As you know, the immediate reason for the suicide of the Nizhny Novgorod journalist Irina Slavina was the morning "visit" to her of security officials, about a dozen of whom broke into her apartment with a search at six in the morning. If her husband had not had time to open the door, she would have been broken down: a sledgehammer and a metal saw were ready. Irina was naked and had to dress under the supervision of an unknown woman. During the search all electronics were seized from her, her husband and daughter: laptops, computers, phones, flash drives. If this happens in another country, one would think that an operation is underway to capture dangerous bandits or terrorists. The most amazing thing here is that Slavina herself was not even a suspect!
However, for today's Russia, this was just a routine action. This happens almost every day now. An employee of the human rights organization Transparency International, Andrey Zhvirblis, described in his blog just one routine day in the life of Russian journalists - exactly the very day of Friday, October 2, when the tragedy with Irina Slavina happened:
“The style is the same in all regions ... In Adygea, security officials from the neighboring region - Karachay-Cherkessia - on October 2 came early in the morning with a search to the journalist of the“ Region Online ”publication Yana Toporkova. They confiscated all equipment and information carriers, and the journalist herself was taken for interrogation to the city of Cherkessk. As often happens now, without much explanation. It is only known that Toporkova is being held as a witness under the newfangled Article 207.1 of the Criminal Code, which Putin ordered to be adopted at the end of March and which punishes for "fakes about the coronavirus." Allegedly, in some Karachai Instagram-public, someone wrote something. What exactly no one saw, but is it really important? It is noteworthy that in the same mysterious "case" in June, Karachai investigators similarly conducted a search and seized equipment from a journalist from Stavropol, Anna Dargan.
In Kaliningrad, armed men in masks on October 2 at 6 am broke down the door in the apartment of Alexei Malinovsky, a journalist for the newspaper Novye Kolesa. He himself was put on the floor in his underpants, and his wife Antonina was placed facing the wall, forbidding to approach two young children. This lasted two hours while the search was in progress. As a result - all the same routine - all electronics, mobile phones and hard drives were seized. After that, the journalist was taken to the editorial office of the newspaper and a search was conducted there - also with the confiscation of information carriers and equipment. The formal reason is the accusation of libel for material about corruption in the FSB and the Investigative Committee. To which Malinovsky himself, allegedly, has nothing to do. But it is through Malinovsky that local authorities and law enforcement agencies are trying to put pressure on the hated publisher and editor-in-chief of Novye Kolesi, Igor Rudnikov, who is now out of their reach.
A very important point. In addition to physical humiliation and intimidation, pressure on journalists themselves and their family members, such actions are always accompanied by the confiscation of equipment. It can be returned in a month, two, six months, or it may never be returned. At the same time, laptops, tablets, mobile phones have long been a means of production for journalists. And most of them do not have much money in order to quickly go to buy a new one after the withdrawal of equipment. That is, such a simple procedural action, for which it is enough to print one page on a printer, can block the work of a journalist for a long time.
“She was a witness and was neither a suspect nor an accused in the framework of the investigation of the criminal case in which these investigative actions were carried out,” the Investigative Committee said after Irina Slavina set herself on fire. That is, people in uniform showed sincere bewilderment: "And what have we got to do with it?" What is it? A clumsy attempt to justify themselves and these people really live on another planet and are sure that a person who has been humiliated and shocked can and should be calm, peaceful and happy just because he has one procedural status and not another?
No, most likely, they understand all this perfectly. They do it all cynically and purposefully. They understand that they are intimidated, bursting in and breaking the door at six in the morning, that they humiliate when they put them half naked on the floor - and all this happens against the backdrop of a children's bat. This is their game, as if we are talking about dangerous criminals. The only interesting thing is - they are bored to do all this or do they laugh later, discussing among themselves “how they pressed this journalist”?