An investigative piece prompts the end of the website ‘Russiangate’
Strange things are afoot at the website Russiangate, which Russian Internet providers started blocking on January 23. A self-described repository for independent reporting on Russian crime and corruption, Russiangate became inaccessible in Russia on Tuesday, roughly three hours after it published an article claiming that Federal Security Service chief Alexander Bortnikov owns undeclared real estate in Sestroretsk, outside St. Petersburg.
According to chief editor Alexandra Elagina, Russiangate’s “investors” then had the technical staff unpublish the story without her knowledge. The next day, she told the radio station Ekho Moskvy that she’s been fired, the website is being shut down, and police are even considering an extremism case.
What’s another weird thing about this story? Federal censors say Internet providers started blocking Russiangate because of a decision by the Attorney General’s Office — from December 2015. It’s unclear why it took more than two years to kick into gear.