10/08/2016, 18.21
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Colleagues and friends remember Anna Politkovskaya, with compassion as her “driving force”

by Nina Achmatova

On the 10th anniversary of her assassination, fewer Russians remember. Still, for many, she remains a role model who criticised Kadyrov and Putin. Lana Estemirova, daughter of Natalia Estemirova, Anna’s activist friend killed in the Caucasus in 2009, remembers the slain journalist.

Moscow (AsiaNews) – Ten years after the murder of journalist Anna Politkovskaya, more media professionals and foreign diplomats than ordinary Russians took part in yesterday’s memorial organised by her newspaper, Novaya Gazeta, in front of its headquarters.

Fewer and fewer Russians remember her since that fateful day in 2006, when she was making her way home with shopping bags, the investigative journalist was killed by gunshots in her own building, something noted by activists and colleagues who attended the ceremony.

Posters of Ania, as her friends affectionately called her, plaster the windows of Novaya Gazeta’s building in central Moscow. The paper’s deputy editor-in-chief Sergei Sokolov, along with representatives of the European Union and the United States, read messages about the importance and the risk of independent journalism in Russia. The slain journalist’s children, Ilya and Vera, mother and sister were also present.

Ten years of investigations and three trials six men, including organisers and killers, were convicted, but the name of their instigator was never mentioned.

For this reason, the Novaya Gazeta released a three-minute video showing her silent colleagues holding posters with the main facts of the murder investigation, calling on the justice system to find the instigators of the murder.

"The case is still open," says one poster in the video, which also includes Ilya Politkovsky. In its own independent investigation, Novaya Gazeta says that the new head of the investigation is "doing nothing" to complete the inquiry.

The now former spokesman for the Russian Investigative Committee, Vladimir Markin, in his book The best known crimes in the 21st century in Russia, writes that the order to kill the journalist may have come from London, from oligarch and Putin enemy Boris Berezovsky, who fled to Britain where he was found dead in 2013, under suspicious circumstances.

Politkovskaya’s family and her colleagues find the official version implausible. For many, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov remains the main suspect. Anna Politkovskaya had strongly criticised him for his violent and authoritarian methods. Before her death, the journalist was preparing an article on the systematic use of torture in Chechnya. She also did not mince her words vis-à-vis Vladimir Putin.

“Putin,” she wrote, “having accidentally received enormous power into his hands, administered it to catastrophic consequences for Russia. And I do not like him, because he does not like people. He can’t stand us. He despises us. He believes that we are a means him only, a means to achieve his own personal power goals.”

Perhaps the most beautiful thought about the journalist can be found on the pages of The Guardian, written Lana Estemirova, daughter of Natalia Estemirova, a human rights activist with the Russian human rights organisation Memorial who was abducted and found dead in Ingushetia, in 2009. The two women were close friends.

Lana said that she dreamt of becoming a journalist to follow Politkovskaya’s example. “I would add that what really makes a great journalist is compassion. It was Anna’s driving force, her superpower. Compassion made her spend hours in the freezing cold, delivering water for hostages in Dubrovka. Compassion was the reason Anna jumped on the first plane to Beslan to report on the deadly school siege” [. . .]. She was fierce, stubborn and strong. She was unstoppable until the end.”

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