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Novaya Gazeta Apologizes for Navalny Interview

Novaya Gazeta, a prominent oppositional newspaper co-owned by former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, has apologized for publishing an interview with protest leader Alexei Navalny that appeared to be plagiarized from rival news magazine The New Times.

Novaya Gazeta's editorial staff apologized to its "colleagues" at The New Times for "incorrectly using material" from the magazine's recent interview with Navalny in a front-page article on Wednesday, according to an online statement.

The offending text has been deleted from Novaya Gazeta's website, but was still accessible through an electronic version of the newspaper as of Wednesday afternoon, and as noted by readers, it appeared to be a nearly verbatim copy of the The New Times' interview, published Monday.

In it, Navalny said that he was prepared to go to prison on criminal charges that he stole from a state-owned timber company, allegations he flatly denies, and that the government might use a guilty verdict to prevent him from running for political office in the future.

Irek Murtazin, the bylined author of the Novaya Gazeta text, initially defended it, arguing in a comment thread on Facebook that it would be strange if Navalny gave different answers to different journalists. "Do you think Navalny must say something new every time?" he wrote.

Murtazin had not reacted publicly to the newspaper's apology as of early Wednesday afternoon.

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