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Russian Journalist, Family Given Political Asylum In France

Aleksei Malinovsky worked for the Novyye Kolyosa (New Wheels) newspaper in Russia's Kaliningrad exclave

Russian journalist Aleksei Malinovsky and his family have been granted political asylum in France, where they fled in September fearing for their safety after police raided their house and assaulted him.

Malinovsky worked for the Novyye Kolyosa (New Wheels) newspaper in Russia's Kaliningrad exclave, which is sandwiched between Lithuania and Poland.

The newspaper's publisher, Igor Rudnikov, who left Russia for the United States in March 2020 fearing persecution, told RFE/RL on December 2 that Malinovsky, his wife, and children had traveled to France in September, where they sought political asylum.

In October 2020, police broke down the door of Malinovsky's apartment, violently beat him in the presence of his children and wife, and searched the premises.

The newspaper's offices were also searched at the time. The searches were linked to a May 2020 article about alleged corruption involving the deputy chief of the Kaliningrad city police, Andrei Pershikov.

The paper, which focuses on investigative reports related to the questionable activities of the authorities and police in the region, has been published for more than 25 years under various titles.

The newspaper and its journalists have been under pressure recently over their investigative reports and had to change the publication's name several times and get reregistered because of moves by courts to close it.

Last year, the newspaper fully switched to an online platform after Russian media watchdog Roskomnadzor requested it be shut for a 10th time.