Dmitry Popkov, chief editor of the independent local newspaper Ton-M in Siberia, was murdered on May 24, 2017. The journalist’s body was found with five bullet wounds in his backyard in the city of Minusinsk, in the Siberian region of Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russian and international media reported.
Popkov, 42, helped found Ton-M in 2014, and was known for his investigative reports alleging abuse of power and corruption, as well as his criticism of officials of the ruling United Russia party. The newspaper, published under the motto, “We write what other people stay silent about,” was well-known in Krasnoyarsk Krai, and had been subject to threats and pressure from authorities, including police raids, according to media reports.
In an August 2016 editorial, Popkov wrote that Ton-M was “accustomed to being a pain in the neck for many officials who are trying to [silence us] in every possible way,” through “phone threats, intimidating searches, and interrogations.” He added that the authorities were concerned about the “corruption incidents that we reveal.”
Sergei Shishov, editor of the Minusinsk-based independent news website Sreda24, said in a May 25 interview with the Russian daily Komsomolskaya Pravda that he believed that Popkov was killed for his journalism, particularly for his recent reports about a federal parliamentary audit that revealed corruption in the local administration.
The regional branch of Russia’s Investigative Committee—the government agency tasked with investigating major crimes—said in a May 25 statement that a probe had been launched into the killing, and that the journalist’s work was being treated as a potential motive for the murder.