Anna Politkovskaya, a hard-hitting journalist known for her reporting on corruption under Putin’s rule and the political misconduct of Russia’s Chechen War, was gunned down on the stairs of her Moscow apartment building on October 7, 2006. Her murder went unsolved for many years and the incompetent investigations and botched trails sparked outrage from rights groups world-wide. Former Russian cop Lt. Col. Pavlyuchenkov was arrested as a suspect almost three years ago and plead guilty to helping in organizing the execution. He was sentenced to 11 years in prison today and a heavily reduced fine, due to his “cooperation” with the authorities.

Pavlyuchenkov organized a gang, put in motion a comprehensive plan to kill the journalist and supplied the murder weapon, but the person who paid him to do all this “remains unknown,” allegedly. Kremlin’s propaganda channel Russia Today (“RT”) still suggests that “the person who masterminded the murder is hiding somewhere abroad,” however, the victim’s family’s advocate Murad Musaev ties Lt. Col. Pavlyuchenkov quite a bit closer to home. Musaev said that Chechen crime boss Lom-Ali paid Gaitukayev Pavlyuchenkov $150,000 to “shadow” the journalist and more, because “No shadowing is so expensive.” Russian Federal Security Bureau agent Pavel Ryaguzov also ordered him to have Politkovskaya “followed.”

Politkovskaya’s death was one of the most high-profile murders of journalists who criticized the Kremlin. Three days after her murder, Putin described her work as “extremely insignificant.” WikiLeaks explains some of the things Politkovskaya endured on duty:

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.

(Image: Dartcenter.org