Radio Review: Anna’s War, Radio 4

“Some of your publications aren’t exactly patriotic” 

Sadly, the oppressive nature of the ruling Russian regime is nothing new, as journalist Anna Politkovskaya found out to her cost when she was murdered in 2006. Up until then, she had been truly fearless, in a way that few of us could ever hope to dream of, in exposing and investigating the murkily complex relationship between Russia and Chechnya. Lizzie Nunnery’s play Anna’s War dramatizes five key moments from her life, demonstrating the personal cost of so courageous a life.

Nunnery’s bite-sized approach makes it an ideal fit for the 15 minute drama slot on Radio 4. So we see her experiences as an investigative journalist helping to evacuate nearly 100 people from an abandoned old people’s home and then discovering the atrocities committed by Russian soldiers on Chechen mountain villagers, to the perhaps better known terrorist attacks on a Moscow theatre and the siege of Beslan school – her reputation for relentless truthseeking and opposition to the Chechen conflict increasingly making her a target.

And supported by a solid cast, Anastasia Hille brings a beautifully sensitive portrayal of Politkovskaya to life, fiercely determined to fulfil the duty she has taken upon herself, responding to the many pleas for help that she receives. At the same time though, her marriage crumbles, her family life suffers and the knowledge that the authorities are constantly stalking her casts an ominous shadow, one almost unbearably poignant given the knowledge we have. Download it here and give it a listen.

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