Investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya, who chronicled military abuses against Chechen civilians and garnered accolades and awards from around the world, was killed in her apartment building Saturday in an apparent contract murder possibly tied to her reporting.
Politkovskaya, 48, was found dead with a gunshot wound to the head in an elevator in her apartment building at 8/12 Lesnaya Ulitsa near Belorussky Station in central Moscow.
Politkovskaya was not the first journalist to die an execution-style death in Russia, and she probably won't be the last. But in a country that lacks the will to bring the murderers of journalists to justice, one has to wonder if it is really worth the trouble for those behind these assasinations to kill their critics. The logic follows that if you are free to kill reporters, what they write shouldn't bother you much anyway - unless of course you are more worried about appearances then any kind of threat to your political economic livelihood. Hence, the murder of journalists is not only deplorable, it's also ... illogical. But Russia was never much one for logic.
Anyway, looks like a mob hit.
Footage from a security camera in the apartment building foyer showed the presumed killer, a tall young man wearing dark clothing and a black baseball cap.
Prosecutor General Yury Chaika will personally oversee the investigation, his office announced Sunday.
However, people are being quick to lay the blame at Putin's feet because it fits into the "Russia is sliding back into authoritarianism meme."
Her killing sent shock waves across Russia and raised fresh doubts about media freedom under President Vladimir Putin. She was the 12th reporter murdered in contract-style killings since Putin came to power, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
What's ironic about Putin's Russia is the close resemblance to Mussolini's Italy. Instead of communism in Russia, we now have fascism - a state-centered around the fused ganglea of big business and political power where xenophobia is fashionable and a strong arm is preferred to any hint of chaos. The irony is stronger because Russia's post-war identity was built on being the country that defeated fascism. Yet what do we have today in modern Russia?
I hope Anna's murderers are caught, but I do not believe they will be.