Prominent Russian journalist and political commentator Yulia Latynina has fled Russia after a series of attacks led her to fear for her life. The Russian Union of Journalists (RUJ) has appealed to the Russian government to investigate the attacks.
The International and European Federation of Journalists joined its affiliate the RUJ in condemning the attacks on Yulia Katynina and called on the Russian government to bring the perpetrators to justice.
This latest attack is part of a string of attempts to intimidate and silence the journalist. In July 2017, Latynina’s home was sprayed with an unknown chemical, causing breathing problems for several children and elderly people inside the house. In August 2016, unknown assailants poured a bucket of faeces over Latynina whilst on her way to work.
Latynina, 51, is a well-known journalist in Russia and fierce critic of the Kremlin, writing regularly for newspaper Novaya Gazeta and hosting a weekly political commentary radio program on Ekho Moskvy. "I have left Russia in connection with threats to my life," she said in a twitter post on Sunday after making an official announcement the day earlier on Ekho Moskvy that she had fled Russia to an undisclosed location.
RUJ Secretary Timur Shafir said "The problem of the lack of proper reaction from society and law enforcement agencies to crimes against journalists leads to the fact that their number only increases and leads to even more serious consequences. We regard the next attack on our colleague Yulia Latynina not just as hooliganism or act of intimidation, but as an immediate threat to her health and life."
Latynina told listeners that her car was set on fire by unknown arsonists on Sunday 3 September. She said that she was afraid the arsonists “were prepared for a loss of life” due to the possibility of an exploding petrol tank and proximity to her house. “What scares me is that the people who set this fire understood that the result could have been corpses, and they didn’t care”.