A member of Autonomous Action, she investigated the activities of neo-Nazi groups. She was shot and killed together with human rights lawyer Stanislav Markelov.
Anastasia Baburova was the only child of her parents Eduard Fyodorovich Baburov and Larisa Ivanovna Baburova who were both professors at the Sevastopol National Technical University.
In 2000, she began studying at the Management-Faculty of the Black Sea branch of the Moscow State University in Sevastopol. Together with her mother she became a Russian citizen in the year 2000. She went to Moscow in 2001 and became a student in international law at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. In 2003, she married a fellow journalistic student, Alexander Frolov, whom she met in 2000 during her studies in Sevastopol. In 2004, Baburova became a journalist student at the Moscow State University. Along with her studies, she worked as a freelance journalist for Vechernyaya Moskva, Rossiyskaya Gazeta and Izvestia. In the summer of 2007, Baburova and Frolov divorced.
Beginning in October 2008, she investigated (as a freelance-journalist) Russian Neo-Nazi Groups for Novaya Gazeta.
Besides Russian and Ukrainian, which she considered her native languages, she also spoke English and French.
Baburova's political activity may be traced back to her having witnessed an attack by neo-Nazis on a foreigner, after which she wrote in her diary, "It is difficult to look in the eyes of a Korean student, who has only just been stuck in the temple by two juvenile thugs... they waved 'Sieg Heil' towards the tram and ran off."
Baburova was active in the anarchist environmentalist movement. She participated in the activities of ecological camps, in social fora, including the Fifth European Social Forum in Malmö 2008, organised the 'Anti-capitalism 2008' festival, demonstrated widely, and was involved in anti-fascist activities more generally.
In July 2008, Baburova participated in a demonstration against the felling of the Khimkinsky Forest. For her involvement in another protest against the eviction of former pork factory workers from the Moscow factory, 'Smena' and impoverished CIS immigrants she would spend a night in prison. The day before her murder, Anastasia appeared at the anarcho-communist unity event 'Autonomous Action'. Earlier she had written an article on behalf of the journal 'Avtonom'.
Throughout 2008, Anastasia Baburova worked on the editorial team of the Russian newspaper, Izvestiya, and had had dozens of articles published by both Izvestiya and Financial News, particularly on finance. In December 2008, she resigned from this post over the political course of the newspaper, which, according to the British weekly newspaper The Economist, may be characterised by "nationalism, spinelessness and cynicism".
Baburova became the fourth Novaya Gazeta journalist to be killed since 2000.
At first it was reported that Baburova had been wounded in an attempt to detain Markelov's killer, but later Russian law enforcement authorities declared that Baburova was shot in the back of her head. Baburova died a few hours after the attack at a Moscow hospital.
Then President of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko sent her parents a condolence telegram on 23 January 2009. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev gave his condolences 6 days later.
On 26 January 2009, Baburova was buried in the central city cemetery of her home town of Sevastopol.
In November 2009, Russian authorities declared the end of the criminal investigation. The murder suspects were 29-year-old Nikita Tikhonov and his girlfriend, 24-year-old Eugenia Khasis, members of a radical neo-Nazi nationalistic group. According to investigators, Tikhonov was the one who committed the murder, while Khasis reported to him, by cell phone, the movements of Markelov and Baburova right before the assault. The motive of the murder was revenge for Markelov's prior work as a lawyer in the interests of anti-Russian activists. The murder suspects were arrested, and were reported to have confessed. In May 2011, Tikhonov was sentenced to life imprisonment, and Khasis was sentenced to 18 years in prison.
According to Russian military analyst Pavel Felgenhauer, the details of the murder indicate involvement of Russian state security services. He stated:
“In the opinion of the Novaya Gazeta staff, of which I am a member, the Russian security services or rogue elements within these services are the prime suspects in the murders of Baburova and Markelov. The boldness of the attack by a single gunman in broad daylight in the center of Moscow required professional preliminary planning and surveillance that would necessitate the security services, which closely control that particular neighborhood, turning a blind eye. The use of a gun with a silencer does not fit with the usual pattern of murders by nationalist neo-Nazi youth groups in Russia, which use homemade explosives, knives, and group assaults to beat up and stab opponents to death.”(in Russian) In Novaya Gazeta
(in Russian) In ChasKor