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7 Apr, 2022 22:05

Nobel Peace Prize winner attacked

Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov doused in red paint on Moscow-Samara train
Nobel Peace Prize winner attacked

Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate last year, has reported that two men doused him with red paint as he prepared to travel by train from Moscow to Samara, on Thursday. The chief editor of the liberal newspaper Novaya Gazeta shared photos of his paint-splattered compartment and said his eyes were burning from the substance.

“Muratov, this is for our boys,” he said the men had yelled out before attacking him. The journalist has been critical of Russia's military offensive in Ukraine. 

“They poured oil paint with acetone in the compartment. Eyes burn terribly,” Muratov said, adding there was an “oily smell” all over the car, and that he would try to wash the paint off, as the train’s departure had been delayed.

Muratov snapped a photo of himself in the train’s bathroom, with his face and shirt – a New York Rangers NHL jersey – covered in red paint. The photos were shared by Novaya Gazeta Europe, run by a team of journalists from his outlet that have left Russia and started publishing from abroad.

Although there were concerns about the paint getting into Muratov’s eyes, it later turned out he did not require hospitalization, Kommersant reported. Police are looking for two men, who have not yet been identified.

The incident happened late on Thursday as Muratov was preparing to travel, by night-train, to Samara, a city in southeastern Russia. The 1,000-kilometer journey takes about 17 hours.

Novaya Gazeta “temporarily” suspended its operations on March 28, after receiving a second warning from Russian media regulators for violating the law on "identifying foreign agents." 

Muratov shared the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize with Filipino activist-journalist Maria Ressa, for what the awarding committee described as their commitment to free speech, “a precondition for democracy and lasting peace.” 

After Moscow sent troops into Ukraine in February, Muratov said he would donate the money from his prize to a fund for Ukrainian refugees.

EU high commissioner for foreign affairs, Josep Borrell, denounced the attack on Muratov as “completely unacceptable” and “yet another assault on safety of journalists and media freedom in Russia,” vowing that the EU will “continue supporting Russian independent journalism.”