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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Journalist Finds His Car Ablaze

The editor of a Khimki newspaper said he awoke Thursday to find his car in flames, and he linked the fire to his critical coverage of the recent relocation of Soviet war remains.

Mikhail Beketov, editor and owner of Khimkinskaya Pravda, a weekly in the town on Moscow's northern outskirts, said he heard a loud noise early Thursday and looked out his apartment window to see his Land Rover in flames. The vehicle was destroyed, he said.

Beketov accused officials in the Khimki administration of being behind the incident. "I am sure that this is the administration's revenge on me after all the threats I've been getting," Beketov said by telephone.

A Khimki administration spokesman said he knew nothing about the incident.

"Beketov has personal issues with the administration," the spokesman, Alexander Danilovsky, said, without elaborating.

The administration has said it allowed the exhumation of six World War II pilots at a memorial along Leningradskoye Shosse a few weeks ago and their subsequent reburial in the city's Novoluzhinskoye Cemetery after war veterans complained that prostitutes were desecrating the site. Authorities also want to widen the highway.

Dozens of Communist supporters rallied against the reburial late last month, calling it a sacrilege, especially in light of Moscow's indignation over Estonia's decision to move the remains of Soviet soldiers. Beketov said the last issue of Khimkinskaya Pravda included photos of the protesters. "I have received many threatening calls before, but car arson looks like a bad omen," he said.

A duty officer at Khimki's police station dismissed the suggestion that the car fire was the result of a bomb attack. He said only an investigation would determine whether it was arson.