Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday denounced the murder of a journalist critical of the Kremlin as a “despicable” crime that cannot go unpunished.
In his first public comment on the killing of Anna Politkovskaya, however, he also played down her influence as “insignificant.”
“Whoever did it, and for whatever motive, we must say that it is a despicable and unacceptable crime … that cannot go unpunished,” Putin said on a visit to Germany through a translator.
Politkovskaya, a sharp critic of Putin and the conduct of Russia’s war in Chechnya, was found shot to death at her Moscow apartment building on Saturday.
Her death has sparked an international outcry about restrictions on press freedoms in Russia.
Putin also sought to play down the significance of her work.
“It was a journalist who was critical of the current authorities in Russia but … the degree of influence of the publications of Anna Politkovskaya on public life was extremely insignificant,” he said.