Imagine Novaya gazeta with the Nobel medal on the banner

Novaya Gazeta Cover commemorating their journalist Anna Politkovskaya, who died 7 October eight years ago.

In the past-but-still-present Soviet times, leading newspaper proudly carried a set of awards – like the Order of the Red Star – on their front pages. I can just imagine the fiercely independent Novaya gazeta sporting the Nobel medal on its banner (just above the usual political cartoon) – as an added challenge to the revival of the Soviet symbolism and propaganda.

I wanted to write in this blog that there is far more to Novaya than its trademark defiant stance against creeping authoritarianism. The free spirit of this very special newspaper translates into sharp sports commentary, and spectacular photo galleries, and truly exciting culture section. Just take a look at this reflection on Thor Heyerdahl’s anniversary.

But then it hit me – today is October 7, and it means that eight years have passed since the day that Anna Politkovskaya was murdered returning home from another day in the Novaya office. In one of her drafts, there was a line: “Tomorrow is too capricious to be taken for granted, it may never come. Life ends in one second. It is here and now that matters.” Her colleagues continue fighting her battles for what is right and honorable, and remind the readers – and us, peace researchers – that for her the question mark was the sign of freedom.

She also has things to say about our today: “War is disgusting… When one looks through a gunsight, children become enemy combatants.”

Is that not a claim for the peace prize?

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