Prominent Moscow reporter attacked in Russia: police

23rd March 2011, Comments 0 comments

A Russian reporter who famously wrote that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was to marry an Olympic gymnast was on Wednesday beaten up in Moscow and hospitalised, police said.

Veteran reporter Sergei Topol was hospitalised after he was beaten up near his home in central Moscow sustaining hits to his head, police spokesman Anatoly Lastovetsky told AFP. He could not say who might be behind the attack and declined further details.

Topol worked for a number of Russian media outlets including the Moskovsky Korresondent newspaper. In 2008, Topol penned a story for the newspaper alleging that Putin, the country's president at the time, planned to leave his wife Lyudmila and marry Olympic gymnast Alina Kabayeva.

Both Putin and Kabayeva have denied the report, with the Russian strongman telling reporters to keep their "snotty noses" out of his private life.

After running the report the Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper was quickly shut down, with its owner tycoon Alexander Lebedev saying it was not profitable.

Human rights activists have repeatedly expressed concern over attacks on journalists in Russia.

Dozens of journalists have been beaten and even killed since the collapse of the Soviet Union, most notably campaigning writer Anna Politkovskaya who was gunned down in her apartment building in 2006.

In November, Oleg Kashin, an active blogger who works for Kommersant business daily, was savagely attacked near his building in central Moscow and had to be put into an induced coma for treatment.

© 2011 AFP

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