30 August should have been Anna Politkovskaya’s 50th birthday


On 30 August Anna Politkovskaya would have been 50. The renowned journalist was gunned down on 7 October 2006 in the entrance to her apartment block in the centre of Moscow. The case is due to reach the court in December this year, however the Deputy Chief Editor of “Novaya Gazeta” (where Anna worked) Sergei Sokolov stresses that those awaiting trial are at best secondary figures, and that they consider the main thing to be continued investigation into who ordered the killed. “Events which have been developing since last August when the first arrests were made lead us to think that far from all members of the enforcement agencies want to establish who ordered the crime. Leaks of information constantly hounding the investigation prove that a great many people are trying to get people, including the very killer, off being tried.”

Sergei Sokolov says that they want to know how the part of the case which is now being dealt with separately will develop, and whether the trial, which he expects to be in a military court, will be open. “If it’s behind closed doors, that will be the first sign that the investigation is being quietly wound down”.

The three people presently on trial are the Makhmudov brothers and a former captain of the Department for Fighting Organized Crime Khadzhkurbanov. It is as yet unclear whether another man - FSB colonel Ryaguzov will stand trial. Mr Sokolov believes that all these people can have had one motive only – money, and that killings are their “work”. 

He stresses that “Novaya” is carrying out its own investigation. Asked if he has an idea at least which circle of people may have been involved in ordering the killing, he said yes, but that he could not be more specific. He did not know how exact this knowledge was and obviously they could not make a mistake.  In order to not violate the right to presumption of innocence, they prefer not to publicize their suspicions. He also envisages difficulty in proving who was responsible.

On Saturday, a meeting in Moscow to remember Anna Politkovskaya was attended by around 300 people. These included her colleagues and friends, Father Gleb Yakunin, Lev Ponomarev, one of the leaders of the Civic Front Garry Kasparov, as well as representatives of civic organizations “Beslan” and “Nord-Ost” which Anna helped enormously through her work.

Based on material at

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