Saturday, October 07, 2006

Anna Politkovskaya Murdered

According to Russian TV-news Vesti24, the famous Russian journalist and author, Anna Politkovskaya was shot down half an hour ago in her home in Moscow by a lone assailant. Politkovskaya was hit by four shots in the elevator of her Moscow apartment building and evidently died at once. The murderer has so far not been arrested.

Anna Politkovskaya was Russia's internationally most well-known journalist and was revered for her great courage in crititically reporting on developments in Russia. Her books on Russia's war in Chechnya were spread in various translations throughout the globe, but never published in Russia. Her last book, "Putin's Russia", attacks the societal climate that the Putin era has brought to the Russian people. Working as a journalist for the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta, Politkovskya stood on the forefront of regime critique. For years, Politkovskaya has had death-threats hanging over her head. Tragically, her brave posture and deeds have now resulted in her own death. Inevitably, she will stand out as a beacon of light in the history of journalism.


Anonymous said...

This is very sad news indeed. Politkovskaya was someone I respected very much, she was a woman with courage who dared to speak out and be critical and made every effort to show the other side of the war in Chechnya.

Why do I have the feeling we will never know who killed her or who was behind her killing...

J. Otto Pohl said...

This is horrible news. Her book on Chechnya showed a very great deal of courage. One wishes there were more people like her still alive.

Ibn ad Dunya said...

The most terrible kind of news. The bravery and care for her society that she showed is indeed not only a beacon of light and the best of examples for her Russian collegues, but for all journalists who strives towards making a difference in societies that is less than perfect.

A sad day, my thoughts is with her family, especially her children, but i´m also hopeful, and perhaps naivé in my hopes that someone in the pool of the new generation of journalists will carry on the task that she left unfinished.

Anonymous said...

Thank you. The last article, on Anna Politkovskaya, I wrote on my weblog (in Croatian)in between other resources was also based on the information provided here. I have been reading your weblog for quite a while and since the russophile blood runs in my veins I must sincerely commend the work done to provide quality information and comments on resent situation in that region.

Ralph Hälbig said...

On my blog you can find some links to the death of Politowskaja ...

Vilhelm Konnander said...

Dear friends,

Thank you for your comments.

As ib ad dunya writes, "my thoughts is with her family."

Still, we cannot remain silent. Anna did not, and what would be a more worthy commemoration of her deeds than to go on exercising our freedom of speech on developments in Russia and elsewhere?

As for bez komentara, thank you for your kind words on my writing. It is encouraging to know that someone enjoys it. I have been visiting your blog as well lately, but I am far too lazy to try to decipher Croatian, which I one of the Slavonic languages I regrettably do not command. However, I promise to make a new go at it.

Thanks, Rapho, for linking to my piece on Politkovskaya. I read your blog on a regular basis and greatly enjoy it. Keep up the good work!



Anonymous said...


Already, Russian nationalists are beginning to attack Politikvoskaya, saying she was dishonest and "deserved" what she got. The Accidental Russophile, for instance, has a post accusing her of making up facts -- the only source for this accusation given by the A.R. is a comment on the JRL by a rabid Russian nationlist, Kirill Pankratov, who cites no source material and was not published in any source.

What do you think is the best way of dealing with these slanderous attacks?

Vilhelm, why did you leave a comment on the A.R. blog without mentioning these allegatations, clearly disrespectful to her memory and as political as the killing itself? Shouldn't we find a way to protest these outrageous statements designed to justify the Kremlin's actions? Don't we owe it to Anna's memory?

Vilhelm Konnander said...

"De Mortui Nil Nisi Bene" - Nothing but good about the dead. This is universal and most Russians - as anyone would do - react with vehemence at people smearing the memory of the dead. Such attacks are self-defeating and - paradoxically - serve to show how right Anna Politkovskaya was. Thus, slander of the dead is better left with silence, as entering a discussion on the "pros & cons" of Politkovskaya would be unworthy. As for those who soil Anna's memory, there is only one thing to say: "Как вам не стыдно!" - You should be ashamed of yourself!

Unknown said...

Hardly any slander in the remarks that were made, only a passing mention of Anna Politkovskaya having critics and a link to an example.

"Anonymous" is just LR in cognito, she made a similar post everywhere she could. It is childish.

Russian Journalist Anna Politkovskaya Murdered on Streets of Moscow anyone who wishes, can read the article and citation to Johnson's Russia List and a letter by Dr. Kirill Pankratov, where he cites Izvestia.

If someone elses feels that I have damaged the memory of Anna Politkovskaya, they are welcome to comment and tell me so directly.

Anonymous said...

I am a high school student, I have studied a lot about Russian history, especially his movement from communism to a Democratic society. In Mexico we have had many events like this, but the government is not the oppressor. The drug dealers "mafia" are the ones who silent journalists.

Excellent blog, the next essay I have to write for school will be about a topic published in your blog. Also I will take the idea of Bez Komentara, I will start translating your blog to spanish. Please keep posting, because I will keep reading your posts.

Anonymous said...

Well6 she was a brave woman. But was she honest? I don't think so.

Anonymus said something about "Russian nationalist Kirill Pankratov". Read his article in question. I did. Can you prove that he is wrong? NOBODY can, because there are two Russian mothers whose children been murdered and Politkovskaya used this tragedy to create a story for 'The Newsweek'. She had no shame and no heart. But she was very brave, indeed!

Vilhelm Konnander said...

Myrthe: Your assumption that nobody will be tried for the murder is probably correct.
Otto: Her books were really important documents of our times. I only wish she had reported also from the first Chechen war, and that her books were published in Russia.
Ibn ad Dunya (son of the world): Our thoughts should indeed be equally with her family and the hopes that a new generation of independent Russian journalists will rise.
Bez komentara: I am flattered that you found my post interesting enough to serve as inspiration for your own writing.
Rapho: Thanks! I have had a look at them.
Anonymous (The Russophobe): This is not the time to enter debates on the memory of the recently deceased.
Wally: I read your post and can only agree with you. I can see no way that you have damaged the memory of Anna Politkovskaya. And yes, I know that "Anonymous" most often is LR, but I am not going to censor comments when LR actually makes a point. Acting as a "troll", LR - as everyone doing the same - will not get comments published.
A: My best wishes to a new Mexican reader. I blush with pride that you find my texts worthwhile to translate into Spanish. Best of luck!
NFB: What do you mean by honest? She was a journalist, and from what I experienced of her, she was a very honest journalist. When discussing things with her, she would often say that she did not know and therefore could not say. She reported on what she saw. Nothing else. That is as far as journalistic honesty goes. As for her morals, each and everyone of us is entitled to an opinion, but is this really the right time to soil Politkovskaya's memory?