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.
posted by Justice For North Caucasus - Anna Politkovskaya. on July, 2005 as Anna Politkovskaya
A Russian Reporter In Chechnya Anna Politkovskaya is a special correspondent for the bi-weekly Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta. Her reports from the southern Russian republic, Chechnya, have angered authorities.
Once detained by Russian troops herself in Chechnya, she has experienced the conflict both as a reporter and a victim. She talks to Outlook about her new book A Dirty War.
Anna Politkovskaya has made social issues her business. As a journalist she has reported on many subjects – from the fate of orphans to Russia’s defective judicial system.
Tired of the media image driven by the Russian government, Politkovskaya aims to keep the fate of Chechnya in the public eye. She presents the brutality from both sides when describing the abuses of the Chechen War whether due to the corruption of Post Communist Russia or the Russian authorities.
Her dispatches, from July 1999 to January 2001, tell a very different story to that told by the Moscow authorities.
Describing scenes of devastation, the words of desperate civilians who have lost everything scream from the pages. These reports are a moving testimony to the true costs of war.
A Dirty War
In 1996, at the end of the first Chechen war, there were hopes of a possible peace between the break-away republic and the Russian government. Hopes shattered by growing lawlessness and regional violence.
Then came bomb attacks on civilian targets in Russia; having blamed these on Chechen separatists, the Russian authorities launched a second Chechen war in October 1999.
Today Russian soldiers are continuing what they call an “anti-terrorist campaign” in Chechnya. The capital, Grozny, lies in ruins; the vast majority of the republic’s civilians are forced to live in appalling conditions.
Most of those injured or killed are innocent people caught up in what Politkovskaya has aptly called A Dirty War.
Truth Be Told
In order to write her despatches, Politkovskaya risked the dangers of a partisan war, of army checkpoints and Chechen kidnap gangs.
Finally, and most frighteningly, she was arrested, abused and threatened with death by some of the same soldiers she was investigating for atrocities. Her captors simply told her it was ‘time to pay’ for her reports on Chechnya.
But still Politkovskaya speaks out. Of her bravery and unquestionable drive she comments: Repeatedly returning to Chechnya, her articles have finally led to arrests. Meanwhile her own experiences have shaped her personal life – her husband left her unable to cope with her hunger to reveal the truth.
Unperturbed, Politkovskaya remains firm in her commitment, she comments:
‘I think it is good that I have had these experiences otherwise I would have lived with illusions. Because of Chechnya I accept the world as it is.’
The Reality Of War
Politkovskaya has recorded many harrowing accounts of torture, murder and loss. Writing in a British newspaper earlier this year she recalled how ‘some stories were so horrific that one’s hand refused to jot them down.’
Her reports of maltreatment carried out by Russian troops include details of people being beaten over the kidneys with full water bottles, of having their nails ripped out and of being detained in shallow dug outs or pits, only big enough to stand in, for days on end.
Such brutality Politkovskaya believes has now bred a culture of revenge, she explains:
‘During this latest part of the “Second Chechen War” as we call it, there are those who feel that it is their duty to take revenge for their murdered and tortured relatives, that’s what their culture demands.’
‘This feeling I believe also drives the new generation of Chechen fighters – 13 to 14 year old boys, they’re the ones who lay the mines and they often come from families who want revenge.’
Conditioned by what they have seen, Politkovskaya is fearful of the hate now rife in Chechen society. She comments:
‘The Russian army is not reliving its glorious past in Chechnya, it is simply running wild, because of that the whole country is getting wild.’
‘The fighters return home bringing with them their military culture which has absolutely nothing to do with the law.’ The Fight Continues With few indicators that the conflict will be resolved, Politkovskaya now calls for International support:
‘People are now starting to disappear in their tens and hundreds. There are more and more reports of unimaginable cruel torture and abuse.’
‘Those who care about the future are almost united in thinking that only urgent intervention by the international community can help. We won’t be able to cope on our own.’
It is impossible to understand the atrocities that Politkovskaya describes and as detailed in the book’s introduction, A Dirty War ‘offers no solutions to this continuing suffering’, but Politkovskaya reinforces the collective message from her writing by stating:
‘Please help us to stop what is happening in Chechyna. Russia is growing wild with this war and the world needs to understand that. This country is going to be dangerous. Please understand what I am saying.’
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