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Russian Journalist Stabbing Came After State Media Attack

News Brief

Journalists and opposition leaders in Russia are linking the stabbing of a prominent Russian radio editor in Moscow to disparaging comments made about her and other journalists on state television.

Tanya Felgengauer, deputy editor of the Ekho Moskvy radio station, was stabbed in the neck by a man who broke into her studio, in what appears to have been a premeditated attack. Doctors say she will survive, but her injuries were serious enough that they put her into a coma to treat her.

The attack comes less than two weeks after a report on state-controlled Rossiya 24 denounced the radio station and accused Felgengaurer and her associates of “carrying out anti-government policies.” Images and video clips of Felgengauer featured prominently in the segment. At one point the host said that western NGOs, several of which partner with Echo, are a threat to Russian society on par with ISIS.

Ilya Yashin, a prominent opposition activist, is convinced the report precipitated the attack on Felgengauer, calling it “propaganda for hatred,” in a Facebook post.

However, Russian state news agencies quoted unidentified police sources as saying the attacker — who was arrested at the scene — had acted for “personal” motives.

Echo Moscow is owned by the Russian state owned oil giant, Gazprom, but is generally seen as an independent voice. But journalists who challenge the Kremlin line are regularly harassed and many have paid the price with their lives.

Two journalists regarded as Kremlin critics have been killed this year in Russia, amid an uptick in such attacks, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. And Yulia Latynina, a colleague of Felgengauer’s, fled Russia after an attempted arson attack on her car.

Coda reported on the murder of another journalist last year, whose killer said he had been inspired by anti-gay rhetoric he had heard on television.