Dmitry Muratov told Novaya Gazeta Europe, a project launched by newspaper staff after the paper suspended operation last week under government pressure, that the assault occurred on a train heading from Moscow to Samara on Thursday.
‘My eyes are burning terribly,’ Muratov was quoted as saying on Novaya Gazeta Europe’s Telegram channel. He said the assailant shouted: ‘Muratov, here’s one for our boys.’
It’s unclear which ‘boys’ they were referring to, although Russians have been encouraged to show patriotic support for their troops in Ukraine, despite increasingly heavy losses.
The post showed photos of Muratov covered in the paint, and a train compartment drenched in red liquid.
Novaya Gazeta, Russia’s leading independent newspaper, announced March 28 that it was suspending operations for the duration of what it referred to in quotation marks as ‘the special operation’ in Ukraine.
That is term that Russian authorities insist media must use for the war in Ukraine.
The newspaper was the last major independent media outlet critical of President Vladimir Putin’s government, after others either shut or had their websites blocked since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began on February 24.
The trigger for the shutdown was a second formal warning from the Russian media regulator Roskomnadzor, which has increasingly taken on the role of a censor in recent years. Novaya Gazeta had long had a difficult relationship with the government.