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Give the Peace Prize to Politkovskaya

Gerd Koenen and Norbert Schreiber call for the 2007 Peace Prize of the German Book Trade to be awarded to murdered Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya

As an extraordinary gesture, the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade for the year 2007 should be awarded posthumously to Anna Stepanova Politkovskaya, the Russian journalist and author who was assassinated last year. She was not only a model of boldness, engagement and civil courage in the struggle for peace, justice and truth. Her articles, books and journals, written in the hurly-burly of everyday political life, evinced a promising literary talent. Her cold-blooded, planned "liquidation" was designed to silence not only a voice critical of arbitrary government power and a fearless fighter for a civil society, but also an important author.

From her own distinct vantage point, Anna Politkovskaya tirelessly documented and attacked the further trampling of Russia's already endangered freedom of the press, the corruption of its social and political life, the destruction of its nascent rule of law, the instigation of racist rioting inside Russia itself, as well as the nearly commonplace use of torture and murder in the war in Chechnya. In so doing, she repeatedly put her life and health at risk in the face of ongoing threats.

In her books and articles, she by no means restricted herself to exposing the methods and mechanisms of the Kremlin's "controlled democracy" and the day-to-day abuses of power by Russia's bureaucrats, justice system and security services. She also fearlessly underscored the outrageous indifference, or even support, of the majority of Russians for this renewed muzzling of their country's government, economy and society, describing it as a self-deprivation of decision-making power born of fear and hysteria.

On top of all that, Anna Politkovskaya also accused Western governments and societies of ignoring the daily massacres and human rights violations in Chechnya, whether from indifference or out of self-interested economic and political motives, especially with regard to the struggle against Islamist terrorism. They had not, she insisted, grasped that this war is a disaster for Russia, the Russian Federation, and all of the so-called "post-Soviet region."

Few individuals have so selflessly and uncompromisingly invested all their literary and investigative abilities, as well as their entire professional career, in the service of an incorruptible sense of justice, a passionate advocacy of human rights and the rights of minorities, of peace and understanding, as Anna Politkovskaya did.

The awarding of the Peace Prize would be a visible sign that the works and the example emanating from a person like her cannot simply be silenced by a contract killing, no matter how coldly and "professionally" it is executed, but rather that her voice will continue to be heard beyond her death. The granting of this prize to Politkovskaya would by no means be a gesture of "hostile criticism" directed at Russia as a whole, but on the contrary, a sign of hopeful expectations for this country, its people and its culture. And finally, author and human rights advocate Anna Politkovskaya would be one more radiant figure in the ranks of those who have received this award.

The petition has been signed by:

Ackermann, Ulrike, Frankfurt am Main
Aguigah, Rene, editor of Literaturen, Berlin
Ammer Thomas, Euskirchen
Ammer, Vera, Euskirchen
Andrukhovych, Yuri, Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine
Aretkulova, Zaytuna, Frankfurt am Main
Arnim, Gabriele von, Berlin
Auer Borea d'Olmo, Gertraud, general secretary of the Bruno Kreisky Forum, Vienna
Baberowski, Prof. Jörg, Institute for Eastern European History, Humboldt University Berlin
Barbov, Nikolai
Beck, Volker, Member of Parliament for the Green Party, Berlin
Beckmann, Lukas, Member of Parliament for the Green Party, Berlin
Bednarz, Klaus, WDR, Cologne
Behrends, Jan C., Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin
Belzer-Lissjutkina, Larissa, Berlin
Beyrau, Prof. Dietrich, Institute für Eastern European History, Univ. Tübingen
Biermann, Wolf, Hamburg
Bisultanov, Apti, writer, former vice minister for Social Affairs in Grosny, currently in exile
Boehncke, Heiner, Professor of German Studies, Frankfurt am Main
Bohleber, Werner, Publisher of Psyche, Frankfurt am Main
Borikov, Ilia, Köln
Boy, Rüdiger
Breitmeier, Helmut, political scientist at the TH Darmstadt
Broder, Henryk M., Berlin,
Brok, Elmar, European Parliament, Brussels
Bruckner, Pascal, Paris
Bruhns, Wibke, Berlin
Brumlik, Prof. Micha, Universität Frankfurt am Main
Bührig, Ingrid, Duncker and Humblodt GmbH, Berlin
Bütikofer, Reinhard, Chairman of the Green Partry, Berlin
Busek, Erhard, former vice-chancellor, Stabilitätspakt Südosteuropa, Vienna
Chaplet, Anne, Hamburg
Chervel, Thierry, Perlentaucher, Berlin
Cohn-Bendit, Daniel, Co-President of the Green Party/EFA in the European Parliament, Frankfurt am Main
Dalos, György, Budapest/Berlin
Dammann, Rüdiger, Berlin
Dedekind, Konstantin, Braunschweig
Dickhofen, Ruth, former Moscow correspondent ARD, Köln
Diecks, Thomas, Berlin
Dittfurth, Christian von, Ahrensbök
Döschner, Jürgen, WDR, Cologne
Drnovšek, Janez President of Slovenia, Ljubliana
Drozda, Thomas, Burgtheater, Vienna
Dursthoff, Galina, Cologne
Dursthoff, Lutz, Kiepenheuer & Witsch publishers, Köln
Ehling, Holger, Book Media, Frankfurt am Main
Engelhard, Karla, WDR, Cologne
Engelmann, Peter, Passagen publishers, Vienna
Erdelitsch, Walter, ORF, Wien
Esser, Isolde, Bergisch-Gladbach
Esser, Rainer, Bergisch-Gladbach
Faure, Ulrich, Buchmarkt, Wiesbaden
Fein, Elke, Seminar Eastern European History, Freiburg
Felken, Detlef, C.H. Beck publishers, München
Fensch, Edda, Christoph Links publishers Berlin
Flecker, Kurt, Stellv. Landeshauptmann, Steiermark
Föger, Benedikt, Czernin publishers, Vienna
Fretter, Dagmar, Pendo publishers, Munich
Fühner, Ruth, HR, Frankfurt am Main
Fulda, Angelika
Gadermaier, Klaus, Czernin publishers, Vienna
Garton Ash, Prof. Timothy, European Studies, St. Anthony’s College, Oxford
Geyer, Dietrich, Prof. em. Eastern European History, Tübingen
Geyer, Stefan, Suhrkamp publishers, Frankfurt am Main
Glucksmann, André, Paris
Grabner, Franz, ORF, Vienna
Graf, Karin, Berlin
Greb, Esther, Cologne
Grünewald, Jörn, Memorial Deutschland, Berlin
GruÅ¡a Jiři, Präsident PEN, Direktor der Diplomatischen Akademie, Vienna
Gussejnov, Gasan, Forschungsstelle Osteuropa, Bremen
Hackländer, Barbara, Berlin
Happe, Nina, Foundation for Remembrance, Responsibility, Future, Berlin
Happel, Volker, Frankfurt am Main
Hartges, Marcel, Du Mont publishers, Cologne
Hartig, Ulrich, International Refugee Museum, Oldenburg
Haupt, Nils, Frankfurt am Main
Hausmann, Prof. Guido, Dublin
Heidenrich, Elke, "Lesen" ZDF
Heinzig, Dieter, Erftstadt
Held, Monika, Frankfurt am Main
Herder, Thomas, Solingen
Hering-Herber, Helene
Herles, Wolfgang, ZDF Aspekte, Berlin
Herrmann, Dagmar, Kopelew Forum, Cologne
Hettche, Thomas, Autor, Berlin
Heusch, Peter, HR, Frankfurt am Main
Hilger Prof. Ernst, University for Applied Arts, Vienna
Höhn, Maria, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, N.Y. / USA
Hövermann, Marianne, D.R. Kongo
Holzapfel, Hartmut, SPD, Cultural Minister of Hessen a.D., Frankfurt am Main
Hopfmüller, Gisela, ORF, Vienna
Hrebicek, Lore, ORF, Vienna
Hübner, Peter, Bad Honnef
Isari, Andrea, Frankfurt am Main
Jankowski, Jaromir, Deutsche Welle Cologne, Bonn
Jaroschka, Prof. Dr. Lili, Innsbruck
Jasper, Prof. Willi, Universität Potsdam
Jebram, Peter, Munich
Jebram, Stefanie, Piper publishers, Munich
Jung, Wolfi
Kacandes, Irene, Darmouth Coll., Hanover, N.H. / USA
Kaltwasser, Vera, Frankfurt am Main
Kaufhold, Roland, Köln
Keko, Srdjan, Dusseldorf
Kelek, Necla, Berlin
Kerbler, Michael, ORF, Vienna
Kirchner, Tatjana, Agentur für Presse und Öffentlichkeitsarbeit, Berlin
Klose, Ulrich, SPD MdB, Hamburg
Klotz, Wolfgang und Bea, Central Eastern Europeon Online Library (CEEOL), Frankfurt am Main
Knauss, Sibylle, Filmakademie Ba-Wü, Remseck
Koch, Evelyn, Bonn
Koch, Tanit, Hamburg
Kochen, Prof. Michael M., Medizin. Fak., Univ. Hanover
Koenen, Gerd, Frankfurt am Main
Kolb, Ulrike, Frankfurt am Main
Koljasin, Vladimir, Moscow
Koneffke, Jan, Berlin
Konskaja, Olga, Filmproduktion Dreamscanner, Berlin
Korn, Karl-Heinz, Kopelew Forum, Cologne
Kröber, Burkart, Spokesman for the German Literature Conference, Munich
Krug, Gerhard, Hamburg
Kugler, Jutta, Suhrkamp publishers, Frankfurt am Main
Kumpfmüller, Michael, Berlin
Kunstmann, Antje, Verlag A. Kunstmann, München
Kuonio, Martina, Literaturspur, Lenzburg/Switzerland
Lahann, Birgit, Hamburg
Lämmel, Frank, Munich
Läpple, Christhard, ZDF Aspekte, Berlin
Lang, Helmut, Verlag H. Lang, Münster
Laumer, Ralf, Media-Kontakt, Marburg,
Lehmann, Gudrun, Dusseldorf
Lenkh, Georg, Foreign Ministry, Vienna
Leupold, Gabriele, Berlin
Liebelt, Ben, Berlin
Lingelsheim, Karla von
Links, Christoph, Chr. Links publishers, Berlin
Linzen, Lothar, Chemnitz
LipuÅ¡, Florjan, Kärnten
Liublina, Natalia, Berlin
Loch, Harald, Berlin
Loch, Henrietta, Kassel
Lorenz, Wolfgang, Informationsdirektor ORF, Vienna
Luft, Maria, Bremen
Lunde, Ingunn, Univ. of Bergen, Norway
Lustiger, Prof. Arno, Frankfurt am Main
Maaß, Ekkehard, German-Caucasian Association, Berlin
Maier, Barbara, Alpen-Adria Universität, Klagenfurt-Celovec
Manz, Margrit, Intendantin Literaturhaus Basel
Margwelaschwili, Giwi, Berlin
Markaris, Petros, Athens
Markwort, Helmut, Editor-in-chief, Focus, München
Martin, Reinhard, Vienna
Maron, Monika, Berlin
Mayerhoffer, Sissy, Sales Director ORF, Vienna
Mehlhorn, Ludwig, Ev. Akademie Berlin
Meier-Beck, Annika
Merz, Gerhard, Munich
Mikich, Sonia, Magazin Monitor ARD, Cologne
Mitsche, Willy, Radio Director ORF, Vienna
Moehring, Rubina, president of Reporters without Borders, Austira
Moosmann, Peter, Technischer Direktor ORF, Vienna
Müller-Heusch, Monika
Müller, Werner, Cologne
Nasyrova, Aksu, University Vienna, "Human Rights Center" Kasan
Nekrasov, Andrei, filmmaker and dramaturg
Nellen, Klaus, Redaktion Transit, Inst. for Human Sciences, Vienna
Neudeck, Rupert, Cap Anamur, Grünhelme, Köln
Nirumand, Bahman, Berlin
Nix, Jochen, Frankfurt am Main
Oberhauser, Elmar, Informationsdirektor ORF, Wien
Oelcker, Petra, Frankfurt am Main
Ohst, Gudrun, Berliner Festspiele, Berlin
Pantelouris Gisela, Vienna
Paulsen, Martin, Univ. of Bergen, Norwegen
Pelzer, Bert und Charlotte, Cologne
Petritsch, Wolfgang, Permanent Mission of Austria to the United Nations, Geneva
Pfaff, Victor, RA, Frankfurt am Main
Pflüger, Friedbert, Chairman CDU Fraktion in the House of Representatives , Berlin
Pohl, Michaela, Vassar College, N.Y. / USA
Pohle, Barbara T., Berliner Festspiele, Berlin
Pomikalko, Ellen, Kalübbe
Popovic, Nenad, Durieux publishers, Zagreb
Poppe, Ulrike, Ev. Akademie Berlin
Pott, Marcel, Nahost-Korr. ARD, Bonn
Prantner, Thomas, Onlinedirektor ORF, Vienna
Preußger, Nancy, Verein Perspektiven, Berlin
Pross, Prof. Harry, Cologne
Quadflieg, Roswitha, Hamburg/Freiburg
Quistorp, Eva, Berlin
Radisch, Iris, DIE ZEIT, Hamburg
Radziejowska-Hahn, Waleria, Lew Kopelew Forum, Köln
Reichard, Martin, Vienna
Reith, Elvira, Cologne
Reith, Mechthild, Frankfurt am Main
Reul, Sabine, Frankfurt am Main
Reyf, Edgar, Frankfurt am Main
Rodriguez Cardenas, Nicole, HR-online, Frankfurt am Main
Roesen, Tine, University of Bergen, Norway
Roth, Claudia, Chairman of the Green Party, Berlin
Roth, Thomas, Hauptstadtstudio der ARD, Berlin
Rotter, Kirstin, Piper publishers, Munich
Ruge, Elisabeth, Berlin publishers, Berlin
Ruske, Lothar, Frankfurt am Main
Ryklin, Michail, Moscow
Sabin, Stefana, Frankfurt am Main
Sager, Dirk, ZDF, Berlin
Sander, Martin, DLF, Berlin
Sattler, Dieter, Frankfurter Neue Presse, Frankfurt am Main
Schädlich, Hans Joachim, Berlin
Schafermann, Anna
Schiller, Ulrich, ehem. ARD-Korr. Moskau, Cologne
Schirrmacher, Frank, Publisher of the FAZ, Frankfurt am Main
Schlingmann Daniela, London
Schlögel, Prof. Karl, Inst. für osteurop. Geschichte, Viadrina Frankfurt/Oder
Scholl Susanne, ORF Moscow / Kreisky Forum Vienna
Scholle, Hanna, Lünen
Schor-Tschudnowskaja, Anna, HSFK, Memorial Deutschland, Darmstadt
Schreiber, Elliott, Vassar College, N.Y. / USA
Schreiber, Norbert, HR, Frankfurt am Main
Schuler, Nora, Köln
Schwarzenberg, Fürst Karl, Foreign Minister of the Czech Repupblic
Schwinn, Florian, editor-in-chief CUT, Frankfurt am Main
Siedler, Wolf Jobst junior, wjs publishers, Berlin
Siebert, Diana, Die Grünen NRW, Köln
Siegert, Jens, Heinrich Böll Foundation Moscow
Silberbach, Peter, Ministerialrat a.D., Kaarst
Skolč, Jože, fromer President, MdP, Slowenia
Sperl Gerfried, Der Standard, Vienna
Spreen, Christine, Kiel
Stagnienko, Michael, Heinrich Böll Foundation, Berlin
Strassner, Alexander, Universität Passau
Strobl, Pius, ORF, Vienna
Thum, Gregor, Univ. of Pittsburgh, P.A. / USA
Thebradt, Jürgen, Stellv. Editor-in-chief WDR, Köln
Theweleit, Klaus, Freiburg
Torossi, Eleni, Munich
Venske, Regula, Hamburg
Vetter, Reinhold, Korr. Handelsblatt, Warschau
Vranitzky, Franz, Bundeskanzler a.D., Vienna
Wagner, Gottfried, European Cultural Foundation, Brüssel
Waldner-Petutschnig, Karin, Carinthia publishers, Graz
Wenner, Barbara, Berlin
Wenzel, Uwe Justus, NZZ, Zürich
Westenberger, Rudolf, Frankfurt am Main
Wickert, Ullrich, ARD "Wickerts Bücher", Hamburg
Wickert, Roderik, cine plus news, Berlin
Wickert, Wolfram, Berlin
Wiekenberg, Sabine, Berlin
Wiener, Sarah, Berlin
Wieser, Lojze, Wieser publishers, Klagenfurth/Celovec
Willand, Jutta, Eichborn publishers, Frankfurt am Main
Wrabetz, Alexander, Generaldirektor ORF, Wien
Zarusky, Jürgen, Institut für Zeitgeschichte, München
Zielinski, Adam, Vienna
Zylla, Elsbeth, Heinrich Böll Foundation, Berlin


The appeal originally appeared in German in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on February 10, 2007.

Gerd Koenen is a journalist and historian. Norbert Schreiber's "Anna Politowskaja - Chronik eines angekündigten Mordes" (Anna Politkovskaya - chronicle of an announced murder) will be published in 2007 by Wieser Verlag.

Translation: Myron Gubitz.

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