Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 2 Issue: 42

The award-winning Russian war correspondent for the newspaper Novaya Gazeta, Anna Politkovskaya, who has been temporarily sent out of Russia by her editorial board due to credible death threats made against her, has been on a book promotion tour in the United States. On November 14 she published an op-ed in the Washington Post in which, among other things, she cautioned: “Chechnya provides the yeast for the growth of the great-power mentality, the basis of Putin’s state morality. For that reason, Putin forgives the army for committing daily crimes and atrocities. In fact, by providing the ideological basis for its active struggle with Islamic extremists, Putin encourages the military’s addiction to criminal irresponsibility in Chechnya.”

Several days later, on November 19, Politkovskaya participated in an Internet chat forum organized by the Digital Freedom Network (dfn.org). Asked what question or comment she would like to put to President Putin during his appearance that evening on National Public Radio, she replied: “I will not call in, but I would ask: ‘Why don’t you want to stop the war in Chechnya?’ I think he does not stop [the war] because it is useful for him.” Politkovskaya went on to predict that military operations would in fact continue in Chechnya until the year 2004. “Why 2004?” she was asked. Because, she replied, “In 2004, there will be another presidential election.”