ANNA POLITKOVSKAYA

 

Anna Politkovskaya (Russian: Анна Политковская) (30 August 1958 – 7 October 2006)

A Russian Diary is the book Anna Politkovskaya had recently completed when she was murdered in a contract killing in Moscow. Covering the period from the Russian parliamentary elections of December 2003 to the tragic aftermath of the Beslan school siege in late 2005, A Russian Diary is an unflinching record of the plight of millions of Russians and a pitiless report on the cynicism and corruption of Vladimir Putin's presidency

 

 

Putin's Russia was awarded the inaugural PEN Literature in Translation Prize, 2010 at a ceremony at the Free Word Centre in London on 8 November 2010.

The citation reads “The Writers in Translation Committee has chosen Putin's Russia for its intelligence, lucidity, fearless commitment to the higher ideals of freedom of speech, and the quality of its translation.”

The award was established to celebrate the best book from the first five years of English PEN’s Writers in Translation programme.

More about Putin’s Russia

(Left) Elena Kudimova, Anna’s sister, at the PEN Award ceremony

 

  Anna Politkovskaya

Nothing But the Truth, Selected Dispatches

Translated by Arch Tait

Harvill Secker,London, 2010
Hardback GBP 18.99, $Can 36.95
ISBN 978-1-846-55239-7
468 pages

In bookshops now, or buy from Amazon call 0870 836 0875

Nothing But the Truth is a defining collection of Anna Politkovskaya’s best writing for Novaya gazeta, published between 1999 and 2006. Her dispatches demonstrate the great breadth of her reportage, from the Chechen wars to domestic Russian affairs, the Moscow theatre hostage-taking in which she became involved, the Beslan school siege, and pieces about politicians, oligarchs and ordinary citizens.

She gives illuminating accounts of interviews and encounters with western leaders including Lionel Jospin, Tony Blair, George W. Bush, and exiled figures including Boris Berezovsky, Akhmed Zakayev, and Vladimir Bukovsky. Her non-political writing is also represented here, revealing her delightful personality, as are international reactions to her murder.

“Like all great investigative reporters, Anna Politkovskaya brought forward human truths that rewrote the official story. We will continue to read her, and learn from her, for years.”
Salman Rushdie

“The risks she took were terrifying but the intense reality she portrays is breathtaking.”
Jon Snow

“Her murder is a ghastly act, and an attack on world literature.”
Nadine Gordimer

“Beyond mourning her, it would be more seemly to remember her by taking note of what she wrote.”
James Meek

 

  Anna Politkovskaya

A RUSSIAN DIARY


Translated by Arch Tait

Harvill Secker, London, 2007

Hardback GBP 17.99, $Can 42.50
ISBN 978-1-8465-5102-4
323 pages

Buy from The Guardian (UK) or call 0870 836 0875

Suppression of freedom of speech, of expression, reaches its savage ultimate in the murder of a writer. Anna Politkovskaya refused to lie, in her work; her murder is a ghastly act, and an attack on world literature.
Nadine Gordimer

It is a blow to the entire democratic, independent press. It is a grave crime against the country, against all of us.
Mikhail Gorbachev

Putin is re-elected as president in farcically undemocratic circumstances and yet Western leaders, reliant on Russia's oil and gas reserves, continue to pay him homage. Anna, however, offers a chilling account of his dismantling of the democratic reforms made in the 1990s. Independent television, radio and print media are suppressed, opposition parties are forcibly and illegally marginalised, and electoral law is changed to facilitate ballot-rigging. Yet she also criticises the inability of liberals and democrats to provide a united, effective opposition and a population slow to protest against government legislative outrages.

Clear-sighted, passionate and marked with the humanity that made Anna Politkovskaya a heroine to readers throughout the world, "A Russian Diary" is a devastating portrait of contemporary Russia by a great and brave writer.
Publishers Weekly, May 2007:

Internationally known as one of the few Russian journalists fearless enough to report Russian news independent of Kremlin spin, she was a relentless and vociferous critic of Putin, reporting on his abuses in the Chechen war and his attempts to retract Russia's fledgling democratic freedoms.

Covering December, 2003 to August, 2005, Politkovskaya records with dismal and sardonic exactitude the encroaching power of the State, dismantling private businesses, shuttering media outlets and squeezing more money out of its citizens, practically plunging the country into Communist-era conditions. Both the farcical policies and individual crimes of the government are documented and scrutinized: instituting life sentences for suicide bombers, as well as the attempted cover up of the killing of an 18-year-old private soldier beaten to death by his superiors.

Rounding out the bleak scene are opposition parties that prove fractious, disorganized, craven and predictably willing to sacrifice principle for power. Politkovskaya suffers nobly—and eloquently—in this semi-daily account, yet one must wonder how similarly she would have suffered amidst the capitalist excesses of the West.

A rare and intelligent memoir—if an entirely depressing one—this will give readers a detailed look into Russia's everyday march towards totalitarianism.

 

  Anna Politkovskaya

Putin’s Russia


Translated by Arch Tait

The Harvill Press, London, 2004

Paperback, GBP 8.99,$Can 23.95
ISBN 1-84343-050-9
291 pages

In bookshops now or buy from AMAZON

Click here for The Guardian's review by Angus Macqueen.

A devastating appraisal of the policies of Russia's Head of State by that country's leading radical journalist.

Internationally admired for her fearless reporting, especially on the Chechen wars, award-winning journalist Anna Politkovskaya turned her steely gaze on the man who, until very recently, was a darling of the Western media. A former KGB spy, Vladimir Putin was named President of Russia in 2000. From the moment he entered the public arena, he marketed himself as an open, enlightened leader eager to engage with the West. Unlike many European and American journalists and politicians, Politkovskaya never trusted Putin's press image.

She tells the story of his iron grip on Russian life from the point of view of individual citizens whose situations have been shaped by his unique brand of tyranny. Mafia dealings, scandals in the provinces, military and judiciary corruption, the decline of the intelligentsia, the tragic mishandling of the Moscow theatre siege - all are subject to Politkovskaya's pitiless but invariably humane scrutiny.

“PUTIN'S RUSSIA” was chosen by PEN International to launch its Writers in Translation programme.

“To fall silent now would be to play into the hands of Anna’s killers, to bury her a second time, and to allow her life to be dismissed. That cannot be allowed to happen. One can’t allow oneself to be afraid.”
Tatyana Lokshina, Director of the Demos human rights centre, Moscow

Timur Aliev, a Chechen journalist writing from Grozny, recalls the part Anna Politkovskaya played in his life – and that of many others. An Extraordinary Life. Caucasus Reporting Service, the Institute of War and Peace Reporting, 11 October 2006.

Anna Politkovskaya played a unique role in Russia as the defender of ordinary people’s rights - especially those of Chechens.
Thomas de Waal, Remembering a Lone Defender of Justice. Caucasus Reporting Service, 11 October 2006.

 

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