On October 7, 2006, Anna Politkovskaya was found murdered in her apartment building in Central Moscow. She had been shot once in the shoulder, twice in the chest, and once in the head at point-blank range. There is widespread international concern and outrage that the killing was a contract killing because of Politkovskaya’s reporting on human rights abuses and corruption in Russia.

Case History

Anna Politkovskaya was an accomplished journalist, writer, and human rights activist. She produced a large body of work on human rights abuses in Russia. She wrote extensively about the plight of Chechens in Chechnya and the human rights abuses committed in the region by the Russian military forces, Chechen rebels, and the Russian-backed administration led by Akhmad and Ramzan Kadryov. Politkovskaya was an outspoken critic of Vladimir Putin and the Russian government for their response to the situation in Chechnya and to social problems in general.

Before her death, she was working for Novaya Gazeta, a biweekly newspaper with a history of strong investigative reporting critical of the Putin and Kadryov regimes. She was also the author of a number of books including, A Dirty War: A Russian Reporter in Chechnya and Putin’s Russia.

For her work, she faced numerous death threats and was subjected to a mock execution. Additionally, she was detained in Chechnya in 2001 and was poisoned then and again in 2004, while she was attempting to investigate human rights abuses against Chechen civilians.  

In May 2014, after many years and a lengthy retrial, five men were convicted of her murder, including three men that were previously acquitted. However, international groups including PEN American Center are aware that justice has not been fully served as those individuals that ordered the killing have not yet been identified or punished, reflecting a larger trend of impunity for the killers of journalists and writers in Russia.