Anna Politkovskaya

(1958-2006) – Journalist and Human Rights Activist

Anna Politkovskaya was a Russian journalist and human rights activist who reported on political events in Russia, in particular on the Second Chechen War (1999–2005). For seven years she refused to give up reporting on the war, despite numerous acts of intimidation and violence. She was arrested by Russian military forces in Chechnya and subjected to a mock execution. She was poisoned whilst flying from Moscow to help resolve the 2004 Beslan school hostage crisis, and had to turn back, requiring careful medical treatment in Moscow to restore her health. Russian readers’ main access to her investigations and publications was through Novaya Gazeta, a Russian newspaper that featured critical investigative coverage of Russian political and social affairs which was closed in March 2022 due to increased government censorship around the war in Ukraine. From 2000 onwards, she received numerous international awards for her work. In 2004, she published Putin’s Russia, a personal account of Russia for a Western readership. On 7 October 2006, she was murdered in the elevator of her block of flats, an assassination that attracted international attention. In June 2014, five men were sentenced to prison for the murder, but it is still unclear who ordered or paid for the contract killing. A film about her life is currently being produced, starring Maxine Peake. 

Sarah Sanders

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