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Another Bashkir Journalist Charged With Extremism

Airat Dilmukhametov (file photo)
UFA, Bashkortostan -- The chief editor of the independent Bashkir newspaper "For Local Self-Government" has been charged with extremism, RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service reports.

Robert Zagreev is accused of assisting Airat Dilmukhametov, the editor of the opposition newspaper "Maidan," in fomenting extremism.

Dilmukhametov has been held in pretrial detention center in Ufa since April 16 on extremism charges as well.

Police investigators say Zagreev was involved in editing articles in "Maidan" that were found to have extremist content. They have asked Zagreev not to leave Ufa while they continue to investigate the case.

Zagreev says the accusations against him are baseless. He said the investigators are trying to make the case against Dilmukhametov look more substantive by adding him to it and adds that there are neither calls for extremism nor a mention of ethnic groups in any of his articles.

"It is absurd to call me a Bashkir national extremist because I am an ethnic Tatar who cannot speak either Tatar or Bashkir and whose wife is an ethnic Ukrainian," Zagreev told RFE/RL.

An estimated 35 percent of Bashkortostan's residents are ethnic Russians, while some 30 percent are Bashkirs and about 24 percent Tatars.