Journalist Anna Politkovskaya was murdered on Vladimir Putin’s birthday in 2006, as if the assassins were giving him a present for getting rid of this woman deemed an “enemy” of the state — the 13th journalist to have been murdered in Russia since Putin had come to power.
Her story is now being told in “Intractable Woman: A Theatrical Memo on Anna Politkovskaya,” an unconventional drama that marks the New York debut of Italian playwright Stefano Massini. In the play, as I explain in my article on the show for TDF Stages, three actresses share some of the horrors the journalist witnessed, and recreate a few of the shocking interviews she conducted while covering both sides of Russia’s war with the breakaway republic of Chechnya. “She is not portrayed as a noble hero,” says director Lee Sunday Evans. “But through the granular details of her journalism, we learn about her intellect and her incredible persistence.”
For her efforts to report the truth, Politkovskaya was interrogated by Russian security services, harassed, threatened, poisoned, and finally assassinated. A former police officer and five others were convicted of killing her, but her colleagues at Novaya gazeta are adamant: The case is not over until the person who ordered the killing is brought to justice.