpetrators of the killing, members of a Chechen criminal organisation, received prison sentences, it has not been explained who contracted Politkovskaya’s assassination. According to a theory, the killing of Anna Politkovskaya, committed on Vladimir Putin’s birthday, was supposed to be “a present” for the Russian political leader.  Another theory is that the date of the murder of Ms Politkovskaya, a vehement critic of Russian authorities, was purposefully selected in an attempt to damage the Kremlin’s image and present Russia as a bloody regime. Vladimir Putin argues that the latter theory is true, saying that Politkovskaya’s killing did “much greater damage to Russia than her publications ever did”.

On the tenth anniversary of Anna Politkovskaya’s murder, the international organisation Reporters Without Borders organised a meeting commemorating the journalist. The meeting, which took place in Paris, included a roundtable event devoted to a discussion on the freedom of speech in the contemporary Russia and was attended by HFHR’s lawyer Małgorzata Szuleka. To find out more about the event, follow this link.


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