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‘Treason is worse than death’ — RT editor-in-chief on failed assassination plot

There are fates worse than death, RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan told journalists on Saturday in the wake of a disrupted attempt on her life by a neo-Nazi group. The journalist said that she was not afraid of dying for her homeland and wished her assassination plotters understood the error of their ways.

“The most important thing I want to say is that there are things worse than death. Dishonor is worse than death; treason is worse than death,” Simonyan said, adding that “living with a feeling that you had done something irredeemable is worse than death.”

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The RT editor-in-chief also said she would like those arrested over an attempt on her life to understand that and have enough time to rectify their mistakes and start their life anew. She also expressed her pity at the fact that some young people had been “brainwashed” to an extent that they could go for such a plot. 

Earlier, the Russian Federal Security Service, which detained five members of a neo-Nazi group suspected of being behind the plot, released footage showing the questioning of a 18-year-old suspect. The man in the video was seen confessing to organizing a neo-Nazi group and later taking orders from the Ukrainian intelligence in exchange for money. 

“I am very sorry that a 18-yer-old boy … got brainwashed in such a way … that he decided that caring for his people is compatible to taking money from the Ukrainian intelligence to kill opinion leaders in his own country,” Simonyan said.

Earlier on Saturday, the FSB said that members of a neo-Nazi group known as ‘Paragraph 88’ in connection to the case. TASS reported that six people were suspected of being linked to the plot, citing a Moscow court. 

The Russian security services seized a Kalashnikov assault rifle and 90 cartridges for it, rubber hoses, knives, brass knuckles, and handcuffs during their operation, the FSB said. Computers containing information that confirmed the groups’ “criminal intentions” were found as well, alongside Nazi paraphernalia and Nazi literature, it added. 

Those detained confirmed they were preparing assassinations of Simonyan and another prominent Russian journalist and a former presidential candidate, Ksenia Sobchyak, the FSB statement said, adding that the suspected plotters did so “on the instructions of the Security Service of Ukraine for a reward of 1.5 million rubles ($16,600) for each murder.”

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