I am trying not to let us forget the fact that our army is waging this foul war. That is why the generals, officers, and some of my colleagues say I should be “liquidated.” But I shall not give up
Chcechnya is an autonomous republic to the north of the Caucasian Mountains. It is part of the Russian Federation. Its inhabitants are Muslim. In 1991, following the fall of the Soviet Union, Chechnya proclaimed its independence, however it was accepted only by Afghanistan, governed by the Taliban, and Georgia with its then President Gamsachurdia. All the rest refused to offer Chechnya their support. Dzhokhar Dudayev became president of independent Chechnya.
The Russian army entered the territory of Chechnya, claiming the necessity of territorial integrity with Russia and of fighting the separatist, fundamentalist Muslim groups. Vicious combat lasted over a dozen years, with short intervals. Both sides involved violated human rights and used terror. Among the crimes of the Russian army people name rapes, murders, kidnaps, trade in human organs and torture. Chechens are accused of murdering the captives or the Russian population inhabiting the territory of Chechen Republic.
Approximately 5,000-12,000 Russian soldiers perished in the war (the discrepancies are caused by the variety of sources – both official and non-official). There is no data on the number of Chechen victims – the estimates vary between 40,000 and 200,000 victims.
“Anna would think these two bullets in the head were a gift. She knew perfectly well that she was dealing with squalid, foul, obnoxious things. She took a task upon herself – to name them and inform the world about them,” said Andre Glucksmann, a philosopher and friend of Anna Politkowska, a Russian journalist. She was murdered in October 2006, in the lift of the building in which she resided.
Chechnya became her calling. She was a correspondent of the opposition Novaya Gazeta bi-weekly from the Second Chechen War. She exposed the crimes of the Russian forces and the Chechen units led by Ramzan Kadyrov allied with the Russians, the crimes of Chechen partisans and the situation of the Russian recruits. She also supported the movement of mothers defending their children conscripted in the army.
Novaya Gazeta offered her enough freedom so that she did not have to limit herself to watching and writing. She did not keep her distance. “[…] she became an institution.
She reached people and places that no journalist had ever reached before.
The people of the Caucasus turned to her for help themselves, thus making her a source of the most interesting information,” recalled Marcin Wojciechowski, a journalist of the Polish Radio.
When she returned to the village that she had recently visited only to find out that the majority of people she had spoken and whom she had quoted with were killed because of her, she fell into depression. But she soon recovered. “Why should we care that somewhere there, at the borderlands of our country, our soldiers loot, murder and rape on a daily basis? I am trying not to let us forget the fact that our army is waging this foul war. That is why the generals, officers, and some of my colleagues say I should be ‘liquidated.’ But I shall not give up.”
According to the data of the Committee for the Defence of Journalists, twenty Russian journalists have been murdered since 2006, and over sixty fell victims of assaults. At the Novaya Gazeta editorial office, Politkowska’s desk is still standing. On its top, there is Anna’s photograph, and a list of other murdered journalists.