The funeral is due to take place today of the murdered Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya. The reporter was gunned down in the lift of her apartment block in Moscow on Saturday. She was a fierce critic of the Kremlin and in particular its policies in Chechnya. Many in Russia and further a field are voicing the belief that her death was a contract killing. The Russian Chief Prosecutor is personally leading the murder investigation.
President Vladimir Putin has broken a much-criticised silence to describe what happened as “tragic” and promise an “objective inquiry”.
Politkovskaya’s newspaper, the Novaya Gazeta, has offered a reward of 800 thousand euros to anyone who helps solve the crime. Yesterday’s edition, the first since the attack on Saturday, was given over to a tribute to the journalist. Politkovskaya’s killing has galvanised support for press freedom. While reporters of many nationalities gathered in silent support in Paris, some were voicing concerns that her death could also mean the death of free speech in Russia.
State Duma Deputy Vladimir Ryzhkov said few journalists remained to carry the torch. While the head of the Russian Union of Journalists said investigative journalists feared they were being squeezed and self-censorship may increase.