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Russian Police Probe Bribery Targeting Independent Paper

MOSCOW -- Police have launched an investigation into an alleged attempt to bribe journalists for the Moscow-based independent daily "Novaya gazeta," RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

Dmitry Kopylov was arrested and officially charged with bribery in trying to alter the newspaper's editorial policy by offering its journalists large sums of money.

"Novaya gazeta" deputy chief editor Sergei Sokolov told RFE/RL that Kopylov was arrested while handing over an alleged first payment of some $2,660 to some of the daily's journalists. He said Kopylov was to have paid the journalists nearly $120,000 in bribes.

Staffers at the newspaper say Kopylov might be associated with the pro-Kremlin Nashi youth movement.

"Novaya gazeta" is well known in Russia for its critical and investigative coverage of Russian political and social affairs. Four of the newspaper's journalists have been assassinated since 2001.