(Moscow) A Russian journalist who exposed corruption in the country's military establishment was found dead outside his Moscow apartment over the weekend.
Ivan Safronov, the military affairs writer for the Russian daily Kommersant, died Friday in a fall from a window in the stairwell of his apartment building, his body being found by neighbors shortly thereafter.
“For some reason it is those journalists who are disliked by authorities that die in our country,” editors at the daily Moskovsky Komsomolets wrote today. “Safronov was one of those. He knew much about the real state of affairs in the army and the defense, and he wrote about that. .... He wrote objectively and to the point, and that sharply irritated authorities.”
In December Safronov wrote about the third consecutive launch failure of the Bulava intercontinental ballistic missile, a failure unacknowleged by the Russian military. The journalist's most recent work criticized the military officials for negligence in the deaths of Russian soldiers.
"They killed Ivan. They killed Ivan," said an unnamed U.S. intelligence staffer familiar with Safronov. "Another Russian journalist is dead. Ivan fell out of the window with his coat and hat on? Come on."
The Committee to Protect Journalists said that 44 Russian journalists have been killed since 1992, making Russia the third-deadliest country for journalists after Iraq and Algeria over that span. Thirteen Russian journalists have been murdered since Putin took office in 2000.