Russia: Editor still facing charges over report about the Sayano-Shushenskaya disaster


The police in Abakan are not planning to terminate the criminal investigation for “slander” against Mikhail Afanasyev, Chief Editor of the Internet publication “Novy Fokus” [New focus]. As already reported, he is accused of slandering the heads of the republic of Khakasia and the managers of the Sayano-Shushenskaya power station in Siberia following an explosion on 17 August. Mr Afanasyev says that after the last interrogation he has the impression that the police simply don’t know what to do with him.

The case is in principle very worrying, involving a statement made by the journalist on his website “Novy Fokus” and a personal blog. Citing relatives of the people missing after the explosion, he wrote that on the station there were people trapped in air corridors and that the rescuers could hear them knocking.

He cited unnamed representatives of the Ministry for Emergencies, giving the only way of saving them, and then stated that this information needed to be passed to the leaders of the country since the company “RusHydro” and the local authorities were interested in covering up information about staff stuck in these corridors. The statement was also signed by lawyer Eric Chernyshev and deputy from the republic’s legislative gathering Grigory Nazarenko.

Relatives of those who died recently accused the management of the station of being too slow in taking vital decisions which could have stopped the water. They say that many of the victims’ bodies were without clothes which they had removed trying to block the openings into the places where they were trying to escape the flow.

The Head of the Khakasia Government also said on Monday that he had criticisms against “some officials”.

The accident on 17 August claimed the lives of 69 workers at the power station, and six others have still not been found.

From a report at

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