Russian «Grani” website again checked for “extremism”


Moscow’s Central Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs [MIA] is checking out the information website “Grani” for extremism. An officer of the Centre for Countering Terrorism, Alexander Skripnikov informed the newspaper “Novaya” of this last week. He said that the check was being carried out by the MIA and the Prosecutor’s Office at the request of the authorized representative of the President in the Central Federal District. The police are interested as to whether “Grani” is publishing material calling for the overthrow of the constitutional order or inciting inter-ethnic enmity.

The General Director of “Grani” Yulia Berezovskaya told the newspaper that Skripnikov had phoned and said that he wanted to meet the website’s managers. “We asked for an official request, but he complained that he had tight deadlines.” He cited other more malleable organizations who immediately organize contact, provide documents and answer all questions (like, for example, the publishing company Posev)….” She adds that he was irritated by our unwillingness to agree to informal contact.

“Grani” is a prominent website which regularly publishes texts unflattering to the regime, including opposition figures.  There have already been attempts to find “extremism” on its site. In 2007-2008 the court examined an application from the Prosecutor to have articles by Andrei Piontkovsky declared extremist. The application was withdrawn after experts found no sign of any crime.

It should also be noted that the check coincides with an initiative by some Russian Internet providers to block (including without a court order) opposition sites (for example, “Korbina Telecom” closed access to the sites of Limonov’s National Bolshevik Party [natsboly]

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