A row has engulfed a Russian radio station amid accusations of political interference ahead of next month’s presidential election.
Two senior editorial figures have been removed from the board of directors in a reshuffle at Radio Echo of Moscow. It is one of Russia’s few independent outlets, and is often critical of prime minister and presidential challenger Vladimir Putin.
One of the ousted journalists, Chief Editor Alexei Venediktov, sees the hidden hand of the Kremlin, Putin’s ally.
“It’s quite possible that someone in those Kremlin towers is trying even before the presidential election to take control of the coverage of what comes afterwards, just in case. That’s a possibility,” he said.
Last month Venediktov, who insists he will remain as editor, clashed with Putin at an industry conference. The prime minister accused the editor of slinging mud at him from dawn to dusk.
Putin’s spokesman denied the two events were connected, while the station’s major shareholder Gazprom-Media, a subsidiary of the energy giant, said the changes were administrative and not editorial.