I may be skewered alive for writing so boldly about this, but am struggling with emotion after yesterday’s memorial unveiling, so here goes: Monday, 7 October, was the anniversary of the senseless murder of journalist Anna Politkovskaya.
She died on President Putin’s 54th birthday. She was stalked in darkness, and then one of the two men following her, a policeman, handed a gun to his companion who shot her repeatedly as she lay in a pool of blood at the entry to the elevator of her apartment building.
Did you know that Anna was an American citizen? She was born in New York on 30 August 1958. I am only 3 years and 4 days older than Anna. She was Russian by heritage and graduated from our finest institution, Moscow State University.
Perhaps some of you remember that tragic morning; even now it seems as if it happened just yesterday. On 7 October 2008 she was number 12. Two more journalists would die that year, a total of 14 by the end of December. They were comrades and fellow members of the media; leaving my confidence shaken and my heart broken. It was time to grow up and learn to stand tall. 14 journalists killed per year was about average for that time period although the longest year of terror was 2002 when 23 journalists paid the ultimate price for daring to do their jobs.
The total since the changes began that would see the socialist/communist system fail has to date been 218 journalists killed in the line of duty. There was a lull for the most part during the 4 year presidency of Dmitry Medvedev. We can pray for another lull and it has been over a year (July 2012) since Akhmednabi Akhmednabiev was murdered en route to his newspaper office but in all things each must be faithful to our individual calling.
Anna, your people miss you and we pray that God will reward you with eternal memory and in death use your life to help change the world. May God have mercy on us.