She represented the honor and conscience of Russia, and probably nobody will ever know the source of her fanatical courage and love of the work she was doing.
— Liza Umarova, Chechen singer
Colleagues helped put together the volume, Is Journalist Worth Dying For? about the intrepid Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, assassinated in 2006. The book contains writings from the last years of her life as well as stirring testimonies by those who knew her and respected her work.
For years she’d written about the horrors in Chechnya, which earned her the denunciation you’d expect from her own government. From Tolstoy to Solzhenitsyn, such dissidents are ever a thorn in the side of Russian power, which thinks it is, or should be, worthy only of praise.
Here is a small sample of her voice…
I have never sought my present pariah status and it make me feel like a beached dolphin. I am no political infighter.
I will not go into the other joys of the path I have chosen: the poisoning, the arrest, the embanking by mail and over the Internet, the telephoned death threats. The main thing is to get on with my job, to describe the life I see, to receive visitors every day in our newspaper’s offices who have nowhere else to bring their troubles, because the Kremlin finds they stories off-message. The only place they can be aired is in our newspaper, Novaya gazeta.
What am I guilty of? I have merely reported what I witnessed, nothing but the truth. 
Believe me, there is nothing more hateful than, in your own country, to feel that you are a target for shooting practice for parasites living it up, eating and drinking at your—a taxpayer’s—expense. And then they have the gall to denigrate you.  Read the rest of this entry »