Russia blasts Italian newspaper over Putin article
Russia’s ambassador to Italy, Sergey Razov, said on Friday that he has lodged a formal complaint with Italian prosecutors over an article in La Stampa newspaper which, he insists, discussed the possibility of assassinating Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“On March 22, La Stampa newspaper published an article, the headline of which raises the question of the possibility to assassinate Russian president. According to the Italian criminal code, incitement to commit a crime is a punishable offence,” the diplomat told reporters.
“I, as a citizen of Russia who is currently in Italy, submitted a complaint to Rome’s prosecutor office with a request to carefully, objectively and impartially investigate this case,” Razov added.
The offending article, titled ‘Ukraine-Russia war: could killing Putin be the only way out’, was printed by the newspaper earlier this week. Penned by Domenico Quirico, an international politics and war expert, the piece muses about the “tyrannicides” of the past, such as assassination of Roman dictator Julius Caesar or killing of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, which ultimately sparked the First World War.
The author shares his thoughts about the implications such acts had and the “petty” motives high-profile assassinations may have behind them without providing an answer as to whether Russian President Vladimir Putin should be killed or not.
La Stampa has already responded to the allegations raised by the Russian ambassador, insisting that it had not called for the killing of the country’s president. “Let the Russian embassy get a better translator. I wrote that killing Putin was immoral,” the author of the controversial article wrote.
The Italian outlet got itself entangled in another controversy over the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, last week. On March 16, it printed a frontpage image showing the aftermath of a ballistic missile strike on Donetsk by Ukrainian forces, which it falsely stated illustrated Russian attacks in Kiev and Lviv.
The attack on the capital city of the breakaway republic left at least 21 civilians killed and scores injured.
The bizarre pick of illustration prompted allegations of deliberate misinformation attempt by the newspaper. The Russian Foreign Minister said that the newspaper, like other Western mainstream media, was intentionally “distorting the perceptions of its own readers.”
La Stampa, however, insisted that choosing an image showing destruction caused by Kiev's forces to illustrate the purported suffering of Ukrainians at the hands of Russians was an acceptable move as it merely showed the “clear horror of the war” without assigning blame on any party.
“The thing that bothers me most and pains me a lot is that there are also some people here in Italy, some disgraced people of the web, who amplify this and call it a case of disinformation. Where is the disinformation?” La Stampa editor-in-chief Massimo Giannini stated.