The heroism of Anna Politkovskaya, who was shot dead over the weekend, is beyond doubt (see Putin silent...).
It is sobering to read of the hatred in which she was held ("It was as though with the bloody act, a vassal was bringing his master [Vladimir Putin] the head of his arch enemy as a [birthday] present").
My own (very brief) impression of her was as someone nearly in thrall to the dark forces she sought to combat. At a reception by English PEN some months ago, I approached her to ask if she would contribute to openDemocracy. Her reaction seemed to be one of disgust, as if I was a corpse with maggots coming out of my eyes or, perhaps, an FSB agent. This is silly, of course. I guess I was just witnessing something in her way of being -- a mind obsessed with infinitely worse things than gauche liberals at a London meeting.