Commentary, Politics and Current Events

Anna Politkovskaya killed in Moscow

Anna Politkovskaya from ReutersAnna Politkovskaya was found shot dead in her Moscow apartment on Saturday. Politkovskaya was a journalist and longtime critic of the the Russian government, particularly with regard to its policies in Chechnya. She was a special correspondent for the liberal Moscow newspaper Novaya gazeta.
The New York Times reported that Vitaly Yaroshevsky, the deputy editor of Novaya gazeta, said that “Ms. Politkovskaya had been at work on Saturday finishing an article for the Monday paper about torturers in the government of Ramzan A. Kadyrov, the pro-Kremlin premier of Chechnya.” Yaroshevsky noted, according to the Times, that “a Makarov 9-millimeter pistol had been dropped at her side, the signature of a contract killing.”
Since 1999 Politkovskaya had written many stories about the war in Chechnya, chronicling the killings, abuse, and torture of civilians in Chechnya by Russian soldiers. She was likewise strongly critical of the brutal tactics of the Chechen rebels. An obituary in the Economist catalogs her criticism:

She loathed those responsible for the war: the warlords who had misruled Chechnya during its brief spells of semi-independence, the Islamic extremists who exploited the conflict, the Russian goons and generals, and their local collaborators. She particularly despised the Chechen government installed by Russia, for what she termed their massive looting of reconstruction money, backed up by kidnapping. The worst effect of the Chechen wars, she reckoned, was the corrosion of Russia itself.

book jacketIn 2003, we published Politikovskaya’s second book on the Chechen War, A Small Corner of Hell: Dispatches from Chechnya. The book offers an insider’s view of life in Chechnya since 1999. In this book, as in all her journalism, Politkovskaya centered her stories on the people caught in the crossfire of conflict. The book recounts the horrors of living in the midst of the war, examines how the war has affected Russian society, and takes a hard look at how people on both sides profited from it.
We have an excerpt from the book, an article titled “Russia’s Secret Heroes.”