There are questions over the rigour of a Russian investigation into the death of a journalist in suspicious circumstances in Moscow last week. Ivan Safronov died after falling from his fifth storey window. His newspaper Kommersant has reported he was researching an article about Russian plans to sell weapons to Syria and Iran, via Belarus.
It said he told colleagues he had been warned he would face an inquiry for divulging state secrets. Prosecutors have opened an investigation into the case. But Andrei Vasiliev, Kommersant’s chief editor, has expressed doubts about their methods: “Yesterday we decided to check all his latest phone calls and sms messages. We found out who he talked to. We called those people. All this should have been done by the police, every investigation starts with this.”
Russia has been listed as the second deadliest country for journalists. In the past decade, 88 have died while seeking to expose official corruption and abuses. Only time will tell whether Ivan Safronov’s death adds to that toll.