Vladimir Putin has pardoned one of the killers of a leading Kremlin critic, saying the killer fought in Russia’s illegal war against Ukraine.
Sergei Khadzhikurbanov, 55, a Moscow police officer, was convicted in 2014 of organizing the murder of prominent journalist Anna Politkovskaya.
She was shot dead in her apartment building on October 7, 2006, at the age of 48.
A strong Kremlin critic and human rights activist, her death was seen as a twisted “gift” from a mastermind to the dictator.
She was particularly strong in her criticism of Putin’s actions in war-torn Chechnya.
Her murder sparked international outrage and was one of several shocking killings of Putin critics. Another was former Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov, who was shot near the Kremlin, a death also linked to lawless Chechnya.
Sergei Khadzhikurbanov, 55, a Moscow police officer, was convicted in 2014 of organizing the murder of prominent journalist Anna Politkovskaya
Anna Politkovskaya was shot dead in her apartment building in 2006, on October 7, on Putin’s birthday, at the age of 48
Putin pardoned the killer because he had fought in Russia’s illegal war against Ukraine
Khajikurbanov was one of five convicted of Politkovskaya’s murder, but the question of who masterminded her murder was never resolved, although suspicions focused on Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov and his top accomplices.
Putin denied ordering her murder.
Khajikurbanov would not leave prison until 2034, but was released from prison in 2022 to participate in Putin’s war.
He was quickly promoted to battalion commander on the front line.
Initially, as an intelligence agent, he ‘repeatedly went behind enemy lines’.
After six months, he was pardoned by Putin and his murder conviction was overturned.
He currently remains a commander in the Russian Armed Forces in Ukraine.
Politkovskaya’s family denounced the decision to release and pardon the murderer in a statement published by her newspaper Novaya Gazeta.
Russian President Vladimir Putin denied ordering the assassination of the prominent Kremlin critic
Khajikurbanov would not leave prison until 2034, but was released from prison in 2022 to participate in Putin’s war
Khadzhikurbanov was quickly promoted to battalion commander on the front line
“For us, this pardon is not proof of the murderer’s redemption and repentance,” they said.
Her work on Chechnya was continued by Natalya Estemirova, who was murdered three years later.
Putin has freed thousands of murderers, rapists and other hardened criminals to fight in Ukraine, granting them a blanket pardon if they survive for six months during the war.