MOSCOW, March 12 (RIA Novosti) – The editor-in-chief of the popular Russian news website Lenta.ru was relieved of her post Wednesday, prompting staff there to complain that their editorial independence was being stifled.
Galina Timchenko has been replaced with Alexei Goreslavsky, the media holding’s deputy director general of communications, according to a brief statement posted on the publication’s website.
An open letter signed by a group of about 70 Lenta.ru journalists says the replacement is an attempt to put pressure on an independent media outlet in breach of Russian law, “not an ordinary reshuffle.”
Yelizaveta Surganova, an editor at the website’s Internet and Media news section, said many journalists have already decided to resign.
“I know that some have already tendered their resignation, while others have openly stated on social networks that they are not going to work with this new editor-in-chief,” she said.
Goreslavsky has a reputation as a pro-Kremlin figure.
Timchenko had worked for Lenta.ru since it was founded in 1999, and was appointed editor-in-chief about ten years ago.
The decision to replace her was taken by Alexander Mamut, owner of the united company Afisha-Rambler-SUP that owns Lenta.ru, according to the statement.