Russian Media Salute Slain Journalist Anna Politkovskaya

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Colleagues of Anna Politkovskaya, supported by the independent Russian Union of Journalists and hundreds of domestic and foreign media outlets, published a newspaper Thursday devoted to the slain journalist who focused on uncovering torture, abductions and other abuses against civilians in Chechnya.

The 16-page tabloid included tributes to the journalist and rights activist, a sampling of her work, a list of 211 journalists killed in Russia between 1992 and the present, and her mother’s recollections.

Raisa Mazepa recalled begging her daughter to be more cautious in her work.

‘I remember she told me then: ‘I understand, of course, that the Sword of Damocles is always hanging over me. I understand that, but I don’t want to give up,'” her mother was quoted as saying by Politkovskaya’s newspaper Novaya Gazeta.

Thursday’s newspaper also contained a rebuke to President Vladimir Putin, who on the day of Politkovskaya’s funeral played down her influence on political life as ”very minor.” It reprinted government instructions to act to correct the problems raised in her stories. The paper said close to 40 criminal investigations had been opened on the basis of Politkovskaya’s work.

Politkovskaya was gunned down in the entrance to her apartment building Oct. 7. Thursday’s newspaper said investigators were concentrating on three main scenarios for the killing, but it did not elaborate.

In an unpublished essay or speech found on Politkovskaya’s computer, she described how journalists were made “outcasts” in Russia — never invited to official events, forced to meet with officials only clandestinely. Most journalists here, she said, were putting on a “jesters’ show,” whose only task was to report positively on Putin.

“What have I … done? I only wrote about what I witnessed, and nothing more,” Politkovskaya wrote in the piece, which was published in the special paper Thursday.

“I purposely have not written about all the other ‘charms’ of the path I have chosen — the poisonings, the detentions, the threats in letters and on the Internet, the promises to kill … I think that is all trivial.

“The main thing is to have the chance to do the main thing: describe life, receive in the editorial offices visitors who have nowhere else to go with their troubles.”

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