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Russian Journalist Dies After Self-Immolation Following Police Search

Irina Slavina was an editor at the Koza Press news website.
Irina Slavina was an editor at the Koza Press news website.

NIZHNY NOVGOROD, Russia -- A Russian journalist, Irina Slavina, has died after setting herself on fire in the city of Nizhny Novgorod following a police raid on her apartment in an apparent search for evidence linking her to an opposition group.

Before staging the self-immolation act in front of the city police headquarters on October 2, Slavina posted a statement on Facebook, saying "Blame the Russian Federation for my death."

The local branch of the Emergency Situations Ministry confirmed to RFE/RL that a woman had died after setting herself on fire next to police headquarters in Nizhny Novgorod, but refused to identify the victim.

The independent Koza Press news website, where Slavina was an editor, identified Slavina as the woman involved in the incident.

A day earlier, Slavina said on Facebook that police had searched her apartment and confiscated a computer, notebooks, mobile phones, and memory sticks.

She wrote that they were looking for evidence linking her with the opposition Open Russia group.

Last month police detained Andrei Pivovarov, the executive director of Open Russia, on charges of organizing or holding a public event without giving notice.

Russian authorities consider Open Russia a so-called “undesirable” organization and have repeatedly targeted the group and its leadership.

Slavina also was fined several times for her articles and for participating in unsanctioned pickets.

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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