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Russian Opposition Newspaper Officially Warned Over 'Extremism'

FILE - Russian journalist Yulia Latynina speaks during an interview with Reuters in Moscow.

Russia's state media watchdog committee has accused a leading opposition newspaper of violating the country's anti-extremism laws, issuing it a formal warning.

Roskomnadzor issued the warning to Novaya Gazeta on Friday, citing material from an article published in the September 10 issue of the weekly. The piece was written by the well-known commentator Yulia Latynina and titled "If We Aren't the West, Then Who Are We?"

Novaya Gazeta blacked out the offending section in the version of the article it posted on its website, saying it was doing so at the demand of Roskomnadzor "temporarily," prior to a court ruling.

However, Roskomnadzor itself quoted that section of Latynina's article on its website Friday. According to the committee, Latynina wrote that only three "modern developed nations -- the Jews, the Chinese and the Indians -- can claim to have a thousand-year autochthonous [indigenous] culture," while the rest are "an offshoot, a mix, dirty blood."

Latynina also compared Russian officials and politicians who speak of "a distinct Russian culture, which stands against European soulessness," to Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler, who, in his book "Mein Kampf," "stood against the rigorously legalistic culture of that period's European depravity and soullessness."

"It is the typical stratagem of fascism: under the pretext of liberating the nation from an 'alien culture', to liberate it from any culture at all and immerse [it] in the times and customs of barbarism," Latynina wrote according to Roskomnadzor.

The committee said Latynina's article violated the Russian anti-extremist law that bans inciting social, racial, national or religious discord. Under the law, the newspaper could be closed down if it receives a second warning within a year.

Last month, Russian lawmakers, citing the need to protect Russia's "information sovereignty", proposed cutting foreign ownership in Russian media assets to 20 percent.

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