10 Arrested for Politkovskaya Murder

Itar-Tass is reporting the arrest of ten people related to the murder of investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya. (The Basmanny Moscow court originally gave the number as eight.) She was assassinated in her apartment building in Moscow last year on Putin’s birthday, October 7. Russian prosecutor-general Yuri Chaika today announced that “Ten people have been arrested in connection with this case and literally, in the very near future, they will be charged with carrying out this grave crime.” The Guardian has an early report. Vyacheslav Izmailov of Novaya Gazeta, the paper where Politkovskaya published her most important work on Russian abuses in Chechnya, is quoted as saying that Chechens were among those arrested, “but not only Chechens.”

Of course we welcome any progress, any sign of life at all, in the investigation into the killing of our friend and colleague. Hers was but the most prominent case of over a dozen murders of journalists critical of the Putin regime. It would be the first time to our knowledge that any progress has been made in any of these killings. Politkovskaya’s name has been largely stricken from the Kremlin-controlled mass media — as true after her murder as before it. It is a national shame that so few Russian journalists have risen to the defense of their own.

UPDATE FROM THE AP: “Chaika said the killing was set up by a Chechen native who led a Moscow organized crime ring that specialized in contract killings, Russian news agencies reported. According to the news agencies, he said people involved in Politkovskaya’s killing were also involved in the 2004 shooting death of American magazine editor Paul Klebnikov and the killing last year of Russian Central Bank deputy chief Andrei Kozlov.”

How convenient! It appears the Kremlin is ready to solve every politically-motivated assassination in the country in one day after years of inaction.