“The attack on Leonid Volkov demonstrates the logic of terror that the Kremlin spreads throughout the world”

By Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer - March 13, 2024
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Leonid Volkov, a long-time ally of the late opposition leader Aleksei Navalny, visited the Barents Observer last winter. See link to interview below. Photo: Barents Observer

 

“Anyone can become a target regardless of location,” says Novaya Gazeta Europa editor Kirill Martynov after Navalny ally Leonid Volkov Tuesday evening was attacked with a hammer and tear gas outside his home in Lithuania.

The attack left Leonid Volkov with a broken arm, but he was soon to announce Wednesday morning that “we will work and we will not give up.”

“They wanted to make a chop out of me,” Volkov said in a video-record message on Telegram.

Volkov (43) returned from hospital after having checks done.

Kirill Martynov is the editor-in-chief of Novaya Gazeta Europe. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

Editor of Novaya Gazeta Europa, Kirill Martynov, says the attack demonstrates the logic of the terror the Kremlin spreads throughout the world.

“The attempt to destroy Ukraine is the central part of this terror, but anyone can become a target regardless of their location. Those who have opposed dictatorship and war are on top of the list,” Martynov says. The respected independent newspaper left Moscow after censorship laws were introduced and is now publishing in exile from Riga, Latvia.

Last winter, Martynov and Volkov visited the newsroom of Barents Observer in Kirkenes.

Leonid Volkov, an outspoken Putin critic and long-time ally of Aleksei Navalny, said in a video interview with the Russian edition of the Barents Observer that Putin alone started the war against Ukraine and has no will at all to stop it.

“He [Putin] believes that he will be lucky, he believes that he will endure, that Russia’s demographic resources, practically inexhaustible from his cynical bell tower, will help him endure and ultimately win,” Leonid Volkov said.

On Monday this week, Volkov wrote on social media that “Putin killed Navalny. And many more before that.”

One day later, an unknown assailant attacked him with a hammer and tear gas.

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gebrielius Lansbergis called the attack “shocking” and said police authorities are working to solve the case.

“Perpetrators will have to answer for their crime,” Lansbergis said on Twitter (X).

Vilnius has become a major destination for Russians who are in opposition to Vladimir Putin and the darkness of the FSB regime. The attack on Leonid Volkov is the first against Navalny’s allies outside Russia.

 

The street outside Russian Consulate General in Kirkenes was last Friday “renamed” by protesters in honor of Aleksei Navalny. The Norwegian border town has become a destination for northern exile-Russian Navalny supporters and others in opposition to Vladimir Putin’s regime. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

 

Aleksei Navalny, who died in a Siberian prison camp in February, had regional teams in most larger cities in the Russian north, like Murmansk and Arkhangelsk.

Leaders of these groups are now on Russia’s most wanted list and live abroad in exile, but are still actively documenting the crimes and corruption conducted by the Kremlin and regional Putin-loyal authorities.

Norway’s Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre paid tribute to Navalny when he visited Kirkenes in February. Photo: Prime Minister’s Office

Located in Kirkenes, Norway, just a few kilometres from the borders to Russia and Finland, the Barents Observer is dedicated to cross-border journalism in Scandinavia, Russia and the wider Arctic.

As a non-profit stock company that is fully owned by its reporters, its editorial decisions are free of regional, national or private-sector influence. It has been a partner to ABJ and its predecessors since 2016.