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Russia: Slain Journalist Honored In New York

  • Nikola Krastev

http://gdb.rferl.org/EA242600-6E1F-43F6-A3FA-BB5BE20966F3_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/EA242600-6E1F-43F6-A3FA-BB5BE20966F3_mw800_mh600.jpg Anna Politkovskaya (Courtesy Photo) NEW YORK, October 17, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Slain Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya was honored on October 16 during a small gathering in New York, the city where she was born to Ukrainian Soviet diplomats.


Politkovskaya was seen by the West as one of Russia's most influential journalists and her work perceived as giving an accurate account of events in Chechnya. Her status made her a favorite speaker at universities in the United States.

The memorial was held at the at the International Center For Tolerance Education, which is currently holding a photo exhibition on a place that was the focus of much of her reporting -- Chechnya.

Courage And Dedication


Admirers who assembled to pay their respects remembered Anna Politkovskaya for her courage and dedication.

Rachel Denber, an executive director at Human Rights Watch, shared story she heard from a colleague who worked with Politkovskaya in Ingushetia that demonstrates the impact the journalist had on the lives of those she covered.

"Something was happening and he [the colleague] wasn't quite sure what it was and then excitement started spreading through the camp: 'Oh, she's here, she's here!' And it turned out that it was Anna Politkovskaya who had come and she was like a celebrity, she was like a rock star," Denber said. "And not because she was glamorous, not because she had fame, but because she was someone who they knew, they could tell their stories to, and they absolutely thrown around her because finally there was somebody who would listen to them, who would not scorn them, who would not ignore them, who would not tell them they were liars, but somebody who would listen absolutely to everything that they had to say. And for that, in their eyes, she was like a rock star."

Western Appeal


Almut Rochowanski of the Chechnya Advocacy Network, a U.S.-based nongovernmental organization, said the style of Politkovskaya's reporting appealed to Western audiences and that many students in the United States benefited from Politkovskaya's writings.

"It was quite different from much of the Russian journalism -- not just today but in general -- in that it was written in a very straightforward, factual style. It was very accessible to Western audiences," Rochowanski said. "The books [of her work] that exist in the English language are just translations of her articles basically, and unlike Russian journalism which is very meandering and goes from one thing to the next without actually naming names and establishing facts, [she] really just told stories in a straightforward, extremely pointed way -- everybody can appreciate that. And I know that a lot of young people in the U.S. got interested in Chechnya first because of her books."

Rochowanski said that the Chechnya Advocacy Network is considering ways to further honor Politkovskaya -- possibly through a scholarship or fund.

Remembering Anna Politkovskaya

Anna Politkovskaya at RFE/RL in July 2006 (RFE/RL)


A BRAVE VOICE SILENCED. Prominent Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya was killed on October 7 in her Moscow apartment building. An outspoken critic of the Kremlin, she was best-known for her reporting on the conflict in Chechnya. Former Soviet President Gorbachev called her slaying "a true political homicide, a vendetta."

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