International journalist associations have joined Monday’s appeal of the Russian Union of Journalists, RUJ, for Russian authorities to investigate the the death of the editor-in-chief of an independent news site who set herself on fire in front of a government building, according to the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project.
“Koza.Press” editor-in-chief Irina Slavina, 47, died in front of the police headquarters in the Russian city of Nizhny Novgorod on Friday. “For my death, please blame the Russian Federation,” Slavina wrote on her Facebook wall, just moments before she set herself ablaze, OCCRP reports:
Russian news outlet Meduza reported that authorities regularly harassed Slavina for her political views and journalistic activities. “The day before, law enforcement searched her home in connection with a criminal investigation into the activities of an ‘undesirable organization’,” according to Meduza.
Slavina described the raid in a Facebook post, saying that 12 people, including officers from the Investigative Committee, police, the Special Rapid Response Unit and official witnesses broke into her apartment using a saw and crowbar.
The Facebook post said law enforcement agents had been looking for “brochures, leaflets, accounts” from Open Russia, an opposition organization, financed by Mikhail B. Khodorkovsky (right), a Kremlin critic, who had to flee Russia after spending more than a decade in prison, The Times adds.
“Over the past years security officials have subjected her to endless persecution because of her opposition (activities),” opposition politician Dmitry Gudkov wrote on Instagram, Reuters adds.
“What a nightmare,” Ilya Yashin, another Kremlin critic, wrote on Twitter. “All of these cases of police amusing themselves, these shows of men in masks – these are not games. The government is truly breaking people psychologically.”