A journalist in Siberia whose critical articles often target local authorities says she has fled her city with her daughters amid fears for their safety.
Natalya Zubkova, the chief editor of the Novosti Kiselyovska (News of Kiselyovsk) online newspaper, said in a statement on YouTube that an unknown man attacked her late on February 25 as she was walking her dog.
According to the journalist, the attacker pushed her down and pressed her face against the snow and threatened that she and her daughters would face further violence if “you open your mouth again.”
Zubkova said in the video issued over the weekend that she is currently at an undisclosed location. She said that “if something happens to me or my children,” Russia’s Prosecutor-General Igor Krasnov, the governor of the Kemerovo region, Sergei Tsivilyov, and the mayor of Kiselyovsk, Maksim Shkarabeinikov, “will be fully responsible.”
Last month, Zubkova was summoned for questioning in a libel case. She said at the time that the case was about her article on possible corruption by the city’s education officials.
In August 2020, lawyer Anton Reutov physically attacked her in a courtroom during a hearing based on Zubkova’s report about alleged fraud involving Reutov that led to an elderly woman losing her apartment.
Zubkova said she received several death threats following that incident.
In August 2019, Shkarabeinikov accused Zubkova of inciting social discord for interviewing Kiselyovsk residents who had asked Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to provide them with asylum after local authorities were unable to solve environmental problems they faced.
There was no official statement from the authorities of Kiselyovsk or the Kemerovo region regarding Zubkova’s statement on YouTube.