Anniversary of Anna Politkosvkaya’s murder: work environment grim for journalists in Russia
On October 7th, 2006, “Novaya Gazeta” journalist Anna Politkovskaya has been shot dead in her own apartment complex in what was alleged to be a contract killing linked to her journalistic investigations of human rights abuse in Chechnya. While Russian investigators claim they have singled out the executers of Politkovskaya's murder, people who ordered her murder still remain unknown. Meanwhile, work conditions for journalists in Russia remain dangerous with many journalists going missing or killed for their work.
The International Press Institute (IPI), the global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in over 120 countries, reiterates its call for justice in the murder of Anna Politkovskaya, a renowned Russian journalist assassinated two years ago. Although charges have been made against the individuals believed to have carried out the murder, those responsible for ordering her killing are still at large.
On 13 May 2008, Rustam Makhmudov, an ethnic Chechen, was charged in absentia with Politkovskaya’s murder. Russian authorities, believing that Makhmudov has fled to Western Europe, issued an international warrant for his arrest. Legal proceedings have also been initiated against three other individuals thought to have been involved in the killing, namely Dzhabrail and Ibragim Makhmudov – both brothers of Rustam Makhmudov – and Sergei Khadzhikurbanov, a former operative from Moscow City Police Department’s anti-organised crime unit.
Politkovskaya was murdered on the birthday of then-President Vladimir Putin, whom she criticized fiercely in many of her articles.
After her death, the Russian authorities came under intense fire from the international media and human rights groups.
The authorities have fired back, with an Investigative Committee official accusing exiled tycoon Boris Berezovsky of being behind the murder. Berezovsky has denied any involvement.
"With four journalists murdered this year alone, Russia continues to be one of the most dangerous countries in which to practice journalism," Dadge continued. "A clear signal must be sent that the murder of journalists will not be tolerated, and as IPI stated in an open letter to President Medvedev in May of this year, tackling Russia's many unsolved murdered-journalist cases would be a positive step in this direction."
The newspaper has called for a rally in memory of its special correspondant near Pushkin Square from 1.30 pm. A ceremony planned in St Petersburg has not been authorised by the authorities. At least two books have appeared in France paying tribute to her : “What have I done ?” by Anna Politkovskaya published by Buchet-Chastel, and “Russia. The other side of power” by Marie Mendras (Odile Jacob) dedicated to Politkovskaya.