Russian envoy sues Italian newspaper over Putin murder article
La Stampa’s editor in chief strongly denies the allegations by Sergey Razov.
Russia’s ambassador to Italy announced Friday he was suing La Stampa after claiming the daily newspaper encouraged violence against Russian President Vladimir Putin in an article.
Speaking through a translator, Sergey Razov accused the newspaper of “soliciting and condoning a crime,” Reuters reported, after La Stampa published an article entitled “Ukraine-Russia war: if killing Putin is the only way out” on March 22 — allegations its editor in chief strongly denies.
The article, an analysis of whether Putin’s murder would morally and practically be a good thing, is ambiguous and stops short of calling for the Russian leader to be killed. While the author, Domenico Quirico, discusses different scenarios for Putin’s assassination, he also argues that killing a “dictator” bears similarities to “practices of terrorism” and suggests doing so could “trigger a worse chaos.”
But the Russian ambassador slammed the article. “It goes without saying that this is outside the ethics and morals and rules of journalism,” said Razov, as he exited the prosecutor’s office in Rome.
“I have been working in Italy for eight years … we have gone to great lengths to build bridges, strengthen relationships in economics, culture and other fields — but, with regret, now everything has been turned upside down,” he added.
La Stampa’s editor in chief pushed back against Razov’s allegations in a video published later Friday. Massimo Giannini said his newspaper won’t accept lessons from Russia and noted that “we love freedom, we will continue to defend it despite all the threats and all the intimidation, because we know we are on the right side of history.”
Giannini argued that the article only stated that killing the Russian president is emerging — including among governments — as a possible solution to the current crisis, and said the main thrust of the story was “exactly the opposite” of what Razov said, since it concluded killing Putin would make things even worse.
While previous Italian leaders including Silvio Berlusconi enjoyed warm relations with Putin, current Prime Minister Mario Draghi has taken a more pro-NATO line after taking office in 2021.