Top Russian reporter still breathing through respirator

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Russian reporter Oleg Kashin was recovering from his beating but still breathing through a respirator, his doctors said Friday while reporting no progress in the health of the victim of another attack.

"There is a positive dynamic in his health," chief clinic doctor Vitaly Frantsuzov said of Kashin, ITAR-TASS reported.

The Kommersant business daily correspondent came out of coma on Thursday and his wife reported on her blog that he was able to hold her hand and open his eyes during visits.

But environmental activist Konstantin Fetisov remained in a coma more than a week after his own beating, Russian news agencies cited hospital officials as saying.

Both men were attacked last week in a spate of incidents that have put Russia's rights record under renewed international attention.

Kahsin's early Saturday morning beating by two unknown assailant prompted President Dmitry Medvedev to vow unprecedented backing for media freedoms and a commitment to find the culprits no matter their title or rank.

Kashin covers sensitive issues including opposition demonstrations and plans to build a highway through a Khimki forest outside Moscow, a project that caused unprecedented demonstrations and have been put on hold by Medvedev.

Fetisov was beaten last Thursday by men with baseball bats outside his apartment building after also opposing the forest removal plans.

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 recent media cases.

© 2010 AFP

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