Anatomy of Injustice: About This Report

Anatomy of Injustice: The Unsolved Killings of Journalists in Russia


This report was researched and written by Nina Ognianova, CPJ Europe and Central Asia program coordinator, with assistance from Muzaffar Suleymanov, CPJ research associate, and Alex Lupis, CPJ Europe and Central Asia program coordinator from 2000 to 2006. The reporting is based on four CPJ missions to Russia and extensive interviews with journalists, analysts, and officials. Reporting from Russia was contributed by journalists Aleksandr Mnatsakanyan and Irada Huseynova.

CPJ research has consistently identified Russia as one of the deadliest countries in the world for the press (ranked third worldwide) and one of the worst nations in solving crimes against the press (ranked ninth worst). CPJ delegations have met with Russian officials to discuss the grave problem of impunity in attacks on the press. This report, made possible by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, examines the deaths of 17 journalists in Russia since 2000, identifying systemic investigative shortcomings and outlining potential remedies. In only one of these cases have the killers been convicted.

CPJ gratefully acknowledges the vital work of several contributing writers. The Chapter 2 sidebar, “Roadmap for the International Community” was written by the Belgian journalist Jean-Paul Marthoz. “In Defense of Jury Trials,” the sidebar to Chapter 3, was written by Leonid Nikitinsky, head of the Guild of Court Reporters of Russia.

Andrei Soldatov, a leading expert on Russian security services, wrote the Chapter 5 sidebar, “When Everything Is ‘Top Secret.’” The Moscow-based media analyst Maria Lipman wrote the sidebar to Chapter 6, “Public Apathy Hampers Press.” The sidebar to Chapter 8, “No Place for Justice,” was written by former CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper. More complete author information accompanies each piece.

Excerpts from the work of the late journalists are presented in the Appendix to this report thanks to the cooperation of a number of people. CPJ consultant Ekaterina Lysova compiled the excerpts and translated many of them for this report. The following publications graciously granted reprint permission: Forbes, Novaya Gazeta, Johnson’s Russia List, Novy Reft, Kommersant, Nashe Vremya, Molodoi Kommunar, Tolyattinskoye Obozreniye, Ingushetiya, and Gorod.

CPJ wishes to acknowledge the invaluable research of the Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations, led by Oleg Panfilov, and the Glasnost Defense Foundation, headed by Aleksei Simonov. The staffs of these Moscow press freedom organizations work tirelessly to document abuses and advocate on behalf of journalists. Human rights lawyers Karen Nersisian and Karinna Moskalenko provided important insight on legal issues. We also drew on research conducted by the writer Terry Gould, whose 2009 book, Marked for Death, explores the murders of three Russian journalists in great detail.

We are very grateful for the generous amount of time and the indispensable expertise provided by the editors and reporters of Novaya Gazeta. The newspaper’s staff has exhaustively investigated the deaths of four slain colleagues and other murdered Russian journalists.

CPJ extends special thanks to the families and colleagues of the 17 slain journalists. They graciously gave their time, and their input was invaluable.


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