Russian activists and reporters targeted in attacks
Several reporters and activists who covered controversial plans to build highways through forested areas of Moscow have been the targets of attacks, raising fresh fears about Russian freedoms.
Here is a factfile of the reporters and activists targeted in the attacks:
— OLEG KASHIN
The reporter, an active blogger who works for Kommersant business daily, was savagely attacked by two men near his building in central Moscow early Saturday morning.
The incident was caught on closed-circuit camera and given unprecedented media coverage, generating a wave of solidarity among reporters who have launched a daily picket campaign of Moscow police stations.
He covers sensitive issues including opposition demonstrations and plans to build a highway through Khimki forest outside Moscow which caused unprecedented demonstrations and have been put on hold by President Dmitry Medvedev.
Kashin, 30, was initially put in an induced coma because of serious head trauma, but his wife Yevgeniya reported on her blog Thursday that her husband had now opened his eyes and was no longer being given a powerful sedative.
— KONSTANTIN FETISOV
An activist opposing the controvercial Khimki road project, he was beaten last Thursday by men with baseball bats outside his apartment building.
Yevgeniya Chirikova, who leads the Khimki road protest movement, told AFP that the attack was preceded by a “media defamation campaign (that) started against Fetisov on Khimki’s local television.”
Fetisov’s injuries have received far less attention from the Russian media and his case has not featured prominently in the various expressions of concern of Western governments and rights groups, which have primarily focused on the media cases.
— MIKHAIL BEKETOV
Beketov, the 52-year-old editor of the suburban Khimkinskaya Pravda weekly, suffered brain damage and multiple broken bones in a 2008 attack.
He underwent eight operations and has had part of his leg and four fingers amputated. He continues to live in a clinic.
Beketov was found guilty this week of slandering the mayor of Khimki in a September 2007 television interview. He appeared in court in a wheelchair and had trouble speaking because of his injuries.
Beketov was given a provisional 5,000-ruble (160-dollar) fine.
— ANATOLY ADAMCHUK
The suburban Moscow reporter claimed to have been assaulted early Monday after also writing about disputed forest removal plans.
Adamchuk’s reported that local authorities had arrested a group of children who had gathered in defence of another Moscow forest, this one in the suburb of Zhukovsky.
The police this week accused Adamchuk of paying two culprits 1,000 rubles (about 33 dollars) to stage the attack, a claim denied by the reporter.
The authorities also threatened to charge Adamchuk with filing a false police report.