Half a decade since renowned war journalist and Kremlin corruption critic Anna Politkovskaya was shot dead in her stairwell, a retired Russian cop has been arrested on suspicion of organizing the killing. After years of mysterious dead ends, shoddy investigation and botched trials, this latest development only worsens the notorious rumors of government involvement in the slaying.
Putin, whose Chechen war policy was often called into question by Politkovskaya, waited three days after her well-publicized death to release a statement, dismissing her influence on Russian political life “extremely insignificant.” For journalists, Russia is notoriously dangerous and deadly, especially for Politkovskaya, who was reporting on police corruption and violence in the Islamic insurgency gripped Russian Caucasus.
While investigating rapes, beatings and murders committed by the Russian military in the village of Khatuni, Politkovskaya was arrested and held for three days by the Russian military, allegedly because her press credentials were not in order. During that time, she reported that Russian soldiers threatened to shoot her, rape her and harm her children.
A suspected triggerman was arrested in May. Lt. Col. Pavlyuchenkov is currently being investigated for hiring and organizing assassins, paid “by a person whose identity is still unknown.”