Police investigators believe Anna Politkovskaya, a 48-year-old mother of two, was killed as she was getting out of an elevator at her apartment building in central Moscow on Saturday. She had two gunshot wounds, including one to the head, police said.
Politkovskaya had won international fame for exposing human-rights abuses by Russian soldiers in Chechnya. Her latest article on the subject, complete with photos of tortured bodies, was due to be published on Monday, according to Vitaly Yerushensky, the deputy editor of the Novaya Gazeta (New Journal).
Verushensky said the paper never received the article, but knew of the photographs.
The paper has offered a reward of almost $1 million for information about who killed Politkovskaya.
Politkovskaya stood out in a country where the Kremlin still exercises strong control over most media outlets.
Former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev, who partly owns the paper where Politkovskaya worked, called it a “savage” killing and “a blow to the entire democratic, independent press” in Russia.