Russia's 'voice of truth' is silenced with 14 bullets

Newspaper editor was on hitlist of people accused of sympathising with Islamist rebels


In a brazen attack that again highlights the danger many Russian journalists face for attempting to report the truth, the founder of an independent newspaper was shot dead in what appears to have been an ordered killing.

An assailant shot Khadzhimurad Kamalov 14 times late on Thursday night as he left the offices of Chernovik, the newspaper he founded and one of the few independent media voices in the troubled southern republic of Dagestan. The killer fled in a Lada, and Mr Kamalov died on the way to hospital.

He is the latest in a long line of journalists to be killed in Russia, in crimes that are rarely solved. Working in the North Caucasus region, where the Kremlin is battling an Islamist insurgency, is particularly dangerous. Chernovik and its journalists have received many threats, and the newspaper was also taken to court after it quoted an Islamic militant, in a case that it won.

Mr Kamalov's name was included in a sinister "hitlist", distributed on flyers two years ago, of people who sympathised with Islamic rebels and should be assassinated.

A year ago, he painted a grim picture of Dagestan in an interview with The Independent. He estimated that about 25 per cent of the local population support Islamic terrorism, as long as it is aimed at officials rather than civilians.

"People look at the way that the police and the FSB behave, and it's easy to understand why a lot of them feel their sympathies are with the other side," he said. Mr Kamalov spoke for several hours in a café in Makhachkala, the scruffy capital of Dagestan. He came across as a uniquely well-informed and nuanced man. He was one of the few who was not scared to talk openly about his views. Such frankness is rare in a region where killings occur every day.

People who display sympathy for the insurgents risk getting on to the radar of the Kremlin-loyal security forces in the region. It was not clear who was behind Mr Kamalov's killing, but colleagues immediately said they were certain it was linked to his work at Chernovik.

"There is no doubt that this is a political killing," said the respected Russian rights organisation Memorial. "The people behind this crime wanted to deal a blow to freedom of speech in Dagestan". Mr Kamalov was the "soul" of the paper, which had remained the "voice of truth" for many years, it said.

Hundreds of mourners attended his funeral in Makhachkala yesterday.

Russian Roulette: Other Targets

Paul Klebnikov

The Russian editor of Forbes magazine had investigated the country's underworld and wrote a book about the tycoon Boris Berezovsky. whom he dubbed the "Godfather of the Kremlin". He was assassinated in July 2004 – shot nine times from a passing car.

Anna Politkovskaya

The 48-year-old journalist for Novaya Gazeta – an outspoken critic of then-President Vladimir Putin – reported extensively on Chechnya. She was gunned down outside a lift at her block of flats in October 2006 in a case that turned the spotlight on the targeted killings of journalists.

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
New Articles
i100... with this review
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Research Manager - Quantitative/Qualitative

£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam