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Mastermind of Politkovskaya murder wanted to intimidate reporters, senior investigator believes

November 09, 2012, 13:38 UTC+3

Investigation arrived at the conclusion that only the heroes of her critical publications could wish the journalist’s death

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MOSCOW, November 9 (Itar-Tass) — The purpose of the mastermind of the murder in 2006 of Novaya Gazeta observer Anna Politkovskaya was not only to take revenge on her for critical publications. “First of all, he wanted a high-profile and demonstrative action that was aimed at intimidating all of us, journalists, as well as the society and government,” head of the group for the crime investigation, senior investigator for especially important cases at the Chairman of the Russian Investigative Committee (SK) Petros Garibyan believes.

Having examined the last years of Anna Politkovskaya’s life literally under the microscope, the investigation, he told the Kommersant daily in an interview published on Friday, arrived at the conclusion that only the heroes of her critical publications could wish the journalist’s death.

On October 7, 2006 Politkovskaya was shot and killed in the lift of her block of flats, an unsolved assassination that continues to attract international attention. Politkovskaya made her reputation reporting from Chechnya. Her post-1999 articles about conditions in Chechnya were turned into several books; Russian readers’ main access to her investigations and publications was through Novaya Gazeta, a Russian newspaper known for its often-critical investigative coverage of Russian political and social affairs. From 2000 onwards, she received numerous international awards for her work. In 2004, she published a personal account: Putin's Russia. The 2007–2008 academic year at the College of Europe was named in her honour.

According to Garibyan, the motives for the high-profile murder were established by the elimination method. Over six years of work on the murder case the investigators reliably established that the journalist was not involved in any commercial projects, thus excluding the motive for the murder in connection with the business sharing or unfair competition. “The questioning of her colleagues, relatives, friends and neighbours, checked the version of possible domestic conflicts, but even in this sphere nothing suspicious has been found,” he said.

All the accounts of the killed reporter and the transactions on them were checked. The journalist did not take large sums, in any case those for which she could be killed. Thus, of all the possible options only one was left - the murder linked with her professional activities.

Answering a question whether the Chechen leader who along with his entourage were the main targets of her criticism, has been questioned, the head of the investigation team insisted the death of Anna Politkovskaya was disadvantageous to Ramzan Kadyrov. “The investigation has had and now has no grounds for questioning Kadyrov and his staff. During the summer and autumn of 2006, he was preparing to take the post of the president of Chechnya, and the high-profile killing of a journalist who criticised him would do him more harm than good. Therefore, it would be logical to look for the mastermind among the enemies of Kadyrov, not among his friends,” he explained.

“After a more thorough study of the journalist’s publications, we came to the conclusion that she criticised not only regional officials, but also representatives of the federal government. So, the circle of suspects was widened,” Garibyan said.

The investigation has established that that the murder of Anna Politkovskaya cost the organisers of the crime 150 thousand US dollars. And the debt of one of the defendants in the case, former chief of a unit of the Operational Search Department of Moscow police Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov “worth 60 thousand US dollars was forgiven.”

The murder case will be shortly submitted to the prosecutor for approval.


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