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Anna Politkovskaya was an outstanding woman, devoted writer, and Human Rights activist. On October 7th 2006, a group of cowards assassinated her because they were afraid to face the truth. She was murdered because she exposed the crimes of the Russian government. Throughout the years Politkovskaya had been tracked down, followed, and investigated but that did not discourage her. Even after several failed assassination attempts, she kept going because she knew that she possessed a gift that was no match for the Russian government. She had the gift of writing, and wrote about the facts. Anna revealed the secrets that government tried kept hidden, and exposed their evil deeds. Even though her life was at stake she never gave up, she knew that it was her duty to keep the world informed. The world will never forget her. We salute Anna Politkovskaya.

Eagle / www.JusticeForNorthCaucasus.Com Updated October 9th 2006

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MARCH 2005

Fears grow over Putin's control of Russian media

posted by Justice For North Caucasus - Anna Politkovskaya. on March, 2005 as Anna Politkovskaya

Fears grow over Putin's control of Russian media
Reporter: Emma Griffiths
TONY JONES: To Russia, where political control of the media has been a growing concern ever since President Vladimir Putin came to power five years ago.

But after the tragic school siege in Beslan last month, there are fears that government control is reaching a new extreme.

Some journalists were detained.

Some suspect they were even drugged to prevent them from reaching the North Ossetian town to report on the crisis.

Analysts say it's a disturbing sign that Putin's Russia is moving closer to an authoritarian state and even the EU has said it fears Russia is "backsliding on democracy".

From Moscow, Emma Griffiths reports.

EMMA GRIFFITHS: Anna Politkovskaya is a journalist at the respected Moscow daily Novaya Gazeta.

A frequent Kremlin critic, especially in relation to its policies in Chechnya, she's been targeted by authorities before, but never like during the Beslan school siege.

On her flight to the north Ossetian town, doctors believe she was drugged when airline attendants were serving drinks.

ANNA POLITKOVSKAYA, JOURNALIST: TRANSLATION: The very first cup of tea completely incapacitated me.

I lost consciousness practically straight away and woke up later in hospital.

EMMA GRIFFITHS: And Anna Politkovskaya wasn't the only media victim.

The editor of competing newspaper Isvestia was sacked after he devoted the paper's entire front page to the massacre.

The owners apparently judged it too emotional.
Others had to contend with what appears to be deliberate misinformation - something one Russian journalist tried to uncover, asking the local security chief if he could correct any of the media's reporting.

But the question was merely brushed aside.

VALERY ANDREIV, FEDERAL SECURITY SERVICE: TRANSLATION: As soon as we get additional information, more clear and precise, we will inform you.

EMMA GRIFFITHS: Analysts fear the Russian media is headed back to its Soviet past, delivering more propaganda than facts.

ALEKSEI MALASHENKO, POLITICAL ANALYST: I think that in several months and several years, we'll deal with a real very strong, very powerful authoritarian regime.

EMMA GRIFFITHS: Vladimir Putin is now more than ever living to up his reputation as an autocratic leader.

In response to the Beslan siege, he's announced changes to the political system.

Leaders of Russia's 89 regions will now be appointed by the President rather than elected.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT: TRANSLATION: It is clear that a unity of actions of the entire executive protocol must be ensured here unconditionally.

EMMA GRIFFITHS: Vladimir Putin's popularity is at its lowest since the Kursk submarine sank four years ago.

It's still a hefty 66 per cent, but the Beslan siege has forced him to act and the measures he's put in motion has so far been largely welcomed by the Russian public.

Such is his popularity and power that some have already begun to speculate that Vladimir Putin will be President for longer than the permitted eight years, suggesting he'll change the constitution to stay in charge.

Emma Griffiths, Lateline.

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