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Attackers fire bomb office of Russia’s Lenta news website

September 29, 2017

Attackers on Friday hurled a Molotov cocktail into the Moscow offices of Russian news website, , and daubed a swastika and a neo-Nazi slogan on its walls, its editor said.

“At 2:00 am (2300 GMT Thursday), two unidentified people sneaked into the business centre housing our editorial offices,” Vladimir Todorov told AFP.

They “daubed a Celtic Cross, the number 88 and a swastika on the walls and wrote: ‘You lie, Lenta’,” said Todorov, 23.

The number 88 is a neo-Nazi code for the Heil Hitler salute, with 8 standing for the eighth letter of the alphabet.

They also threw a Molotov cocktail through a window but the fire was put out quickly. Noone was injured.

“Fortunately, there was an editor on duty and guards in the building,” he said.

A Kremlin-friendly outlet, is part of Rambler&Co media holding controlled by billionaire Alexander Mamut, who owns British bookstore chain Waterstones.

Moscow police said they were looking into the attack.

Todorov pointed the finger at rightwing activists, saying the website had recently published stories about skinheads as well as about cooperation between Stalin and Hitler ahead of World War II, a taboo subject in Russia.

He said also wrote about members of Ukraine’s far-right Azov battalion, who are battling pro-Kremlin rebels in the country’s east, alleging that they sold weapons to Russian neo-Nazis.

“All of these publications could have caused dissatisfaction,” he said, indicating that the office beefed up security following the assault.

Kremlin critics say the atmosphere of growing intolerance towards dissenters has empowered hardliners of all stripes.

Earlier this month, Molotov cocktails were hurled at the offices of film director Alexei Uchitel in protest against the upcoming release of his biopic about an affair between Tsar Nicholas II and a ballerina.

Dispatches from AFP concerning freedom of information, censorship and news coverage in regions where independent media is under threat.