Russian bloggers, most of whom hail from the Caucasus region, have long been a favorite target of the Kremlin’s propaganda machine.
They have made headlines for their fierce opposition to the regime of President Vladimir Putin, often in support of jailed activists.
In 2015, Russia’s state media began publishing reports on the bloggers, claiming they were responsible for the murder of a prominent opposition politician and for helping to undermine the country’s fledgling opposition movement.
Russian bloggers are sometimes portrayed as terrorists by the Kremlin.
However, a study released in 2017 by the International Crisis Group, a Washington-based research organization, concluded that bloggers were not involved in the mass murder of Alexei Navalny, a Russian opposition politician.
In a statement, the Russian government said the government had not changed its stance on the topic of the bloggers and would continue to support them.
It noted that Russia has more than 300 bloggers, who include many with extremist views, but that the majority are peaceful and have no links to terror groups.
“The bloggers who were murdered were no more than ordinary citizens, who acted without the permission of the authorities,” the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs said in a statement on Wednesday.
“Their killing did not result from an anti-Russian sentiment or political aims, but the direct result of a serious criminal action by the authorities.”
“The killing of the two activists is not a case of political assassination.
We condemn the actions of those who committed this despicable act and demand their immediate and immediate punishment,” the ministry added.
The Russian Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Wednesday evening.