Russian Official on Trial for Spiking Critical Newspaper

CHITA, August 22 (RIA Novosti) – An official in Russia’s east Siberia faces trial after he allegedly confiscated the entire edition of a newspaper containing an article critical of the poor state of the roads in his district, the local prosecutor’s office said on Thursday.

Sergei Bezyazykov, head of the Alexandrovo-Zavodsky district in Transbaikal Territory, went to the office of the local Zarya newspaper in July this year and asked the editor-in-chief to spike the entire print run of 820 copies of the newspaper’s latest edition, according to the prosecutor’s office.

“Sergei Bezyazykov assumed office in March and was very worried about his reputation,” the office said in a statement. “When he found out that the newspaper was about to publish pictures and an open letter from a local woman on the poor state of the roads in the district, he demanded the confiscation of the whole edition from the editor-in-chief.”

The paper went ahead and published the letter about the state of the roads in a subsequent edition regardless of Bezyazykov’s action, the local prosecutor’s office said.

Bezyazykov also committed an administrative violation by obstructing the work of the newspaper, prosecutors added. If found guilty of that offence, he faces a fine of 1,000 rubles ($30).


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