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July 8th, 2004
The Russian Newspaper Murders

About the Film

During the last five years, more than a dozen journalists have been killed in Russia, yet none of their murderers has been brought to justice. Facing fierce political and economic pressure, Russia’s few remaining independent journalists risk their lives to expose organized crime and government corruption. WIDE ANGLE examines the industrial city of Togliatti, whose main automobile factory is allegedly run by corrupt oligarchs and where killings attributed to organized crime occur nearly every week. In 2002, Valery Ivanov, editor in chief of the Togliatti Observer, the city’s only independent newspaper, was shot to death after reporting on local corruption. Eighteen months later, Alexei Sidorov, Ivanov’s successor at the newspaper, was stabbed to death. This film reports on the risks that journalists run in modern-day Russia and explores the tangled web of wealth, power, and politics that defines Russia today.

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