Matthias Schepp of Der Spiegel writes about the threats facing the staff of Novaya Gazeta:
Olga seemed simultaneously awestruck and wary as she ran her fingers across the envelope. The sender seemed to be important: the “Presidential Administration.” Was it mail from the Kremlin? “But the envelope felt strange,” says Olga, who is secretary to the editor-in-chief of the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta.
When she finally opened the envelope, she felt something cold and leathery inside: the severed ears of a donkey. “One needs strong nerves here,” she says. Four of the newspaper’s journalists have already been murdered, and one of its attorneys was shot dead in broad daylight.
The donkey ears were followed a few days later by a bloody piece of meat. This time there was no return address on the envelope. And then a peculiar man offered the editor-in-chief a bribe.
The culprit behind this caper? A Nashi-linked group, funded by the state budget. If we recall that earlier stunt from Young Russia which slaughtered some 20 sheep, put Solidarinost t-shirts on them, and dumped them in front of the hotel where the opposition was meeting, I’m left wondering: what option is available for a young Putin supporter who is also pro-animal rights? Maybe Vladislav Surkov can come up with another youth group idea which operates under a different methodology….