Journalist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Dmitri Muratov, opposing the Kremlin at all costs

Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov revealed that he was attacked on Thursday by an unknown person who sprayed him with a red product on a train. Nobel Peace Prize 2021, the editor-in-chief of the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta had recently announced that he would be auctioning his medal in favor of Ukrainian refugees. Despite threats, he has been fighting to defend press freedom in his country since the 1990s.

The face and t-shirt smeared with red paint. Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov editor of the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta photographed himself on Thursday 7 April in the toilets of the train he was on.

“An unknown person attacked Novaya Gazeta editor-in-chief and Nobel Peace Prize winner Dmitry Muratov in a train car,” the newspaper announced in support on its Telegram channel.

“They poured oil paint with acetone into the compartment. My eyes burn terribly. On the train from Moscow to Samara. The departure has already been delayed for thirty minutes. I will try to wash myself,” also explained Dmitry Mouratov, 2021 Nobel Peace Prize , cited in this publication. “He [l’agresseur, NDLR ] shouted ‘Muratov, this is for our boys’,” he added.

A second photo accompanying this post shows a sleeper train compartment splashed with a large amount of blood-red liquid. “Muratov received first medical treatment and took the train to see his mother (…). We are looking for the criminal who did this,” Kirill Martinov, former assistant to Dmitry Muratov, also said on Twitter. Police said they had opened an investigation and were looking for two men for the attack, TASS said.

The head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, on Twitter denounced an “unacceptable” act and “a new attack on the security of journalists and the freedom to inform in Russia”. “The EU will continue to support independent Russian journalism,” he said. By way of echo, the journalists of the publication banned abroad announced on Thursday the launch of a new publication Novaya Gazeta Europe in several languages, directed by Kirill Martinov, specifying that it was not a matter of a subsidiary of the original newspaper, but very much an independent initiative.

“The Terms of Military Censorship”

Since the beginning of the war in UkraineIndeed, the Russian media is increasingly being muzzled by the Kremlin. pillar of investigative journalism, Novaya Gazeta announced at the end of March that it would discontinue its online and paper publications in Russia.after receiving a second warning from Russian telecom police officer Roskomnadzor for violating a controversial “foreign agents” law.

“There is no other solution. For us, and I know, for you, this is a terrible and painful decision. But we must protect each other,” wrote Dmitry Muratov in a letter to the readers of the newspaper. According to him, his editors continued their work for 34 days “under the conditions of military censorship”. Since the beginning of the invasion, the sites of many Russian and foreign media in Russia have been blocked. In March, authorities also passed several laws cracking down on what they consider “false information” about the conflict.

Novaya Gazeta was the last stronghold of the free press still in operation. Dmitri Muratov did not hesitate to announce on March 22 that he wanted to auction his Nobel Prize medal in aid of Ukrainian refugees. The editor-in-chief had stated in a press release that he wants to help “civil refugees, injured children and people who are ill and need urgent treatment”.

Inform despite the risks

At 60, Dmitry Muratov is a huge figure in Russian journalism. Born in 1961 in Samara, southeastern Russia, he got his first job at a newspaper in the 1980s after serving in the army. He discovered his calling as a journalist by working as a freelancer for a few local publications while studying philology at Moscow State University.

After getting his teeth into the popular daily Komsomolskaya Pravda, he took part in the creation of Novaya Gazeta in 1993, with the financial support of the last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, himself a Nobel Peace Prize winner. Under the leadership of Dmitri Mouratov, Novaya Gazeta, which he has led almost continuously since 1995, has established itself as a scooping machine.

Corruption, power issues: this newspaper covers all delicate topics, including those that became inaccessible, especially to the other media, with the arrival of Vladimir Putin in the presidency in 2000 the war in Chechnya† More recently, Novaya Gazeta investigated the mysterious mercenaries of the Wagner groupsoldiers in the shadow of Russia, or the oppression of homosexuals in Chechnya, attracting the wrath of the leader of this republic of the Russian Caucasus, Ramzan Kadyrovknown for his brutality.

This union cost the lives of six of his associates, including the famous journalist Anna Politkovskaya, known for her criticism of the Kremlin’s bloody war in Chechnya and murdered on October 7, 2006 in the lobby of her building. The sponsors of this crime have still not been identified. Shocked by this murder, Dmitry Muratov had considered closing the newspaper, which seemed to him “dangerous for people’s lives”. But faced with the determination of his writing, he had finally decided to carry on.

A Nobel Peace Prize

This research work has also earned the editors of Novaya Gazeta more than sixty awards, including the Pulitzer Prize. Most importantly, Dmitri Muratov was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last October. alongside Filipino journalist Maria Ressa for “their courageous fight for freedom of expression”.

Ironically, on this occasion, the Kremlin had praised Dmitri Muratov’s “courage” and “talent”. “We can congratulate Dmitry Muratov. He is constantly working to follow his ideals and stick to them. He is talented and courageous,” Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

During his Nobel speech, delivered on December 10, the editor-in-chief, for his part, dedicated his prize to Novaya Gazeta and its collaborators who were murdered for their work and their research. “This award is also for living colleagues, for the community that fulfills its professional role,” he insisted.

“We growl and bite. We have tusks and a grip. But we are the condition of the movement forward. We are the antidote to tyranny,” he had proclaimed before concluding: “I want journalists to die old”.

With AFP

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