Radio Liberty kills interview criticizing Putin ‘over fears for interviewee's safety’
Radio Liberty's editors have withdrawn from publication an interview in which St. Petersburg businessman Max Freidzon made allegations of bribery against Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to the BBC’s Russian Service.
"The article has been withdrawn at the request of Radio Liberty’s interviewee, who fears for his safety. We bring our apologies," reads a posting in Russian on the Web page where the interview was earlier published.
The text of the interview with the businessman was published by Radio Liberty on May 23. One of the subjects it raised was about the way of doing business in St. Petersburg in the 1990s.
The day before the publication, Putin's press secretary, Dmitriy Peskov, said the Kremlin had received two media requests, which were written, as he put it, "in the style of a prosecutor." One was from a London newspaper, while the other came from a U.S. media outlet, he said.
Peskov said that the Kremlin was surprised at the "coordination" of media references concerning relations between Putin and his circles, and added that even if the materials are published, the presidential administration won't sue the media outlets, as, he said, "this kind of slander can’t be taken seriously."