The murder of Anna Politkovskaya: 15 years later

On October 7, 2021 the statute of limitations on the murder of “Novaya Gazeta” journalist Anna Politkovskaya expired. “Novaya Gazeta” notes: “This means that those who ordered the murder, whose names have not been released to this day, have officially escaped responsibility”. “The investigation has dragged on as long as it could, since the ones who ordered it was policy. And, apparently, the big one policy” says “Novaya Gazeta” deputy editor-in-chief Sergei Sokolov.

Despite this, the editorial board of the newspaper where Anna worked so long and devotedly intends to press for the reopening of the investigation of Politkovskaya’s murder and the disclosure of the name of those who ordered her murder.

The journalist was killed by multiple gunshot wounds in the entrance to her own house in Moscow. The killer fired four shots at point-blank range, including a control shot to the head, as Anna entered the lift. An abandoned Makarov gun and shotshells were also found there.

Anna Politkovskaya’s body. Photo: Grigory Sysoyev / TASS

In June 2014, the Moscow City Court sentenced to life imprisonment Chechen natives Rustam Makhmudov and Lom-Ali Gaitukayev, found by a jury to be the executor and organizer of Politkovskaya’s murder. Gaitukayev subsequently died in the penal colony. Former police officer Sergei Khadzhikurbanov was recognized as an intermediary in the crime and received 20 years in prison. The brothers of the alleged executor of the murder, Ibrahim and Dzhabrail Makhmudov (who had been following Politkovskaya), were sentenced to 12 and 14 years respectively.

From left to right: Dzhabrail Makhmudov, Lom-Ali Gaitukayev, Rustam Makhmudov, Ibrahim Makhmudov, Sergei Khadzhikurbanov. Photo: Alexei Filippov / RIA News

However, Anna Politkovskaya’s colleagues and relatives believe that the case remains unsolved: the motives of the criminals are unclear, and it has not been established who ordered the murder. “Novaya Gazeta” believes the murder may have been linked to Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov. Politkovskaya traveled to war zones several times, and many of her reports were devoted to rights violations in Chechnya. Anna Politkovskaya has also openly criticised the current government and Russian President Vladimir Putin personally.

On October 7, 2021 “Novaya Gazeta” presented its own documentary film, presenting for the first time the story of the newspaper’s own investigation into the murder of Anna Politkovskaya. The film tells for the first time the story of a secret witness of “Novaya Gazeta”, thanks to whom the investigation was able to uncover the gang of murderers and organisers, but for political reasons decided not to go any further.