This is why one Russian outlet is arming its journalists

  • The editor of Russia’s most prominent opposition newspaper says he plans to arm his staff.
  • He made the announcement two days after Russian journalist Tatiana Felgenhauer was stabbed.
  • Multiple Russian opposition journalists have been attacked and killed since at least 2006.

The editor of Russia’s most prominent opposition newspaper says he intends to arm his staff with guns that fire rubber bullets amid growing concern about attacks on journalists.

Novaya Gazeta editor Dmitry Muratov discussed his plans two days after Tatiana Felgenhauer of Russia’s only independent news radio station, Ekho Moskvy, was stabbed in her studio.

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Muratov told the station on Oct. 26 that the newspaper is buying “traumatic weapons” for its journalists, providing courses on how to use them and taking other unspecified security measures.

“Traumatic weapons” usually refer to pistols that fire rubber bullets.

“I will arm the newsroom,” Muratov said on Russian radio, according to AFP. “We will also supply journalists with other security means that I don’t want to talk about … I have no other choice.”

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“Do you want people to fight, stab [journalists] and know that these [journalists] are defenseless and unarmed? Neither the authorities nor law enforcement will stand up for them,” Muratov said, according to The Moscow Times.

Several Novaya Gazeta journalists have been killed or died under mysterious circumstances, including renowned Kremlin critic Anna Politkovskaya, who was shot in 2006.

Related: This classic video clip highlights the struggle journalists face in covering war

In September 2016, journalists Yelena Kostyuchenko and Diana Khachatryan were beaten and dragged across the ground during a memorial service, The Moscow Times reported. Khachatryan said police on the scene did not try to stop the attack.

In September 2017, Novaya Gazeta columnist Yulia Latynina fled Russia after feces were thrown in her face and her car caught fire, according to The Moscow Times.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Oct. 26 that citizens can take security measures they think are necessary.

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