Since 2000, six journalists from Novaga Gazeta have been murdered. The most famous of them was Anna Politkovskaya, a fierce critic of President Putin. She wrote about human rights violations during the war in Chechnya. In 2006, she was shot dead in the elevator of her apartment complex. Five men were convicted, but it was never clear who was responsible for the killing.
After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Novaya Gazeta initially reported being critical of the conflict and speaking out. “There were very radical front pages with headlines like ‘We are at war with Ukraine,’” Starink said. “It was part of a tradition. In 2014, the paper appeared on the front page saying ‘Forgive us, Holland,’ an excuse for the MH17 disaster.
These types of front pages haven’t been generated since earlier this month. The newspaper announced that it would maintain military censorship and canceled all coverage of the war in Ukraine. “The alternative was to shut down the editors. In the end they thought it was more important to be able to keep working. But that didn’t help.”
Starink does not consider it impossible to return Novaja Gazeta, says editor-in-chief. “But it all depends on how the situation develops. Obviously, censorship is going to get tougher. But if these journalists have the opportunity to open things up again, they will.”
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