IN OTHER WORDS : Brave heart

Colleagues of the murdered Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya put out a 16-page newspaper last Thursday with tributes to her investigations of human-rights abuses, excerpts from her writing, and a list of the 211 journalists who have been killed in Russia since 1992.

Backed by the independent Russian Union of Journalists as well as foreign journalists working in Russia, this expression of professional solidarity stood in stark contrast to the indifference of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who observed on the day of Politkovskaya’s funeral that her influence on political life in Russia had been “very minor.” Putin’s manipulation of the media was on display last Wednesday when he answered carefully culled questions from a nationwide TV audience of his subjects. Filtered queries received authoritative czar-like responses from Putin. His sole allusion to Politkovskaya was to answer a question about her assassination by saying it is “the obligation of the state” to complete investigations of “the killings of mass media representatives.”

In Russia, a Politkovskaya can only be thought of as a representative of an interest group, not as a brave woman who risked death to tell her compatriots about the crimes being committed

in their name, in Chechnya, by Putin’s Kremlin.