Journalist Russian Dmitry Muratov, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2021, denounced this Thursday that he was attacked aboard a train with red paint mixed with solvent acetone.
“My eyes burn terribly” said the editor of Novaya Gazetathe liberal Russian newspaper that halted operations after being warned by the Moscow government for its coverage of the war in Ukraine.
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According to his version of events, a man yelled at him before pouring the paint on him.
“Muratov, this is for our guys,” I’m sure he told him, apparently alluding to Russian casualties in the Ukraine war.
Novaya Gazeta is known to be highly critical of the Russian authorities.
Last month, it announced it would suspend operations “until the end of Russia’s special military operation” in Ukraine, the official term the Kremlin requires local media to use when referring to the war.
Any publication that describes Russia’s actions in Ukraine as a “war” faces heavy fines or closure.
According to Muratov, the incident occurred on Thursday on a train that covered the Moscow-Samara route.
Images of the aftermath of the attack were published on the Telegram channel of Novaya Gazeta Europa.
The European version of the outlet has been launched by a team of journalists outside of Russia and publishes articles in different languages.
Muratov was co-awarded with the 2021 peace prize in recognition of his fight to defend freedom of expression in Russia.
Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, restrictions on information have been increasingly severe in the country and access to almost all independent media is blocked or limited.
Russia also banned Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in the country.
Several Russian activists and journalists who have spoken out against their country’s invasion of Ukraine have recently had their homes vandalized by unknown assailants.
Since the war began, life for those who oppose it has become increasingly difficult in Russia.
The government has passed a law that threatens people who spread “false” information about the war with 15 years in prison.
President Vladimir Putin and other politicians have described any opposition to the war as a betrayal of the country.