I remember her crossing the lobby with an even, determined step. She had an urgency about her--that rare focus that comes only with absolute clarity about one's mission in life. Politkovskaya's passion was almost tangible--neither her low voice nor her poised delivery could camouflage it. It radiated from her whole being--her hand gestures; her steady gaze; the way she tossed back her strikingly gray hair.
She was not one for small talk--she did not care about my ice-breaker about the weather. Neither did she wish to tell me about this new prize she was about to receive. She went straight to the point--the human rights crisis in
She talked about the aftermath of the
Politkovskaya did not talk about her own brushes with danger, the numerous cases of harassment and intimidation she had endured at the hands of federal and local security agents--the mock execution in detention, the three days she spent in a pit without food or water in Chechnya, the poisoning en route to Beslan .... She deflected all my attempts to shift the conversation to her own experience.
She had come to talk about her colleagues and their plight. She
had come to be their voice. And so we talked about her friend at a small
In a first-person piece, one year before she was gunned down
in the elevator of her
The Kremlin responds by trying to block my access to information, its ideologues supposing that this is the best way to make my writing ineffectual. It is impossible, however, to stop someone fanatically dedicated to this profession of reporting the world around us."
Today, as our colleagues from Novaya
Gazeta gather on
Memories of Anna:Dmitry Muratov, Novaya Gazeta editor-in-chief and 2007 recipient of CPJ's International Press Freedom Award:
About Politkovskaya one can talk without end. ... Our mutual existence could be characterized as a constant conflict. Mind you, these conflicts were only professional, work-related. We never had any personal battles. Our relations were friendly and good-natured. But we constantly we had work-related conflicts. ...
I'd tell her: "That would be all! You have to leave
Yevgeniya Albats, deputy editor of the independent newsweekly The New Times:
My memories are very personal: We were friends with Anya
when we both studied at
The last time Anya and I saw each other was at the first conference of the Other Russia [opposition coalition], in the summer of 2006, where we both spoke. We talked a lot between the sessions--about our kids, of course. Well, what else could two 48-year-old women who have known one another all their lives talk about? Anya told me that her daughter, Verochka, was to give her a granddaughter the next February. And I remembered Verochka when she was in a stroller. We talked about our problems with the kids, about how each of us managed those problems or--quite more often--didn't.
We also talked about politics. And then she, just like that, half-jokingly, said: "I know it is not my fate to die in bed, of old age." Just like that, out of the blue.
The next time I saw her was by the entrance of her apartment house; she was on a stretcher, covered with a white sheet.
Aleksei Simonov, president
of the Glasnost Defense Foundation in
Anna was a very beautiful woman. Even her gray hair made her look beautiful. She had an air of unattainability about her. And, one day, all that was shattered into pieces, smashed by some nasty, heavy boots.
To hell with her killers!
Sergei Buntman, deputy editor-in-chief of the independent radio station Ekho Moskvy. (This commentary first appeared on Ekho Moskvy's Web site.)
Three months after the murder of
But right after he was murdered, the Turkish government did
not wait for special invitations, for questions asked at press conferences
abroad; it did not utter cynical formulations, but simply said that a bullet in
Hrant Dink was a bullet in the heart of
Tens of thousands of people came into the streets, wearing
badges that said: "I am an Armenian." Of course, not everyone agreed with that.
But some of the biggest newspapers published headlines that said: "We are all
Hrant Dinks," and "Hrant Dink--this is