Born Anna Mazepa in 1958, Anna Politkovskaya spent her early years in New York City where her Ukrainian parents worked as diplomats at the United Nations. Eventually, the family moved to Russia where Politkovskaya lived for most of her life, graduating in 1980 from Moscow State University with a degree in journalism. Her rise to notoriety came when she wrote columns for Novaya Gazeta, a paper renowned for strong, investigative reporting, from 1999 until her death in 2006.
Her accounts of Chechnya were gleaned from the experiences of average citizens to the violence of fighters and soldiers, and raised awareness of widespread corruption, human rights abuses, and suffering. Increasingly critical of then-Russian president Vladimir Putin, she also blamed governments of the West for not exploring the issues further.
Journalist Anna Politkovskaya was shot outside her Moscow apartment on October 7, 2006.