MOSCOW: Russia’s opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta says it received a severed goat’s head, a funeral wreath and threatening notes this week, in what was dubbed the latest effort to intimidate its journalists.
The newspaper said the funeral wreath was thrown near its office on Wednesday, with a note calling reporter Denis Korotkov “a traitor to his country”.
The following day, it said, a basket containing a severed goat’s head and red carnations arrived with a note that read: “To Novaya Gazeta’s chief editor. Greetings to you and Korotkov!”
Novaya Gazeta is one of the few independent news outlets in Russia and is critical of President Vladimir Putin and his government.
The newspaper says authorities are conducting a smear campaign against Korotkov over claims that he endangered Russian soldiers’ families by publishing the personal information of pilots serving in the Russian Air Force in Syria.
In a statement, Novaya Gazeta rejected the accusations against Korotkov as “simply fake”, saying it did not “have any publications on this topic either in the newspaper or on the site.”
Prior to joining the newspaper, Korotkov worked for the Fontanka news site, where he investigated the business empire of “Kremlin chef” Yevgeny Prigozhin and the activities of private military companies.
Novaya Gazeta said it had filed a police report in response to the threats.
“We have only two weapons: publicity — which is why we continue to do our jobs — and the law,” it said.
“We demand that the facts of the threats be investigated and that the perpetrators be punished.”
The Committee to Protect Journalists also called for action over the reports.
“Russian authorities must take immediate action to ensure the safety of the brave journalists of Novaya Gazeta and its offices,” said Gulnoza Said, CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia programme coordinator in New York.
“Such threats would be sickening anywhere, but they must be taken particularly seriously in Russia, where words of warnings to journalists for doing their jobs are all too often followed by violence.”
Five Novaya Gazeta reporters have been murdered for their work since 2000, according to CPJ data.
Russian media reports say the police have begun an investigation into the threats.__EuroNews