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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

City Upgrades Safronov Investigation

City prosecutors have apparently placed higher priority on their investigation into the mysterious death of Kommersant journalist Ivan Safronov.

Valentina Titova, a spokeswoman for the City Prosecutor's Office, said Monday that the case had been assigned to Moscow's Central Administrative District branch. Previously, prosecutors at a lower branch office had been in charge of the case.

Safronov, a retired colonel who worked as a columnist at the newspaper for more than 10 years, fell to his death from a fifth-floor window of his apartment building in southeast Moscow in early March.

Kommersant subsequently reported that Safronov had planned to file an article on sensitive arms deals with Syria and Iran despite warnings that he would be prosecuted for disclosing classified information.

Titova said she could not comment on a Kommersant report Monday that the decision to reassign the case had come at the behest of the Prosecutor General's Office.

Prosecutors initially said they believed Safronov had committed suicide. His family, friends and colleagues maintain, however, that the journalist had no reason to kill himself.

Safronov had been investigated for articles on the arms trade, but no charges were ever filed.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists last Thursday sent an appeal to President Vladimir Putin calling on him to ensure that prosecutors "thoroughly" investigated Safronov's death.