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In Memoriam. Aleksei Simonov remembers Anna Politkovskaya (Open Russia)

posted 12 Oct 2016, 23:31 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 19 Oct 2016, 09:09 ]
7 October 2016

Source: Moscow Helsinki Group (original source: Otkrytaya Rossiya)

By Aleksei Simonov, Head of the Glasnost Defence Foundation and Member of the Moscow Helsinki Group

An extracxt from: 'Ten years after the murder of Anna Politkovskaya, she is remembered by her friends and colleagues: Aleksei Simonov, Zoya Svetova, Aleksandr Cherkasov, Veronika Marchenko'

After Anya received the Sakharov Prize for “Journalism as a Deed,” I worked with her every year over the course of three years: in accordance with the rules of this prize, she became a member of its jury. 

Anya was notable for the decisiveness of her judgments and, to put it mildly, the peremptory tone in which she pronounced them. 

Towards the end of the third year of our work, it must be said, we being treated very generously. The prize’s founder, Piter Vins, set up our meetings in an Italian restaurant for the jury’s last sessions. There they served us delicious dishes, not all of which Anya could eat, since, after she was poisoned on the road to Beslan in 2004 she had significant dietary restrictions. 

We argued for a long time before coming to some kind of specific conclusion as to the laureate of the prize. When we finally reached our decision, Anya suddenly looked at everyone and said, “Listen, in my opinion Simonov’s making fools of us all.” 

Everyone asked, “And why is that?” 

Anya said: “Look, this time I haven’t fallen out with anyone.” 

At that moment, for the first time since we became acquainted, I looked at her through the eyes not just of a colleague but a man. She was so very beautiful. Unusually so. This, evidently, was the very same moment when a love story came into her life, and she blossomed. It was simply a pleasure to look at her. 

This was December 2005. A year before her murder.

Translated by Caroline Elkin