The assassination of Anna Politkovskaya (born 1958), the Russian journalist, writer and ... Her murder, which occurred on Vladimir Putin's birthday, was widely .... meant that FSB had returned to the old KGB practice of government-ordered ...
In December 2005, while attending a conference on freedom of the press organized by Reporters Without Borders in Vienna, Austria, Politkovskaya said: "People sometimes pay with their lives for saying aloud what they think. In fact, one can even get killed for giving me information. I am not the only one in danger. I have examples that prove it." She often received death threats as a result of her work, including being threatened with rape and experiencing a mock execution after being arrested by the military in Chechnya.
According to Russian state security officer Alexander Litvinenko, Politkovskaya asked him if her life was in imminent danger before the assassination. He confirmed the danger and recommended her to escape from Russia immediately. He also asserted that former presidential candidate Irina Hakamada warned Politkovskaya about threats to her life coming from Putin. Hakamada later denied her involvement in passing any specific threats, and said that she warned Politkovskaya only in general terms more than a year before her death. It remains unclear whether the warning by Litvinenko was related to an earlier statement made by Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky, who claimed that former Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Boris Nemtsov received word from Hakamada that Putin threatened her and like-minded colleagues in person. According to Berezovsky, Putin uttered that Hakamada and her colleagues "will take in the head immediately, literally, not figuratively" if they "open the mouth" about the Russian apartment bombings.
"This journalist was indeed a sharp critic of the present Russian authorities...but the degree of her influence over political life in Russia was extremely insignificant. She was well-known in journalistic circles, among human rights activists, in the West. I repeat, her influence over political life in Russian was minimal. And in my opinion murdering such a person certainly does much greater damage from the authorities’ point of view, authorities that she strongly criticized, than her publications ever did."
Possibly related events in the aftermath of her death
A week after the assassination, Alexander Litvinenko accused Putin of sanctioning the murder. Two weeks after this statement, Litvinenko was poisoned with radioactive polonium. Two days before his death on 24 November 2006, he wrote a statement, in case he "does not make it". He said:
"Name the bastard. Anna Politkovskaya did not do it, so I will, for both of us. You may succeed in silencing one man but the howl of protest from around the world will reverberate, Mr Putin, in your ears for the rest of your life. May God forgive you for what you have done, not only to me but to beloved Russia and its people".
According to some reports, Litvinenko tried to investigate Politkovskaya's death. He was also writing a book about FSB activities including concentration camps in Chechnya. In that regard, he had frequent contacts with Politkovskaya. Litvinenko's poisoning was remarkably similar to the thallium poisoning of KGB defector Nikolai Khokhlov, whom Politkovskaya had interviewed for Novaya Gazeta.
On 18 November 2006, former pro-government Chechen commander and FSB officer Movladi Baisarov wasshot dead in Moscow. Allegedly, Baisarov intended to give evidence that proved his political opponents' guilt of kidnapping and murder, and give testimony about Politkovskaya's assassination. Novaya Gazeta was preparing a publication linking Baisarov's murder with that of Anna Politkovskaya. Journalist Vyacheslav Izmailov, who worked closely with Politkovskaya on her stories about human rights abuses in Chechnya, said former GroznyMayor Beslan Gantamirov had come to Novaya Gazeta's offices two weeks after she was murdered and said armed men close to Ramzan Kadyrov had been sent to Moscow with orders to kill three people: Politkovskaya, Baisarov and Gantamirov.
On 20 November 2006, former KGB officer Oleg Gordievsky asserted that the murders of Zelimkhan Yandarbiev, Yuri Shchekochikhin, Politkovskaya, Litvinenko and others meant that FSB had returned to the old KGB practice of government-ordered political assassinations. Gordievsky was poisoned (but survived) in November 2007, allegedly by a Russian agent.
On 24 November 2006, the day of Litvinenko's death, Russian economist and politician Yegor Gaidar alleged he was poisoned after drinking a cup of tea.
It still remains unclear who ordered the assassination. Some speculations were fueled by the fact that she was killed on Putin's birthday. Historian Yuri Felshtinsky and political scientist Vladimir Pribylovsky commented  that none of the official suspects had personal motives to kill Politkovskaya.[dated info] This led them to suggest several possible contractors: "the central leadership of the secret service - as a birthday present for Putin" or "Ramzan Kadyrov, also as a birthday present for Putin, in the hopes of receiving a present in return - the presidency of Chechnya (the hope was realized)".