Russian opposition newspaper editors want to arm their reporters with guns and provide weapons training in the wake of a number of attacks against local journalists.
“I will arm the newsroom,” Dmitry Muratov, editor of the Novaya Gazeta newspaper, said Thursday during a radio interview, the Guardian reported.
“If the state is not ready to protect us, we will protect ourselves,” deputy editor Sergei Sokolov seconded. “When journalists find themselves helpless in the face of lawlessness in the streets and indiscipline of law enforcement agencies, there is no other way.”
The move follows the mysterious deaths of journalists who were critical of the Kremlin. On Monday, journalist Tatiana Felgenhaur, who worked for Russia’s only independent news station, was stabbed in the neck during a midday knife attack at the studio where she worked, the New York Post reported.
Many more journalists have died under mysterious circumstances, with Novaya Gazeta journalists being the top targets. Prolific investigative reporter Anna Politkovskaya, for example, was fatally shot in an elevator in her apartment building in 2006.
Novaya Gazeta editors are reportedly cooperating with the Ministry of the Interior on an arrangement that allows journalists to carry non-lethal weapons that fire rubber projectiles.
A Kremlin spokesperson said the need for extra security was pointless. But journalists were not quick to agree.
“I don’t see anything bad in our situation,” said Novaya Gazeta correspondent Pavel Kanygin, according to Agence France-Presse. “This too is defense.”