Anna Politkovskaya Still Wages Peace

   •    February 4, 2007

This article was originally published by San Francisco Chronicle.

Worldwide, at least 81 journalists were killed in 2006 — the highest annual toll in more than a decade — and murder was the leading cause of death, according to two organizations that promote freedom of the press, Reporters Without Borders and the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Among the murdered was Anna Politkovskaya, who was shot point blank in the head with a revolver in the elevator outside her Moscow apartment.

Anna was special — the Kremlin says it has assembled 150 investigators to look into her killing. But sadly she wasn’t so special — 21 journalists have been killed in Russia since Vladimir Putin took power in March 2000.

That’s the year Politkovskaya came to Harvard University for a two-week conference I hosted. For years thereafter, I knew her as the world’s strongest voice describing the plight of Chechnya’s civilian population, under military assault by the Russian government since 1994. Her death has stayed in the news, in part, because she was a winsome 48-year-old, in part because the former spy who set out to find her killer died a gruesome and high-profile death in London from polonium-210 poisoning.

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