A key figure in spreading Vladimir Putin's messages has passed away under suspicious circumstances, marking the second death of a journalist within a short span, prompting questions about the nature of the incidents.
Zoya Konovalova, a 48-year-old editor-in-chief associated with Russia's Kuban broadcasting service and leader of the internet section of government-controlled television and radio channels, was discovered dead recently alongside her ex-husband at their residence in the Krasnodar region of southwest Russia.
Reports from the RIA Novosti news service suggest that the cause of death could be the result of poisoning since no visible marks were found on either of the bodies.
Authorities speculate that the couple may have been deceased for approximately 24 hours before their discovery, and an investigation is currently underway, as detailed by Newsweek.
The Daily Express highlighted the discovery of a bag containing a "powdery substance" in Konovalova's home near the Crimean peninsula, though friends and colleagues refute illegal drugs were involved.
The ex-husband was identified as 52-year-old Andrey Gubatiyka, officials said. The couple leaves behind two children, an adult son and 15-year-old daughter.
Konovalova's death follows the recent discovery of another Russian journalist, Alexander Rybin, found near a highway outside Shakhty, a city close to the Russian-Ukrainian border. The circumstances surrounding Rybin's death remain unclear.
In a separate incident in mid-December 2023, journalist Anna Tsareva, 35, was found dead in her Moscow apartment. Komsomolskaya Pravda, where Tsareva was employed as a deputy editor, reported a lung infection and fever as the cause. An investigation into Tsareva's death is ongoing.
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A PBS Frontline documentary in September 2023 emphasized Russia's poor press freedom record, noting that 43 journalists and media employees have been killed during Putin's rule since late 1999, with many cases remaining unsolved.
The Committee to Protect Journalists reported 19 journalists in Russian prisons as of December 2022.
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