Journalist’s murder reveals brutality of Putin regime

THE GUNNING down of Anna Politkovskaya, one of Russia’s better-known journalists and human rights activist, has brought to the world’s attention the volcano of instability in the republics which comprise the Caucasus region. Politkovskaya’s murder has, however, diverted attention from the other crisis that has been shaking Russia over the past weeks, namely tensions between Russia and Georgia. ROB JONES reports from Moscow on these events.

Anna POLITKOVSKAYA became best known for her exposure of the brutality of the Russian intervention in Chechnya.

It is widely believed that her murder was a contract killing, probably connected to her investigation into corruption at the top of the new pro-Kremlin Chechen government. The promises by Putin that ‘a full and thorough investigation’ will be conducted and the criminals brought to justice sound just as hollow as all the pledges he has made after similar killings.

The murder resonated throughout the world. In fact the profession of journalist is one of the most dangerous in Russia. Since the collapse of the USSR (Politkovskaya herself supported the restoration of capitalism in Russia), approximately one correspondent a month has been murdered.

Over half of these victims had been investigating corruption and the misuse of power within the ruling elite. Few of those guilty have ever been found.

But it is not only journalists who become victims of what the police term “murders connected to professional activities”. In the past few months there appears to have been a stepping up of high profile killings, just weeks ago the country’s Deputy Chairman of the Central Bank was killed and since Politkovskaya was murdered, yet another senior banker has been gunned down.


A large picket was recently held in Moscow, originally intended to protest the attacks on Georgian immigrants, organised by human rights groups. Inevitably it was overshadowed by Politkovskaya’s murder.

Attended by over a thousand people, it also included a significant delegation under Socialist Resistance’s banner (CWI, CIS) with slogans such as “Stop the deportations, for self-determination of nations” and “Working people – unite”.