Week-ending 2 October 2020
Irina Slavina, a journalist in Nizhny Novgorod and chief editor at the Koza Press news website, died on 2 October 2020 after setting fire to herself outside the city’s police headquarters. Irina Slavina had written on her Facebook page: “I ask you to blame the Russian Federation for my death.” The day before, police officers and investigators had searched her apartment and seized notebooks and electronic equipment, including items belonging to other members of her family, in an investigation related to Open Russia. Pavel Chikov, head of the Agora International Human Rights Group wrote on Telegram that the organization had previously worked with Slavina on administrative prosecutions for alleged ‘disrespect’ for the authorities and spreading ‘fake news’ and had made an application to the European Court of Human Rights on her behalf. Pavel Chikov said Agora would seek to bring the case there to a conclusion.
The Guardian, Friday, 2 October 2020: A Russian journalist has died after setting herself on fire in front of the local branch of the interior ministry in the city of Nizhny Novgorod, a day after her apartment was searched by police. Prior to her self-immolation, Irina Slavina wrote on her Facebook page: “I ask you to blame the Russian Federation for my death.” Slavina worked as editor-in-chief at Koza Press, a small local news outlet that advertised itself as having “no censorship, no orders ‘from above’”. A day before her death, she wrote on Facebook that police officers and investigators had searched her apartment, and that they were looking for “brochures, leaflets and accounts” from the Open Russia opposition group, which is financed by the Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky. She said they seized notebooks, her laptop and other electronics, as well as her daughter’s laptop and her husband’s mobile phone.
The Moscow Times, Friday, 2 October 2020: A Russian journalist has died after setting herself on fire outside police headquarters in the city of Nizhny Novgorod, Russian media reported Friday. Irina Slavina, the editor-in-chief of the KozaPress news outlet died at the scene, the Baza and 112 Telegram channels reported. “I ask you to blame the Russian Federation for my death,” Slavina, 47, wrote on her Facebook page about an hour before her death. The previous day, she said local security forces raided her home in search of evidence of her involvement with the opposition. “They were looking for brochures, leaflets, invoices of [pro-democracy movement] Open Russia, possibly an icon with the face of [exiled oligarch] Mikhail Khodorkovsky,” she wrote following the early-Thursday raid. “I don’t have any of this,” she wrote in her Facebook post. “But they took away what they found — all the flash drives, my laptop, my daughter’s laptop, the computer, phones — not just mine, but also my husband’s — a bunch of my notebooks that I scribbled on during press conferences. I’m left without the means of production.” Regional investigators said they have launched a pre-investigation check into the death but have not confirmed Slavina’s identity. Pavel Chikov, head of the international human rights group Agora, wrote that the organization previously worked with Slavina after the authorities opened cases against her for “disrespect for the authorities” and spreading “fake news.” The group had filed a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights on her behalf, he added.