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News editor sets herself on fire in front of Russian government building

Irina Slavina, a Russian news editor died after setting herself on fire in front of an interior ministry office in the city of Nizhniy Novgorod.

“I ask you to blame the Russian Federation for my death,” she wrote on Facebook earlier.

Authorities confirmed her body had been found with severe burns.




Slavina said on Thursday police had searched her flat looking for materials related to the pro-democracy group Open Russia. Computers and data were seized.

Footage has emerged apparently showing the moment she set herself on fire on a bench in Gorky Street, where the interior ministry in Nizhny Novgorod is situated.

In the video, a man is seen running to a woman to help extinguish the flames. She repeatedly pushes him back as he tries to use his coat to stop the fire, before she eventually falls to the ground.



Russia’s Investigative Committee confirmed that Irina Slavina, who leaves behind a husband and daughter, had died but denied any connection to a search of the journalist’s flat.

Irina Slavina was editor-in-chief of the small Koza Press news website. Its motto is “news and analytics” and “no censorship”. Its website went down on Friday, as news of her death was confirmed.

She was one of seven people in Nizhny Novgorod whose homes were searched on Thursday, apparently as part of an inquiry into Open Russia.

Last year, she was fined for “disrespecting authorities” in one of her articles.

In a Facebook post on Thursday, she said 12 people had forced their way into her family’s flat and seized flash drives, her laptop and her daughter’s laptop as well as phones belonging to both her and her husband.

A swathe of tougher media and internet laws have recently come into force in Russia amid concern they may be used by the government to silence its critics.

The Kremlin said at the time the legislation was needed to improve cyber security.