Irina Slavina, the editor-in-chief of Koza.Press, set fire to herself outside of the police headquarters in Nizhny Novgorod on Friday, October 2. She died at the scene from the resulting burns, the Telegram-based news outlet Baza reports. Slavina’s self-immolation and death was also reported by the Telegram channel 112.
Citing the police, the publication Nizhny Novgorod Online also reported on a woman setting fire to herself near the local police headquarters, but it didn’t specify her name.
Earlier in the day on Friday, Slavina published a post on Facebook, which said “For my death, please blame the Russian Federation.” The day before, Slavina reported that her home had been searched. “They were looking for brochures, leaflets, Open Russia’s accounts, possibly an icon with the face of Mikhail Khodorkovsky,” she said.
That same day, the Nizhny Novgorod branch of the political party Yabloko reported that law enforcement had searched the offices of Alexey Sadomovsky, the deputy chairman of the local party branch, and three civil society activists. According to the Yabloko party, “the searches are being carried as part of a criminal case under the article on the activities of an undesirable organization, initiated against one of the city’s residents.”
Article 284.1 of Russia’s Criminal Code criminalizes leadership or participation in the activities of a foreign or international non-governmental organization considered “undesirable” in Russia. This is punishable by a fine, correctional labor or community service, or between two and six years in prison.
Russia has declared the UK-based organizations Open Russia Civic Movement and OR (short for Otkrytaya Rossiya) as undesirable, but not the Russia-based organization Open Russia. All three organizations are linked to exiled Russian philanthropist Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a former oligarch who was once believed to be the richest man in Russia.