The international community has voiced its fears over freedom of expression in Russia. They are concerns shared by those who gathered in Moscow to mourn Anna Politkovskaya, a vocal critic of President Putin. On the sidelines of a major anti-Kremlin rally, Muscovites paid their respects to the reporter whose murder they are convinced is linked to her work.
At the newspaper she wrote for, tributes are also being paid. Although news Politkovskaya had been slain prompted condemnation from across the world, there has still been no comment from the Kremlin. Her colleague Oleg Panfilov is scathing.
“An atmosphere of hatred towards journalists has been created in this country, namely towards honest journalists such as Andrei Babitsky and Anna Politkovskaya and so now, however the government tries to justify itself, I doubt that President Putin will say anything about this killing,” he said.
Surveillance camera footage has been released showing the suspect, a tall man in black wearing a baseball cap, at the scene. According to reports, prosecutors say the killer knew the entry code to the 48-year-old’s apartment block where she was found shot dead in a lift.
Well-wishers continue to head to the building in Moscow. One woman says she listened to Politkovskaya on the radio, just two days ago. “I prayed: God protect her for us,” she said. “I find it very painful.”
A mother of two children, the reporter accused Vladimir Putin of stifling freedom and failing to shake off his past as a KGB agent.
Her murder coincided with his 54th birthday.
Much of Politkovskaya’s work criticized Russian authorities’ actions in Chechnya. She was writing an article about torture there in the days before her death.