Anna Politkovskaya – Arsenal

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By. Miguel Angel Sanchez de Armas

Few readers will say anything about this name, but they should know that on the stage of the Ukrainians’ struggle against Russian fascism, lives on the memory of this woman whose blood was shed in the name of the defenders of freedom of expression throughout the world. world.

(I write “Russian fascism” as if it were “Soviet fascism” or “Nazi totalitarianism. Vladimir Putin is the reincarnation of Stalin who massacred the kulaks, of the Beria who ordered the murder of Babel and Hitler who was delirious with the Barbarossa operation.)

Anna is a reporter. On Saturday, October 7, 2006, her shot body appeared in the elevator of the Moscow building where she lived. On the floor they found a pistol and four shell casings.

No one knows who murdered her, but the “whoever falls” and the “until the last consequences” – in Russian, comrades – were tirelessly repeated on the radio, on television, in the newspapers and in the magazines of the former tsarist capital. with the same fervor with which the Kremlin today assures that in Ukraine it is fighting neo-Nazism.

In terms of thunderous declarations, no government in history has shown signs of intelligence… not to mention efficiency: there is a long list of murders of journalists waiting to be clarified.

Why do I say that Anna “is” and not “was” a reporter? Because in this office when death arrives, the word remains in the world, and journalists from the most distant corners will mourn, repeat a name and say out loud that this death was not in vain.

Anna Politkovskaya was a star of Russian investigative journalism. During the war in chechnya it was a thorn in the side of the sinister Putin. He documented the army’s systematic repression of the civilian population, the drama of the refugee camps and the sorry state of the hospitals. Then he dared to put it all in a book that raised waves of indignation.

This colleague was never intimidated by threats, such as the one from the army officer Sergei Lapin, who virilely swore to take revenge on that old lady and daughter of the chin… spelling, my Russian is not what it used to be), after Anna documented human rights violations against a few hundred Chechens.

As a good citizen, Anna complained to the authority. Lapin was arrested, but surprisingly, he was released and the prosecution dropped the prosecution. Seeing is believing.

A short time later, Anna’s daughter was assaulted by unknown assailants who tried to break into her car. She miraculously escaped.

In September 2004 Politkovskaya traveled to Beslan to cover the drama of a secondary school taken over by Chechen and Ingush terrorists. On the flight from Moscow she drank a cup of tea and was struck down with symptoms of poisoning. Since no other passenger was hurt by the breakfast that Aeroflot’s diligent flight attendants provided during the flight, one can assume that poor Anna was very unlucky.

In Beslan, the drama culminated in a “regrettable toll”: more than 335 dead (156 of them children), some 200 missing and hundreds injured. Here is an excerpt from a chronicle of those days:

“At 09:30 local time on September 1, 2004 (the morning of the first day of fall classes), a group of about 30 armed people arrived in GAZ-el and GAZ-66 military trucks and broke into the College Secondary School Number One, whose students are between 7 and 18 years old. Most of the attackers wore black balaclavas and a few wore explosive belts. Following a shootout with police in which five officers were killed, the attackers took over the building, taking 1,181 people hostage, most of them minors. About fifty hostages managed to flee in the initial attack. There was confusion about the number of hostages in the school: the government claimed there were just over 350, but other sources put the number at 1,500. Later, several shots were heard coming from the building, which some thought were intended to intimidate Russian security forces. It was later revealed that the attackers had killed twenty adult men […] and their bodies had been dumped outside the building earlier that day. A terrorist detonated her explosive belt, apparently by mistake. No one else was injured.”

Oleg Panfilov, director of the Center for Journalism in Extreme Situation in Moscow, said that when the topic of whether there is honest journalism in Russia comes up, Politkovskaya’s name inevitably comes up in the conversation.

A few days ago Laura Aragó wrote in The vanguard: “Putin wants to win the military and informational war. As the tanks advance on Ukrainian territory, the authorities tighten their grip on the Russian media. Three days after the invasion, the executive ordered that the terms ‘invasion’, ‘attack’ or ‘declaration of war’ be withdrawn; […] the Kremlin blocked access to Facebook in the country in response to the “censorship” of Russian media accounts […] has also vetoed Twitterwho had become a speaker of ‘no to war’”

In the future, Anna’s chronicles will be the territory and the path to the truth, in the same way that eight decades later, Vasily Grossman’s chronicles reveal to us the brutalities of the Teutonic hordes in the same fields and valleys where today we witness the brutalities of the Russian hordes.

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