The man who stabbed a radio editor in Moscow last week was a “sick person” without political motives, President Vladimir Putin said Monday.
Tatyana Felgenhauer, a deputy editor at the liberal-learning Ekho Moskvy radio station, was stabbed last week by a Russian-Israeli man believed to have mental health issues.
Two state television segments aired ahead of the attack accused Ekho Moskvy and Felgenhauer of colluding with anti-Kremlin Western NGOs.
“What does freedom of speech have to do with this? A sick person arrived from Israel, attacked this journalist. Ekho Moskvy is funded by the government,” Putin said at the Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov earlier called the Russian-Israeli citizen currently in pretrial detention after pleading guilty on charges of attempted murder a “madman.”
Felgenhauer’s colleagues have blamed state media for the attack, pointing to a general atmosphere of hostility in Russia towards journalists who oppose the Kremlin. Ekho Moskvy is among a handful of the remaining Kremlin-critical media outlets in the country.
Putin said in response to whether the “general atmosphere” of hostility exists towards journalists that he would speak out against the attack.
“Without joking, without irony, I will consider where and how to make this call so that as many people hear it as possible,” Putin said.