MOSCOW: Russia on Sunday blocked the website of a new editorial project by independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta, which was forced to suspend publication in March amid repression of critics of the offensive in Ukraine.
On July 15, its staff launched a paper magazine that can be seen online via a new website called “Novaya Rasskaz-Gazeta”.
This first issue notably contained analysis of the ideology of Vladimir Putin and authoritarianism.
But, a week after it launched, Russia’s telecoms watchdog blocked the new website at the request of the prosecutor’s office.
On Sunday, it was inaccessible in Russia without a virtual private network (VPN), journalists said.
“Our site was killed soon after it was born. We held it for seven days and nine hours,” the publication said in a statement.
It said the Russian prosecutor’s office accused it – without providing details – of “discrediting” the Russian armed forces, a new offence that has been widely used since March to stifle criticism of the military intervention in Ukraine.
“At the moment, there are no complaints against our paper-based magazine. So we will continue to prepare its second issue,” the statement added, calling on its readers “not to be discouraged”.
Novaya Gazeta, the Russian investigative newspaper famous for its coverage of elite corruption and gross human rights violations, was forced in late March to suspend online and print publication.
Russian authorities threatened it with a ban for violating a controversial law on “foreign agents”, after which part of its staff emigrated and launched a new edition from Western Europe.
Novaya Gazeta’s editor-in-chief, Dmitry Muratov, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2021.