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‘Kommersant’ journalists who resigned in protest locked out of newsroom, escorted out of office building under guard

The 11 journalists who resigned yesterday from the Russian newspaper Kommersant have had their passes into the publication’s newsroom blocked. One of the journalists, deputy politics editor Mariya-Luiza Tirmaste, wrote on Facebook that the newspaper’s head of human resources notified the group about their blocked passes at the apparent request of its editor-in-chief, Vladimir Zhelonkin. Tirmaste asked her followers to help her find a labor attorney.

Former Kommersant special correspondent Olesya Gerasimenko said the journalists who resigned were led out of the newspaper’s office building under guard. RBC reported that they had also lost access to their work computers. Kommersant editor-in-chief and CEO Vladimir Zhelonkin told Novaya Gazeta that these procedures are standard in cases of firing or resignation and that the journalists could receive temporary passes to their offices. “What’s the problem?” he asked, adding, “Nothing is blocking their access to the building. What’s blocking it?”

TASS reported that Zhelonkin had signed the 11 journalists’ letters of resignation. A collective statement released yesterday by the staff of Kommersant hinted that some of them had intended to finish a limited number of tasks before leaving work.

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