Convicted Killer of Renowned Journalist Freed in Shocking Exchange for Service in Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine


Updated: 5:49 AM, Sun November 19, 2023

Russian Journalist’s Convicted Killer Freed in Controversial Exchange for Service in Ukraine Invasion

In a shocking move that has drawn widespread condemnation, the convicted murderer of renowned Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya has been set free in exchange for serving in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Sergei Khadzhikurbanov, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for his involvement in Politkovskaya’s murder, has been pardoned by President Vladimir Putin after joining the Russian army as a contracted fighter in Ukraine.

Anna Politkovskaya, a prominent investigative journalist and political commentator, was found shot dead in the elevator of her Moscow apartment building in October 2006. She had gained international recognition for her critical reports on human rights abuses in Chechnya, exposing the actions of both local authorities and independent groups. Her untimely death sparked outrage and led to her posthumous recognition as a World Press Freedom Hero by the International Press Institute (IPI).

The release of Khadzhikurbanov, who had been serving his sentence for Politkovskaya’s murder, has sparked outrage and condemnation from IPI and various human rights organizations. Scott Griffen, Deputy Director of IPI, strongly condemned Russia’s decision, stating that it is a reprehensible perversion of justice. Griffen emphasized that instead of serving his punishment for the murder, Khadzhikurbanov is now contributing to Russia’s illegal war in Ukraine, further exacerbating the injustice.

The two children of Anna Politkovskaya, Vera and Ilya, expressed their shock and disappointment at the news of Khadzhikurbanov’s release. In a joint statement with Novaya Gazeta, the newspaper Politkovskaya worked for, the children stated that they were not informed about the pardon. They believe that this so-called pardon does not demonstrate any atonement or repentance on the part of the killer, but rather stands as a monstrous act of injustice and a desecration of their mother’s memory.

It is worth noting that Khadzhikurbanov was one of six individuals sentenced for Politkovskaya’s murder, while the gunman, Rustam Makhmudov, received a life sentence. However, the mastermind behind the killing has yet to be identified, as investigators have been unable to determine who ordered the assassination. This lack of accountability has been criticized by human rights organizations, including the European Court of Human Rights, which stated in 2018 that Russian authorities had failed to adequately investigate and prosecute the individuals responsible for commissioning the murder.

The IPI has reiterated its call for a thorough investigation into Anna Politkovskaya’s murder, urging authorities to identify and prosecute all those involved in the crime, particularly those responsible for planning and ordering it. The shocking release of Khadzhikurbanov has only intensified the need for justice in this high-profile case.

The freeing of Politkovskaya’s convicted killer in exchange for his service in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has sparked international outrage and raised serious concerns about the perversion of justice. Supporters of press freedom and human rights will continue to demand a thorough investigation into Politkovskaya’s murder and the prosecution of all individuals involved, including those responsible for masterminding the crime.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Related to the Above News

When was Anna Politkovskaya murdered?

Anna Politkovskaya was tragically murdered in October 2006.

Who was responsible for her murder?

The gunman, Rustam Makhmudov, and five other individuals were convicted for their involvement in Anna Politkovskaya's murder.

What was Anna Politkovskaya known for?

Anna Politkovskaya was a renowned investigative journalist and political commentator. She gained international recognition for her critical reporting on the situation in Chechnya, highlighting human rights abuses committed by local authorities and independent groups.

How did the convicted murderer, Sergei Khadzhikurbanov, receive his freedom?

Sergei Khadzhikurbanov was freed as a reward for his participation in Russia's invasion of Ukraine. He was first recruited as a prisoner before being pardoned and allowed to join the Russian army as a contracted fighter.

Was it legal for Sergei Khadzhikurbanov to be pardoned while serving in the Russian army?

Yes, according to Russian legislation, Sergei Khadzhikurbanov received the pardon from President Vladimir Putin six months after joining the army.

Who has condemned the decision to release Sergei Khadzhikurbanov?

The International Press Institute (IPI) and its Deputy Director, Scott Griffen, have strongly condemned Russia's decision to release Khadzhikurbanov. The children of Anna Politkovskaya and Novaya Gazeta, in a joint statement, also expressed their shock and condemned the decision.

Has there been any progress in identifying the masterminds behind Anna Politkovskaya's murder?

No, despite convicting the group of men involved in the murder, investigators have failed to identify the person or persons who ordered the killing.

What has the European Court of Human Rights ruled regarding the investigation into Anna Politkovskaya's murder?

In 2018, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Russian authorities had not taken adequate investigatory steps to find the masterminds behind the crime.

What does the International Press Institute (IPI) call for in regards to Anna Politkovskaya's murder?

The IPI consistently calls for a thorough investigation into Anna Politkovskaya's murder and the prosecution of all those involved, particularly the masterminds behind the crime.

What concerns has the release of the convicted killer raised?

The release of the convicted killer as a reward for military service in Ukraine has raised concerns about justice, freedom of the press, and the rule of law in Russia. It has also emphasized the need for accountability and the protection of journalists who uncover the truth.

Please note that the FAQs provided on this page are based on the news article published. While we strive to provide accurate and up-to-date information, it is always recommended to consult relevant authorities or professionals before making any decisions or taking action based on the FAQs or the news article.

Sophia Anderson
Sophia Anderson
Sophia Anderson is an accomplished crime reporter at The Reportify, specializing in investigative journalism and criminal justice. With an unwavering commitment to uncovering the truth, Sophia fearlessly delves into the depths of criminal cases to shed light on the darkest corners of society. Her keen analytical skills and attention to detail enable her to piece together complex narratives and provide comprehensive coverage of high-profile trials, crime scenes, and law enforcement developments. Sophia's dedication to justice and her ability to present facts with clarity and sensitivity make her articles an essential resource for readers seeking an in-depth understanding of the criminal landscape. She can be reached at for any inquiries or further information.

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