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Last Updated: Sunday, 8 October 2006, 15:33 GMT 16:33 UK
Russians remember killed reporter
People lay flowers at the entrance to the block of flats where journalist Anna Politkovskaya was killed in Moscow.
Mourners blamed the authorities for Politkovskaya's murder
Hundreds of people have gathered in central Moscow to pay tribute to prominent journalist Anna Politkovskaya - a day after she was murdered.

They lit candles and laid flowers. Some held posters describing the killing as politically-motivated.

The 48-year-old mother of two was known as a fierce critic of the Kremlin's actions in Chechnya.

Her death has been widely condemned in Russia and elsewhere. But there has been no word so far from the Kremlin.

Russia's prosecutor-general has personally taken charge of the murder investigation - focusing on possible links to her investigative reporting.

Anna Politkovskaya
Risk is a usual part of my job
Anna Politkovskaya

Ms Politkovskaya was due to publish an article on torture and kidnappings in Chechnya on Monday, her Novaya Gazeta has revealed.

Anna Politkovskaya was found shot dead on Saturday in a lift at her block of flats in the Russian capital, Moscow.

Grainy CCTV footage from the building shows a man in a baseball cap following her inside just before the shooting.

Police sources quoted by Russian media say Ms Politkovskaya was shot three times in the body and once in the head.

A Makarov pistol and four cartridges were reportedly found near her body.

Her newspaper is offering a $1m (534,000) reward for information to track down the killer.

Putin blamed

Mourners - some weeping - laid flowers outside Ms Politkovskaya's home, as hundreds gathered in Moscow's Pushkin Square and in the Chechen capital, Grozny, to condemn the murder.

CCTV image of the suspected killer broadcast by Russia's NTV channel
Russia's NTV channel has broadcast CCTV footage of a suspect

"Don't be silent," said a message written on a mask one of the protesters was wearing across her mouth to highlight allegations of press freedoms in Russia.

"The Kremlin has killed freedom of speech," said one of the posters at Pushkin.

Another said "Anna was killed by cannibalist state power."

Others blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin for the murder.

Ms Politkovskaya often wrote about human rights abuses in Chechnya and her last published article in Novaya Gazeta attacked pro-Moscow militia there.

Sept 2006 - first deputy chairman of Russia's central bank Andrei Kozlov shot dead in Moscow
Oct 2005 - former bank head Alexander Slesarev gunned down near Moscow
July 2004 - US editor of Forbes' Russian edition Paul Klebnikov shot dead in Moscow
Oct 2002 - Magadan governor Valentin Tsvetkov killed in Moscow
Nov 1998 - liberal MP Galina Starovoitova killed in St Petersburg
March 1995 - leading journalist Vladislav Listyev shot dead in Moscow

Ms Politkovskaya had received death threats in the past and suspicions were immediately raised that her death was a contract killing.

Ms Politkovskaya became ill with food-poisoning on her way to report on the Beslan school siege in 2004, which some believed to be an attempt on her life.

In 2001, she fled to Vienna, Austria, after receiving e-mail threats claiming a Russian police officer she had accused of committing atrocities against civilians wanted to take his revenge.

Security footage of the man police are hunting

The hitmen who stalk Russia
08 Oct 06 |  Europe
Russians win human rights prize
12 Jan 05 |  Europe
Country profile: Russia
05 Sep 06 |  Country profiles
Regions and territories: Chechnya
23 Aug 06 |  Country profiles

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