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The murder of Anna Politkovskaïa

Saturday 7 October 2006

Today, at around 4:30pm, a police officer found the dead body of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaïa. She was shot in her elevator, in cold blood. Some bullets and a gun were found near the crime scene... and we know well enough that these clues will lead to nothing.

Anna Politkovskaïa was a very "dissident" journalist in Poutine’s Russia. She had written several articles and a few books denouncing the attitude of the Russian army in Chechnya. Her own attitude was one of humanism. She was shocked and outraged at the way the Russian army treated her own, often extremely young, recruits. She was horrified at the indignities that the entire Chechen population had to live through. She was appalled by the human rights violations and by the arbitrary arrests and disappearances.

Mostly though, she was angry at the rest of the West for keeping quiet. The silence of the governments in Europe, the USA and the rest of the world gave a legitimacy to the Russian military actions which proved murderous in itself.
Ms Politkovskaïa had received numerous death threats and - when she attacked a police officer in court - had to flea to Vienna where she spent some time. Now, I regret that she ever came back to Russia. Voices like hers are lacking in the Russian Federation and surprise surprise, when they are overly heard, they are summarily quietened. A link between the government of Russia and the death of a "denouncing" journalist will never be proved. People will say that the link is so obvious that it could not be. However, Anna once sufferred from severe food poisoning after drinking tea on a flight. She has received many death threats and her daughter was attacked last year - she managed to escape, thankfully.

She will be missed here and around the world. I hope she will be missed in Russia too...

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