updated 2/1/2010 4:36:49 PM ET 2010-02-01T21:36:49

The Web site of Russia's highest-profile independent newspaper has been paralyzed for a week by a sustained attack from hackers, its deputy editor said Monday.

Novaya Gazeta's Andrei Lipsky said Monday was the seventh day of a debilitating denial-of-service attack from an unknown source.

The paper, which comes out three times a week, relentlessly criticizes the Kremlin, often detailing top-level corruption in embarrassing exposes and investigations. Its reporters have been harassed, attacked and even killed in crimes that police rarely solve.

Lipsky refused to say who he suspected was behind the hacker attack.

"Evidently it was not amateurs, not hooligans (that) did this. It is a deliberate act. We can only guess who stands behind this," he said.

Then he added, ironically, "As you know, we have very many friends."

A denial-of-service attack simulates millions of people visiting the Web site at the same time, overloading the server and causing it to crash. Novaya Gazeta routinely records 250,000 visits per week. Lipsky said the peak of the attack, last Thursday, saw 1.5 million visits per second. The site,, was still down as of late Monday.

Lipsky said the newspaper has yet to hear from the Prosecutor General's Office, with which it lodged a complaint last week.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said in a statement Monday that it was "deeply dismayed" by the attacks and called for a thorough investigation.

Young reporter Anastasia Baburova was gunned down near the Kremlin last year. Anna Politkovskaya, an award-winning U.S.-born investigative journalist who detailed police abuses in the troubled North Caucasus and wrote books criticizing Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, was shot dead in October 2006.

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