Freedom House Saddened and Angered by Today's Killing of Russian Journalist Anna Politkovskaya
Today, prominent Russian investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya was found dead in the entrance to her apartment building in Moscow, apparently the victim of a contract killing.
Freedom House expresses its profound sadness at today's murder and sends its condolences to Ms. Politkovskaya's family, in particular her two children, as well as to her colleagues at Novaya Gazeta.
Ms. Politkovskaya had long been a courageous and hard-hitting researcher focused on the ongoing devastating conflict in Chechnya, and made numerous risky trips to the region. Among other projects, she continued to investigate the situations behind two high-profile hostage crises: the September 2004 takeover of a school in the southern Russian town of Beslan, and the siege of a Moscow theatre in October 2002. Politkovskaya was often critical of the government's handling of both events, in which hundreds of hostages died.
Freedom House Executive Director Jennifer Windsor stated today, "Ms. Politkovskaya was a courageous truth teller, doing what good journalists everywhere try to do: report the facts and hold public authorities accountable. Her death is a tremendous loss to Russians and to all of us who want Russia to succeed as a free, democratic country. The situation is best described by George Orwell's words: 'In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.'"
Today's murder comes shortly after the recent killing of the Russian Central Bank's First Deputy Chairman, Andrey Kozlov, and an alarming increase in attacks on other journalists and activists covering the Chechen conflict. Freedom House urges Russian authorities to find not only the perpetrators but also those who ordered this terrible crime, as well as to ensure the safety of other journalists who might be at risk.
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.