Inside the apartment block on the central Lesnaya Street there is a strange atmosphere. On several floors there are pots without flowers and the elevator where the crime took place is narrower than usual, a kind of metal coffin that one afternoon in 2006 when opened its jaws had its interior fumigated with gunpowder.
The ‘Novaya Gazeta’ journalist Anna Politkovskaya was murdered 15 years ago today at the entrance of her house in Moscow. On October 7, a gunman fired four shots at point-blank range. The last was to the head, a ‘control’ shot, as hitmen do. Next to the bloody body they left the pistol, the signature of a murder for hire.
On the door of the house where she lived and died, in addition to a dark plaque in his memory, yesterday there was a lonely flower, a somewhat withered sunflower, with a note with the word ‘помним’ (“we remember”) written in blood red. But the ‘Politkovskaya case’ closes today. According to his family and friends, the case closes in the wrong way.
The journalist’s fellow writers recall that despite the fact that the evidence and many circumstances of the murder pointed to Chechnya – and in particular, its leaders, whom she criticized so much – the investigation did not attempt to reach those who could have given the order.
From the beginning the clues led to Chechens and former policemen. The former Moscow police commissioner, Dimitry Pavlyutschenkov, confessed having followed the journalist and having obtained the weapon with which the murder was committed, and was punished with 12 years in prison. The man who shot, Rustam Majmudov, was sentenced to life in prison. His two brothers, Ibrahim and Chabrail, received 14 and 12 years. Former police officer Sergei Hadchikurbanov, 20 years old. The one who coordinated the crime, Chechen businessman Lom-ali Gajtukayev, was sentenced to life in prison. All five deny the charges.
During her career, Politkovskaya encountered death threats and poisoning. He earned a reputation for her coverage of human rights violations in the North Caucasus and his criticism of the Kremlin.
A decade and a half later, today the statute of limitations for this crime expires. “From now on, the ‘client’, even if it is pointed out, will not be punished – unless the court decides otherwise– but it is for all this that the investigation was somehow prolonged to this date, because the ‘client’ [of the murder] is politics. And, specifically, high politics, it seems” laments Serguei Sokolov, deputy editor of ‘Novaya Gazeta’, the opposition newspaper that dedicates all its cover to the murdered journalist.
“I’M NOT SORRY FOR HER“
Fifteen years after the journalist died, today her case ‘dies’. In his apartment block there are those who do not regret their first or second of her deaths. “I feel sorry for her children … and for ours, who found her body and went home in shock and had a trauma for long“ explains a neighbor to EL MUNDO, who blames Politkovskaya for her own murder –“she he knew what he was doing, he wrote at the dictation of others”– and also for the risk in which she put others with his mere existence.
“She lived among us, my children could have run into the murderer, he put us in danger with his writings, he could have better gone too live elsewhere,” she grumbles while ridiculing the gesture of writing with one of his hands. “So no, I’m not sorry” she says, getting into the elevator where Politkovskaya, her neighbor from the floor below, fell dead.
The journalist was 48 years old when she was assassinated on the 54th birthday of President Putin, who had been in office for six at the time. Today the Russian leader will blow 69 candles and the evils that Politkovskaya denounced are still valid in Russia. While there are untouchable people, there are others who can be pierced by bullets or poison without ever clarifying the case.
The newspapers and entities that have most strongly opposed the government have begun to be outlawed or registered on the ‘black list’ this year. As Nadia Isayeva, a journalist from ‘Novaya Gazeta, lamented a few days ago, “Freelance journalism is really becoming a prohibited profession in Russia. When you submit a story, you wonder if they will search your office or open a case against you. Then you compose yourself and go back to work. “
In 2004 Politkovskaya already wrote it in her book ‘Putin’s Russia’: “We plunge back into a Soviet abyss, into an information vacuum that heralds death through our own ignorance.”
Read the original: ‘Las dos muertes de la periodista rusa Anna Politkovskaya’