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Independent journalists’ union demands federal-level investigation into Irina Slavina’s self-immolation

Source: Meduza

The independent Journalists’ and Media Workers’ Union is demanding that Russia’s federal-level police officials, investigators, and prosecutors investigate the circumstances surrounding the self-immolation of Nizhny Novgorod journalist Irina Slavina and punish those responsible for inciting her to suicide.

The union released a statement underscoring that the case ought to be investigated by the federal branches of the Interior Ministry, Investigative Committee, and Prosecutor’s Office, and not by investigative agencies in the Nizhny Novgorod Region.

“We are convinced that the reason for Irina’s suicide was the continuous persecution and pressure on the journalist by government security structures,” the statement says.

The Russian Presidential Council for Human Rights’ Commission for the Rights of Journalists has also called on the country’s Investigative Committee to investigate the circumstances that led to Slavina’s suicide.

Irina Slavina was a well-known journalist in Nizhny Novgorod and the editor-and-chief of Koza.Press, an online outlet covering politics and corruption in the region. On October 2, she wrote on Facebook: “For my death, please blame the Russian Federation.” Moments later, she set fire to herself outside of the local police headquarters. She died of her injuries on the scene.

The day before her suicide, Irina Slavin’s apartment was searched in connection with a criminal investigation into the activities of “undesirable organizations.” She was considered a witness in the case. According to friends and colleagues, Slavina faced constant pressure from the authorities over the past few years; she was also fined on multiple occasions for speaking out about sensitive topics on Facebook, as well as for her participation in public demonstrations and for various Koza.Press publications. 

The memorial service for Irina Slavina was held in Nizhny Novgorod on Tuesday, October 6. An estimated 200 people joined a commemorative march through the city following the service.