A Russian journalist died on Friday after she set herself ablaze outside the regional office of the Ministry of Interior in Nizhny Novgorod, her news outlet office said the day after the police searched her apartment.
Before committing suicide, Irina Slavina wrote on her Facebook page “Blame the Russian Federation for my death,” she wrote.
She worked as an editor-in-chief at Koza Press, which is a small local newspaper that advertised that “there is no censorship and no orders from above.
The day before her death, she wrote on Facebook page that police officers and investigators had searched her apartment, saying they were looking for “pamphlets, brochures and bills” from the opposition group Open Russia, funded by Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
She said they confiscated electronic devices, including her daughter’s laptops and notebooks and her husband’s cell phone.
The Russian Investigation Committee announced a preliminary investigation into the suicide of a woman in Nizhny Novgorod, a city of 1.3 million people, 400 kilometers (250 miles) east of Moscow. In its statement, the committee did not mention Mrs. Slavna’s name.
The office of the commission in Nizhny Novgorod said that Slavna’s suicide was not connected with the search which took place in her apartment the day before.
It said that she was a witness in the criminal case and that the search was underway.
Representatives of the Russian opposition stated that Mrs. Slavna had been subjected to pressure by the authorities.
In recent years, the law enforcement agencies have subjected her to endless persecution for her opposition activities,” says opposition politician Dmitry Gudkov on his Instagram account.
“What a nightmare,” another Kremlin critic, Ilya Yashin, wrote on Twitter. “All these cases where the police are amused by these speeches of masked men are not games. The government really breaks people psychologically.