MOSCOW - A blast went off in front of the apartment of a Moscow reporter who has been highly critical of President Vladimir Putin, but police said no one was hurt in the attack.
The blast occurred on the afternoon of Feb. 2 outside the apartment of Yelena Tregubova, a 30-year-old former Kremlin pool reporter who a few months ago published an insider tell-all book describing daily Kremlin life in sarcastic detail.
The explosive device, with a TNT equivalent of 100 grams, was attached to a door handle of a vacant apartment across the hall from Tregubova's apartment, both Tregubova and police said.
"I had ordered a taxi and was about to leave the house," Tregubova told reporters outside the building near the famed Pushkin Square in downtown Moscow. "I had stopped in front of the mirror and that's when the blast rang out... it was like an earthquake."
A Moscow police spokesman, Yevgeny Gildeyev, said that the blast, which caused relatively little damage, appeared to be of a "criminal nature."
In November, Tregubova published "Tales of a Kremlin Digger" a few weeks before key parliamentary elections. The book lifted the veil of secrecy over the tight censorship wielded by Putin, and with Kremlin ire apparently provoked by the reporter's tale, the state-controlled NTV channel abruptly pulled an already advertised report on the book off the air.
Tregubova, however, declined to link the blast to her book. "That is not a question for me," she said.
Tregubova, who was stripped of her Kremlin accreditation in late 2000 for refusing to submit her articles for authorization, was fired in October from her job as political observer for the respected Kommersant daily. Her editors, however, denied that it had anything to do with the controversial book.
According to the author, Russian Press Minister Mikhail Lesin read her book and remarked to Kommersant's chief editor, "Does Tregubova realize she will never get work again?"