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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: La conscience de la presse russe assassinée

by C.B.

The conscience of the Russian media is murdered

Translated Wednesday 11 October 2006

Russia. The journalist, Anna Politkovskaya, famous for having criticized the policy of the Russian government in Chechnya and for her opposition to Vladimir Putin, was shot last Saturday.

Angry and widespread reactions and demands for an inquest have multiplied since the discovery, on Saturday & October, in her Moscow apartment building, of the body of the Russian journalist, Anna Politkovskaya. Aged 48, this opponent to the regime of Vladimir Putin, was well known for her critical coverage of the situation in Chechnya. Since the launching in 1999 of the second war on Chechnya by the Kremlin, she was one of the few journalists to go there on a regular basis. Her news stories on the violations of human rights by the Russian army and their Chechen allies, published in the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta, completely contradicted the official propaganda which praised the “normalization” of the situation on the ground.

Moreover, she wrote “Small Corner of Hell: Dispatches from Chechnya”, a 2003 book that contributed greatly to disseminating the knowledge of the Chechen situation throughout the world. The book won many prizes and international fame for its author. The day she was murdered, Politkovskaya, was working on the final draft of an article, illustrated with photos, on the torture perpetrated by the pro-Russian Chechen authorities of Ramzan Kadyrov.

“What comes immediately to mind is that Anna had many enemies”, commented the director of the Russian Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). The weapon used in the shooting of Anna Politkovskaya was found next to the body of the journalist. This seems to point to the work of a hired killer, but questions remain as to who ordered the killing: “It could have been Ramzam Kadyrov committing revenge, or of those who wanted the point the finger of blame on him”, according to Novaya Gazeta. Politkoskaya does not seem to have received threats recently. But in 2004, she accused the Russian authorities of having tried to poison her, while she was about to leave to cover the hostage-taking at the school in Beslan (2).

[Translator’s notes]

(1) Anna Politkovskaya was murdered on 7th October 2006. Interested readers can find background at the following address: wikipedia.org/wiki/Anna_Politkovskaya

(2) 331 residents of North Ossetia, including 186 children and 145 adults were killed in Beslan in September 2004


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