Putin, Chechnya and Politkovskaya

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In this paper, Tanya Lokshina examines the possible motive for Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya’s murder, claiming that there is no doubt that the killing was political.

The paper first refers to Politkovskaya’s work in Chechnya. Despite two attempts on her life, Politkovskaya went back to Chechnya to report on violence, human rights abuse and the crimes of the military and security services. According to the author, in recent years, it seemed inconceivable that she could be murdered, owing to her iconic status with readers in Chechnya, Russia and the West. 

Lokshina examines the possible motives – all of which are political – for Politkovskaya’s murder. There are too many Russia actors – forces and agencies – who would want to get rid of an uncompromising, relentless journalist, that determining the real culprit is near impossible, she notes. 

The author also analyses the political reactions to the Russian journalist’s murder. In particular, she observes the significance of Putin’s official reaction – his words seemed to imply that Anna was a problem when alive and an even worse problem for Russia dead. 

Today, western reporters and politicians are wondering wheather Russian journalists and human-rights defenders will stop covering Chechnya and exposing human-rights violations altogether. Keeping silent in the wake of Politkovska’s murder amounts to complicity in her death, the paper concludes. 

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