August 13, 2018

A Timeline of Anna Politkovskaya’s Life and the Second Chechen War

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August 30, 1958 – Soviet-national Anna Stepanova Mazepa (known professionally as Anna Politkovskaya) is born in New York City, the second daughter of two Ukrainian diplomats posted to the UN.


1979 – Anna marries fellow journalist Alexander Politkvosky, who specializes in television broadcasts. She takes the surname Politkovskaya. Their marriage lasted several years before dissolving due to her dangerous job and regular travel.


1980 – Anna graduates from Moscow State University’s journalism school. By now, she and her husband already have two children, daughter Vera, and son Ilya.


1985– Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev installs the Glasnostpolicy, promoting openness and freedom of the press. This inspires many independent journalists to start their own newspapers.


August 17-21, 1991 – Fearing that President Gorbachev signing the New Union Treaty will bring an end to the Soviet Union, several high ranking Soviet officials stage a coup d’état to replace Gorbachev. After several days of civilian and political protests, the coup is called off. However, as a consequence of the uprising Gorbachev is eventually forced to resign.

December 31, 1991 – The Soviet Union is dissolved, replaced by the Russian Federation.


April 1, 1993– Novaya Gazeta, the revolutionary independent newspaper that continues to defy the government today, is founded in Moscow.


December 11, 1994 – Chechnya, a republic of Russia, declares its independence. Russia immediately mobilizes its military, beginning the First Chechen War. Russian soldiers quickly capture the Chechen capital of Grozny.


June 14-19, 1995 – The Budyonnovsk Hospital Hostage Crisis: A group of Chechen extremists attack the Russian town of Budyonnovsk, taking over 1000 hostages from the hospital. They threaten to execute every hostage unless Russia withdraws from Chechnya. After several failed rescue missions, Russia promises to halt all military movements in Chechnya.


January 9-18, 1996 – Chechen extremists attack Kizlyar, Dagestan, taking over 1000 hostages in a hospital, demanding that Russia leave Chechnya for good. After most hostages are released, Dagestan’s Interior Minister promises the rebels safe passage home, where they can use hostages are human shields to protect themselves from the Russians. However, the Chechens are ambushed on the way back, and take over the village of Pervomayskoye. Eventually, Russia levels the village with mortars.


April 21, 1996 – Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudayev is killed by a missile locked onto his satellite phone.


August 6-22, 1996 – The Battle of Grozny: Chechen guerillas retake Grozny, and the resulting battle leaves the city in ruins. Thousands of Chechen refugees fleeing the city are gunned down by Russian troops. The UN demands a ceasefire but is ignored. Finally, Russian President Boris Yeltsin declares a ceasefire, and Russia agrees to withdraw from Chechnya permanently.

August 31, 1996 – The Khasav-Yurt Accord is signed, ending the First Chechen War on terms favorable to Chechnya. Russia retreats.


June 1999 – Anna Politkovskaya begins working for the Novaya Gazeta newspaper.


August 16, 1999 – Vladimir Putin becomes Prime Minister of Russia.


August 26, 1999 – The Second Chechen War begins as the Russian military clashes with Chechen soldiers trying to bring Radical Islam into Dagestan.


September 4-24, 1999 – Over 300 people are killed in a series of bombings in Russian apartment buildings. The FSB (Russia’s secret service) blame the bombings on Osama bin Laden, whom they accuse of supporting Chechen extremist groups. When a civilian sees three men moving bags of powder into an apartment basement, he calls the police, and the FSB announces that an attack was averted. Two suspects are arrested, but turn out to be FSB agents. The FSB subsequently claims that the averted attack was merely a test of the public’s alertness, there are no further attacks.


October 1999– The Chechen terrorist group Riyadus-Salikhin is founded.


December 31, 1999 – Russian President Boris Yeltsin steps down, naming Vladimir Putin as Acting President of Russia.

March 26, 2000 – Putin is officially elected President of Russia.


May 12, 2000 – Novaya Gazeta journalist, and Anna’s colleague, Igor Domnikov is brutally attacked and dies a few months later from brain injuries sustained in the attack.


February 18, 2001 – Anna Politkovskaya has been investigating claims of FSB agents torturing Chechen villagers. After touring the prisoner pits, she is detained by the same soldiers she was investigating. She is beaten, starved, and put through a mock execution.

February 22, 2001 – Anna is released from detention and brought back to Moscow. She publishes an article detailing her experience soon after.


June 21, 2001 – Anna’s book “The Dirty War” is published, the first account of the Second Chechen War to be published by a Russian woman.


January 1, 2002 – Anna’s second book, “A Small Corner of Hell: Dispatches from Chechnya” is published, detailing the day to day hardships plaguing Chechen citizens caught in the crossfire.


October 23, 2002 – Dubrovka Theater Takeover: 50 Riyadus-Salikhin terrorists take several hundred hostages in a Moscow theater. They demand that Russia end the Second Chechen War, or they will blow up the entire building. Because she is known to them through her writing, they ask that Anna act as a negotiator. She only manages to bring the hostages refreshments.

October 26, 2002 – Russian Special Forces gas the theater to incapacitate everyone inside before storming the building, killing all the hostage-takers. Close to 200 hostages die because they didn’t receive proper medical care in time.


December 27, 2002 – Two Riyadus-Salikhin suicide bombers drive trucks laden with explosives into a Grozny military headquarters.


July 3, 2003 – Novaya Gazeta journalist, and Anna’s colleague, Yuri Shchekochikhin dies of a suspected poisoning. The official cause of death is labeled as a severe allergic reaction.


October 5, 2003 – Former Chechen rebel turned Russian loyalist Akhmad Kadyrov is elected President of Chechnya in an election that many believe was rigged by President Putin.


March 14, 2004 – Vladimir Putin is elected to his second term as President of Russia.


May 9, 2004 – Riyadus-Salikhin plants a bomb in Grozny stadium, assassinating Chechen President Kadyrov.


September 1, 2004 – Beslan School Siege: Over 30 Riyadus-Salikhin terrorists take over 1000 hostages at a school in Beslan, North Ossetia.

September 2, 2004 – Anna plans to fly to Beslan to help with negotiations. After being put on a specific plane under FSB orders, she is poisoned.

September 3, 2004 – After claiming to hear explosives being detonated, Russian Special Forces storm the school, starting a firefight that kills over 300 hostages and all but one terrorists, who is later captured.


October 5, 2004 – Anna interviews Chechen Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrov, son of assassinated President Akhmad Kadyrov. He openly admits to ordering the deaths of countless rebels. After Anna publishes the interview word for word Ramzan threatens her for portraying him in a negative light.


July 2006 – Anna’s daughter Vera becomes pregnant, and Anna decides that as soon as her grandchild is born, she’ll stop reporting on war and live more peacefully.


October 7, 2006 – As Anna returns from food shopping for her pregnant daughter, she is shot in the head and the chest in the lobby of her Moscow apartment building. She was about to release another story about torture and human rights violations in Chechnya. Police seize all her papers and computers. Ramzan Kadyrov denies any connection to her murder.

Author: ArtistIntern
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