Russian paper to air WikiLeaks corruption material
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's leading opposition newspaper said on Wednesday it would publish new WikiLeaks disclosures unmasking corruption among Russia's "highest political echelons."
Novaya Gazeta, a weekly known for its critical, anti-Kremlin investigative reporting, said by joining forces with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, it had gained unlimited access to new material linking Russia's political elite to organized crime.
"Assange said that in the near future, Russian citizens will learn a lot of new things about their country. He wasn't bluffing," the paper said on its website. "Our partnership is aimed at exposing corruption in the highest political echelons."
The new WikiLeaks material is a trove of "intriguing material" including documents on the trial of jailed oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky and on the paper's own slain reporter Anna Politkovskaya, spokeswoman Nadezhda Prusenkova told Reuters.
"But what's most interesting to us," she added, "are cables showing corruption linked to the political establishment ... The authorities must be transparent."
President Dmitry Medvedev angrily dismissed as irrelevant U.S. diplomatic cables published so far which cast Russia as corrupt.
"We don't give a damn about what diplomatic circles say, judging one or another public process in our country. It's only a matter of opinion," Medvedev told journalists on the sidelines of an official visit to Mumbai, India.
"What has been published to date, does not weigh at all on Russian interests."
The cables describing Medvedev as a side-kick "Robin" to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's "Batman," portrayed Putin as a ruler who allowed unscrupulous officials and crooked spies to siphon off cash from the world's biggest energy producer.
But the few disclosures on Russia so far seemed anti-climactic compared with the promise by WikiLeaks, which has unloaded thousands of diplomatic cables onto its website, to publish eye-opening secrets about Moscow's political underbelly.
"The American diplomatic cables were just a small part of the whole WikiLeaks dossier," Novaya Gazeta said on its website. "Now none of them is safe from the truth."
Novaya Gazeta has been fearless in its investigative reporting on corruption and abuses of power. Several of its journalists have died in contract-style killings in recent years, including Politkovskaya, its star reporter.
Politkovskaya, sharply critical of Putin's policies in Chechnya and abuses by Russia's military there, was gunned down in the stairwell of her central Moscow apartment on October7, 2006.
No one has been found guilty of killing her or ordering the killing. Russia is considered one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists.
(Reporting Alissa de Carbonnel; editing by Tim Pearce)