Russia: Newspaper issues seized by regional governors

40,000 copies of Izvestia Kaliningrada, a weekly published in Kaliningrad, Russia, were seized by regional governors on 29 July. Its editor was also detained for several hours at the Regional Centre for Combating Extremism. The edition, due to have been published on the eve of a visit by President Medvedev, contained an open letter to the Russian leader signed by more than 2,000 local residents calling for the regional government’s removal because several of its members were implicated in corruption. The head of the regional centre, Alexander Shelyakov, told the Interfax news agency that he intervened after being informed that the issue contained “extremist statements.” This is not a one-off event: on 4 July in St Petersburg of 90 per cent of the copies of the business weekly Kommersant Vlast were seized. The edition criticised the city’s governor Valentina Matviyenko.