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Russian Police Investigate Feces Attack On Kremlin Critic Latynina

  • RFE/RL

Yulia Latynina temporarily left Russia in March 2015 after her name was linked to a rumored "kill list." (file photo)

Yulia Latynina temporarily left Russia in March 2015 after her name was linked to a rumored "kill list." (file photo)

Russian authorities are investigating an attack on journalist Yulia Latynina in which the prominent critic of President Vladimir Putin was doused with fecal matter by an unidentified assailant.

State-controlled media reported on August 21 that police have launched a probe into the attack the previous day in central Moscow as Latynina walked to work at the office of Ekho Moskvy radio, where she hosts a weekly political commentary show.

Latynina, a searing critic of Russia's ruling political elite, said that two men wearing motorcycle helmets were waiting for her after she exited her parked car. One of the men approached her and tossed fecal matter on her from a bucket before fleeing with his accomplice on a motorcycle, she said.

She added on her radio show immediately following the attack that the assailant yelled that she was "pouring crap" on Russia.

A video of the attack was later posted online and broadcast during Russian state television reports about the police investigation.

The Russian Union of Journalists said in an August 21 statement that it believes the attack was connected to Latynina's "professional activities."

Latynina herself suggested the attack was connected to comments she has made about Kremlin-linked businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, who headed a holding company that financed a company employing Internet operatives -- commonly referred to as trolls -- disseminating Kremlin talking points and harassing government critics online.

Numerous high-profile journalists and Kremlin opponents have been assaulted or killed during Putin's 16 years in power. Opposition activists have accused authorities of creating an atmosphere of impunity for perpetrators of these attacks.

Latynina temporarily left Russia in March 2015 after her name was linked to a rumored "kill list" that reportedly included the names of numerous individuals who openly criticize Russia's leadership.

She said at the time that she decided to leave the country after noticing that she was being followed on the street.

The independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta, to which Latynina is a regular contributor, said in a statement that Latynina has "regularly" received threats and that "several years ago" a planned attack on her was thwarted.

With reporting by echo.msk.ru, Novaya Gazeta, TASS, and Ria Novosti
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