Britain's Frontline Club newsletter this month has an article about Anna Politkovskaya by former Telegraph Moscow correpondent Julius Strauss, who lays bear the horrors of the journalistic profession in Russia. The Frontline Club opened its doors soon after the Frontline Television News agency closed down. Frontline TV was created over Christmas lunch in the midst of the chaos and confusion of the Romanian revolution. It went on to become a key player in the independent fringe of television newsgathering. John Simpson stated: “Frontline will be remembered as one of the high peaks of journalism. Martha Gellhorn certainly thought so, and she was a pretty good judge.” The Club was set up by the surviving members of the original team of maverick cameramen, and dedicated to the memory of friends and colleagues who lost their lives gathering news and images from the world’s conflict zones. This history is reflected throughout the building in our changing photographic exhibitions. The current War and Protest exhibition is made up of iconic black and white from some of the world’s finest photographers, including the legendary Robert Capa. The Club quickly became a centre for a diverse group of people united by their passion for quality journalism and dedication to ensuring that stories that fade from headlines are kept in sharp focus. It exists to promote freedom of expression and support journalists, cameramen and photographers who risk their lives in the course of their work.
The article highlights the possiblity that the KGB either instigates attacks on Western journalists or stands idly by as they happen; it also highlights the KGB's continuing incompetence and continuing attempts to harrass can and control foreign journalists.
"Death of Critic"
Vancouver, November 3
It was an early morning phone call that let me know of the attack.
Issa, a friend in
Of the two men inside, one was badly wounded. He said that my trip to the mountains south of
Later that day Issa (not his real name) called again to say there were rumours of government involvement in the shooting. “Go back to
Sitting in my hotel in Vladikavkaz, a half hour drive from the scene of the Beslan school siege which had ended so tragically six months before, I was a little rattled but hardly suspicious.
Even in 2005, four years after the Kremlin had declared the pacification of the small mountainous republic complete, drive-by gunfire and random shootings were everyday occurrences in
Deep in the corridors of the slab-like building, the nerve centre of Lavrentia Beria’s famous purges of the 1950s and so much other Soviet repression, a senior official sauntered in in a worn gray suit.
“So you are the journalist who was shot up in
My mind raced. How did the FSB know about the shooting in
Casting aside some of the wilder theories that sprang to mind, there was an inescapable conclusion. Either
For many Western journalists based in
For Anna Politkokvskaya, probably
When Putin nominated Akhmed Kadyrov as his proxy, Politkovskaya cast a light on the killings and kidnappings he carried out in the Kremlin’s name. Later Kadyrov was blown a part by a bomb and his thuggish son Ramzan took over the levers of power – and terror – in
Such a commitment to a story is often thankless in a world where media attention flits giddily from one crisis to the next. For those who stay behind, the journalistic rewards inevitably diminish, but the risks only increase.
The results of Politkovskaya’s work was two seminal books on
In the dying years of the
In 2004 as she made her way to Beslan to try and help negotiate an end to the hostage crisis, she was almost certainly poisoned by the servants of the regime.
Then, this autumn, as she made her way home to her
During the last trip I made to the
Unfortunately, with Putin in the Kremlin, such abuses have become the norm.