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Prominent Russian Journalist Who Criticized Chechnya War Shot Dead

A prominent Russian investigative journalist, known for her criticism of the Kremlin's policies toward war-torn Chechnya, was found shot dead on Saturday.

Authorities say a neighbor of Anna Politkovskaya found her dead in the hallway of the building where she lived in downtown Moscow. Police say the investigative journalist was shot several times by unknown assailants, and they are investigating her death as a premeditated murder.

Politkovskaya, who was in her 40s, had long worked for the opposition weekly Novaya Gazeta, or New Journal. She won fame for news articles and commentary pieces that largely focused on the long-running war in Chechnya.

She was known for her bravery working in dangerous conditions in the devastated Caucasus Mountain republic, where separatists have been at war with Russian forces for over a decade.

Her articles often focused on alleged atrocities committed by Russian forces in Chechnya, as well as corruption in the armed forces.

She won many awards for her work, including one from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Her editor, Dmitry Muratov, paid tribute to her after the the news of her death. He said Anna Politkovskaya was not afraid of anyone. He said she was completely professional in everything she did.

Politkovskaya was the author of several critical books, including one called, Dirty War: A Russian Reporter in Chechnya.

Two years ago, while flying to southern Russia to cover the Beslan school hostage-taking, she fell ill after sipping tea.

In 2002, Politkovskaya served as a mediator between police and Chechen rebels, who seized hundreds of hostages inside a Moscow theater.

Colleagues say she had received death threats in the past, but police say they have no concrete leads as to who might have killed her.