Russian outrage over new attack on journalist

The Russian authorities yesterday faced demands to prosecute the attackers of a journalist branded a "traitor" by a youth organisation linked to the country's ruling party.

Oleg Kashin, 30, a reporter for the Kommersant daily, was set upon by two unknown assailants late on Friday. They apparently waited for him with a bunch of flowers outside the doorway of his apartment block in Moscow.

Mr Kashin, who covered youth political movements for the newspaper and was one of its best-known reporters, was beaten, leaving him with a broken leg and jaw and a fractured skull. He remained in an induced coma in a hospital in Moscow yesterday.

In the most chilling part of the attack, Mr Kashin had all his fingers broken, with part of one finger being detached – a message that gave extra suspicion that the attack was linked to his journalism.

"It's obvious that the people who did this did not like what he was saying and what he was writing," said Kommersant's editor, Mikhail Mikhailin. He added: "To make their pointthey broke the fingers of a journalist."

Dozens of journalists and activists gathered yesterday outside Moscow's police headquarters, collecting signatures for a petition to be delivered to President Dmitry Medvedev, and calling on authorities to solve the crime.

Mr Medvedev wrote in a message on his Twitter feed that the perpetrators of this attack should be "found and punished", though similar entreaties in previous cases have come to nothing. According to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, 18 murders of journalists have gone unsolved since 2000, including that of Anna Politkovskaya in 2006.

The Russian blogosphere has been alive with speculation as to what might have been behind the attack. Unlike Ms Politkovskaya, who uncovered rights abuses and torture in Chechnya, or other murdered journalists who probed murky business dealings, Mr Kashin was not an obvious target for such an attack. Originating from the Baltic port city of Kaliningrad, he has written for a number of Russian newspapers, and was also an active blogger.

Young Guard, the youth wing of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's United Russia party, was outraged over an interview with an opposition activist by Mr Kashin in August. It ran a comment on its website naming Mr Kashin as a traitor to his country, and published a photograph of him with the words "Will be punished!" stamped over it.

After this weekend's attack, Young Guard distanced itself from the comments; the photograph was removed from the site and a preamble was added to the article that read as though the group might be worried it had provoked extreme elements into the attack: "There is civilised political battle, and there is cold-blooded criminality ... We call on everyone to understand that."

The apparent professionalism of the attack suggests it was not simply the work of hot-headed youth activists who had got out of control. Many speculated that the attack might be linked to Mr Kashin's articles about a toxic dispute that has played out over the past months in Russia, over the construction of a new road through a forest in Khimki, north of Moscow.

Earlier this year, famous musicians joined the protest and in a victory for public activism, President Medvedev halted construction of the road, which had been backed by Moscow's mayor, Yury Luzhkov, who was later fired.

Evgeniya Chirikova, leader of the Khimki protest movement, said she had no hope that the crime would be solved, pointing to an attack two years ago on Mikhail Beketov, editor of a newspaper in Khimki. Mr Beketov spent months in hospital and had one of his legs amputated. Nobody has been brought to trial for the attack.

Another Khimki activist, Konstantin Fetisov, was also being treated in hospital on Friday after being attacked with a baseball bat.

"These attacks are now seen as something normal," said Ms Chirikova. "But it's not normal when attacks on activists and journalists aren't investigated, and when they remain unpunished."

News
Clare Balding
peopleClare Balding on how women's football is shaking up sport
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Hope Fletcher
booksFirst video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Arts and Entertainment
Damien Hirst
artCoalition's anti-culture policy and cuts in local authority spending to blame, says academic
Sport
premier leagueMatch report: Arsenal 1 Man United 2
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
A comedy show alumni who has gone on to be a big star, Jon Stewart
tvRival television sketch shows vie for influential alumni
Arts and Entertainment
Kirk Cameron is begging his Facebook fans to give him positive reviews
film
Life and Style
Small winemakers say the restriction makes it hard to sell overseas
food + drink
News
i100
Life and Style
fashionThe Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Voices
Neil Findlay
voicesThe vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
food + drinkMeat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jason goes on a special mission for the queen
tvReview: Everyone loves a CGI Cyclops and the BBC's Saturday night charmer is getting epic
Life and Style
Tenderstem broccoli omelette with ricotta and pine nuts
food + drink
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Shopfitter

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Sales Account Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Sales Account Manager...

Day In a Page

Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin