Russian Authorities Seize Computers from Two Publications in Azov

Azov.  Source: azov.infoRussian law enforcement officers in the Rostov oblast have clamped down on two publications in the city of Azov. On March 28th, four computers were seized from the Chitai-telenedelya newspaper, which has published in the city for fifteen years. As the Sobkor┬«ru news agency reports, the paper’s editor-in, Yury Golubev, has still not received an explanation or reason. He believes the raid may be connected with the paper’s environmental reporting.

One computer was also seized from the Bely Kot (White Cat) magazine, which Golubev publishes in collaboration with a group of journalists. The computer contained the editor’s personal files and emails.

Earlier, on February 28th, shortly before Presidential elections were held in Russia, unknown assailants attacked the Chitai-telenedelya delivery van, kidnapping the driver and 30 thousand copies of the publication. The whereabouts of the driver are still unknown.

Yury Golubev is well-known for his roles as a local opposition leader and publisher, and he actively participates in the Southern Environmental Network, an ecological watchdog group. He has raised questions on the violation of sanitation codes in a recent business deal, where city-lands were transferred to an Italian company planning to build a transport terminal for methanol gas. Local ecologists maintain that by law, projects such as this must be located no closer than 7 kilometers to residential houses. This site lies just 200 meters from the nearest residence.

Golubev also led a protest movement against the construction of a new recreational area on the Sea of Azov, arguing that new construction would have catastrophic effects and environmental damage for the area, and would lead to the death of much of the living matter in the Sea.

According to Golubev, authorities have tried repeatedly to charge him with various offenses, including violating the financial and tax codes. He has been accused of slandering members of the government, spreading ethnic strife, and calling for the overthrow of the established order. These allegations came after critical reporting and materials on unfair practices during and after national elections.

At the present moment, Yury Golubev is in hiding outside of the city, after information surfaced that an attack was being planned against him.