Nothing but the Truth

Nothing but the Truth, by Anna Politkovskaya, translated by Dr Arch Tait, Vintage, RRP£8.99, 468 pages

This “definitive” collection of journalism by Anna Politkovskaya, the remarkably courageous special correspondent for Moscow’s Novaya Gazeta newspaper, contains eye-watering reportage from the second Chechen war and dispatches on Russian despotism.

In October 2006, she was assassinated for speaking out against Russia’s military abuses, corrupt judiciary, racial oppression, use of torture and curtailed freedom of speech. Politkovskaya covers such grim material with brio even when, during one investigation, her subject issues a death threat.

Her style is impassioned, with satirical humour illuminating her accounts of Russia’s dysfunctional polity. Despite being poisoned en route to the 2004 Beslan siege and routinely harassed by state agents, she resists cynicism; a visit to a chapel on an Australian naval base in the Pacific kindles a sense of optimism that offsets her tirade against domestic injustice.

Her killer remains at large.

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