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Russian investigators want to question radio host Yulia Latynina in a ‘fake news’ probe after she broadcast a complaint from medical workers fighting coronavirus

Moscow state investigators have opened an inquiry into journalist and pundit Yulia Latynina, who is suspected of distributing “false information” about regional officials’ supposed unpreparedness to fight the spread of coronavirus. 

According to a letter sent to the radio station Ekho Moskvy, as reported by the newspaper Novaya Gazeta, investigators are reviewing an episode of Latynina’s radio show that aired on April 11, where she read a statement from medical workers complaining about shortages of personal protective equipment and harsh labor conditions at hospitals in Nizhnekamsk, Tatarstan. The medical workers’ statement also claimed that the city recorded 1,300 cases of double pneumonia in March 2020 without testing any of these patients for COVID-19. 

Officials have asked Ekho Moskvy to “facilitate [Latynina’s] appearance” for interrogation in the probe. Investigators also asked the radio station to reveal where Latynina resided during quarantine.

Latynina’s lawyer, Marina Andreyeva, told Novaya Gazeta that she is still waiting to be contacted by state investigators. Andreyeva says she doesn’t yet understand why officials want to know her client’s recent whereabouts or why they apparently believe Latynina’s April 11 broadcast constitutes “false information.”

In September 2017, Yulia Latynina fled Russia, after unknown assailants reportedly set fire to her car. A year earlier, activists apparently from the far-right “SERB” movement attacked her outside Ekho Moskvy‘s studio, splashing feces on her. Police never identified the assailants.

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