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Web attacks cripple Russia's biggest indie newspaper

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The website of Russia's highest-profile independent newspaper on Monday suffered its seventh straight day of crippling denial-of-service attacks by unknown miscreants.

Novayagazeta.ru remained unreachable at time of writing, the result of a week of powerful attacks that during their peak delivered more than 1.5 million visits per second, according to news reports. It's the strongest assault ever to hit the paper, which regularly criticizes the Russian government.

"Evidently, it was not amateurs, not hooligans (that) did this," the paper's deputy editor, Andrei Lipsky, told the Associated Press. "It is a deliberate act. We can only guess who stands behind this."

In recent years, the Russian government has been accused of orchestrating denial-of-service attacks on websites in the republic of Georgia and in Estonia just as conflicts touched off between Russia and those two smaller countries. So far, there has been little evidence presented to back the claims.

The paper on Friday asked law enforcement authorities to open a criminal investigation into the attacks. It is co-owned by businessman Alexander Lebedev and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

Last year, Novaya Gazeta reporter Anastasia Baburova was gunned down and killed near the Kremlin. In 2006, a US-born reporter who detailed police abuses and criticized then Prime Minister President Vladimir Putin was also shot dead. More coverage is here and here. ®

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