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Beaten Russian journalist ‘shocked’ by president’s support

A Russian reporter who was savagely beaten earlier this month said Monday he was amazed at the wave of public support and the harsh condemnation of the attack by President Dmitry Medvedev.

Oleg Kashin, a reporter at the Kommersant business daily, was severely beaten outside his Moscow apartment block on November 6 in an attack captured on security cameras. He recently emerged from a coma induced by doctors.

“The events of the week after my beating convinced me: everything is possible, absolutely everything,” Kashin wrote in an emotional article in Kommersant Vlast magazine, his first since the attack.

“I came to and freaked out,” he said.

President Dmitry Medvedev reacted to Kashin’s beating with a vow of unprecedented backing for media freedoms and a commitment to finding the culprits no matter their title or rank.

“President Medvedev’s vocabulary has expanded to include the phrase ‘journalist Kashin,'” Kashin wrote.

Hundreds of journalists and rights activists protested against the attack in an officially sanctioned rally in Moscow.

Journalism students at Moscow State University hung a banner from a faculty building opposite the Kremlin asking: “Who beat up Kashin?”

Kashin, who is also a popular blogger, recently covered sensitive issues including opposition demonstrations and controversial plans to build a highway through a Khimki forest outside Moscow.

In his latest article, he made light of the attack, complaining of being misquoted by tabloids and mocking what he called an exaggerated depiction of his personal heroism.

The tabloids misquoted him as saying after the attack that “They won’t force me to stay silent,” he wrote. He also ridiculed claims that he represented “a personal threat to the Kremlin.”

He said that he planned to return to work after the New Year’s holidays.