Exactly three years after the murder of Anna Politkovskaya, people continue to pay tribute to one of the Kremlin’s most outspoken critics.
The investigative reporter’s body was found in the lift of her apartment block along with the murder weapon — a handgun and four bullets. Despite that, the hunt for Politkovskaya’s killers goes on. A leading opposition figure against former President Putin’s policies, particularly in the republic of Chechnya, her murder sent shockwaves across Russia and the world. It was three days later on a trip to Germany that Putin first reacted to the assassination. ‘‘Whoever did this and whatever their motive was, this was a terrible crime, dreadful in its cruelty, and they must not go unpunished,’‘ Putin said in 2006. Three years on, the person who it is claimed ordered the killing and the actual gunman are still at large. In February this year, following a four month trial, three men suspected of being involved in the murder were acquitted because of a lack of evidence. Despite being cleared, the three are set to be re-tried after a new investigation was launched. Their trial could be merged with the case of a fourth man who is suspected by investigators of carrying out the killing. He is still on the run. In her last unfinished article, Politkovskaya accused Chechan authorities of using torture against civilians and suspected rebels. It was a charge also levelled by Politkovskaya’s close friend, human rights activist Natalia Estemirova. She was found dead in Ingushestia after being kidnapped in Chechnya in July this year. Both women were highly critical of Chechan President Ramzan Kadyrov.Yesterday, he won a lawsuit and large damages against a Russian human rights group that had accused him of ordering Estemirova’s murder.