Novaya Gazeta, the independent Russian newspaper established in 1993 with money from former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's Nobel Peace Prize, has been effectively banned from operating inside Russia. A Moscow court stripped the newspaper of its print license Monday and there will be a ruling next week on whether its website will also lose its license, the Guardian reports. The newspaper, the last major outlet critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin and the invasion of Ukraine, suspended publishing in March under pressure from authorities.
Russian media watchdog Rozkomnadzor said the newspaper had not provided documents relating to a change of ownership in 2006. The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights, calling the ruling "yet another blow to the independence of Russian media," urged Russia to protect freedom of the press, reports Reuters. Editor-in-chief Dmitry Muratov, who led Gorbachev's funeral procession on Saturday, said the ruling was a "political hit job, without the slightest legal basis." He said the paper plans to appeal.
After publication was suspended amid Russia's media crackdown, some staff members fled to other European countries and set up a new online outlet, Novaya Gazeta Europe, which has also been blocked by Russian regulators. Muratov, who remained in Russia despite being attacked in April, won the Nobel Peace Prize last year. He sold the medal in March to raise money for Ukrainian refugees. (Read more Novaya Gazeta stories.)