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'Politkovskaya Garden' Opens In Moscow, U.S. Honors Journalists Killed In Russia

Participants planted flowers in the Politkovskaya Garden.
Participants planted flowers in the Politkovskaya Garden.

MOSCOW -- A garden created in honor of slain Russian investigative reporter Anna Politkovskaya has opened near the offices of the newspaper she worked for in Moscow, while the United States honored two other journalists killed in Russia.

Politkovskaya's mother, Raisa Mazepa, former Novaya Gazeta editor Dmitry Muratov, and Ekho Moskvy radio station editor Aleksei Venediktov took part in the garden's opening on July 13, as did several foreign diplomats.

Participants planted flowers in the Politkovskaya Garden and put up a sign reading "Under the People's Protection."

Politkovskaya, a critic of President Vladimir Putin whose dogged reporting exposed high-level corruption in Russia and rights abuses in the southern republic of Chechnya, was gunned down in her Moscow apartment building on October 7, 2006.

The killing sent a chill through the Russian media and civil society and harmed Russia's reputation abroad.

Politkovskaya Garden Opens In Moscow
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WATCH: Politkovskaya Garden Opens In Moscow

In 2014, two men were sentenced to life and three others to long prison terms after being convicted of involvement in Politkovskaya's killing.

Relatives and colleagues say justice will not be done until those who ordered her killing are identified and convicted.

Politkovskaya was killed on Putin's birthday, prompting speculation that her murder was meant as a "gift" to the president.

She was one of several Russian journalists whose killings have underscored the risks faced by reporters who challenge the Kremlin and government authorities nationwide.

State Department Honors

On July 12, the U.S. State Department honored two other journalists who were killed in Russia: Natalya Estemirova, a human rights activist and Novaya Gazeta journalist who was killed after being kidnapped in Chechnya on July 15, 2009, and Paul Klebnikov, an American who edited Forbes Russian edition and was shot dead in Moscow on July 9, 2004.

"Neither the killers nor those who ordered these crimes have been brought to justice, and the United States remains troubled by the ongoing pattern of intimidation and violence against those who express dissent across Russia, including independent journalists, members of the political opposition, and civil society," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.

"We honor the memories of Ms. Estemirova and Mr. Klebnikov by calling for an end to the impunity for human rights abuses in Chechnya and elsewhere in Russia and by reiterating U.S. support for brave journalists and human rights defenders in Russia and around the world," she said.

Politkovskaya was born in New York in 1958, the daughter of a Soviet diplomat from Ukraine. She reported extensively on the wars and human rights situation in Chechnya and the rest of Russia's North Caucasus beginning in the 1990s.

She was the laureate of numerous Russian and international awards including an Amnesty International Global Award for Human Rights Journalism in 2001, a PEN Freedom to Write award in 2002, an Olaf Palme Prize in 2004.

In 2007, she became the first person ever to receive a posthumous UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize.

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