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Journalist Sets Herself on Fire: 'Blame Russia'

Irina Slavina's home had been searched the day before
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 2, 2020 4:25 PM CDT

(Newser) – The editor of a Russian news website has died after setting herself on fire Friday outside a government office, a day after police searched her home. "I ask you to blame the Russian Federation for my death," Irina Slavina had posted on Facebook. Video from Nizhniy Novgorod, a city of about 1.3 million, showed a man being pushed away by a woman after rushing over to help put out the flames with his coat, the BBC reports. Slavina was editor-in-chief of Koza Press, a small site that says it offers "news and analytics" with "no censorship." After Slavina's death was confirmed Friday, the site went dark. Slavina had a husband and daughter.

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"This news was a real blow for me, I knew her," said an aide to Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the exiled founder of the pro-democracy organization Open Russia. "I know she was harassed, detained, fined all the time." An article last year brought Slavina a fine for "disrespecting authorities." She posted Thursday on Facebook that police and investigators had just searched her apartment for “brochures, leaflets and accounts” from Open Russia, per the Guardian. They took her laptop, her husband’s mobile phone, and her daughter's laptop, the post said. Russia's Investigative Committee said Slavina was a witness in their case, not a suspect. (Read more Russia stories.)

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