News / Europe

Attacked Russian Journalist Blames Forest Dispute

Oleg Kashin, a reporter who has extensively covered the dispute over the Khimki forest and was brutally attacked on Nov. 6, in Moscow (file photo - 15 Jul. 2009)
Oleg Kashin, a reporter who has extensively covered the dispute over the Khimki forest and was brutally attacked on Nov. 6, in Moscow (file photo - 15 Jul. 2009)
Albina Kovalyova

The allegation by the Russian journalist Oleg Kashin against his attackers brings up questions surrounding Moscow's environmental region.

Oleg Kashin, the reporter who was beaten severely outside his home earlier this month, told investigators that he believes the attack was motivated by his reporting on the threats to Khimki Forest, in the Moscow region.

President Dmitry Medvedev was quick to respond to Kashin's attack saying "the criminals must be found and punished."

Environmental activists have been trying to stop the planned destruction of the forest to make way for a new highway linking Moscow and St. Petersburg. Kashin said the men who beat him resembled football hooligans.

Last week prominent Russian environmental activists voiced their concern over the growing violence surrounding the Khimki forest.

Evgeniya Chirikova, a leader of the environmental campaign in Khimki has herself been threatened over her activities. She says that past attacks on environmental activists were carried out by people who fitted Kashin's description of his attackers.

She says, this summer there was an unprecedented attack on our ecological camp, and the attackers were such - I would say - bandits.

Another environmental activist, Yaroslav Nikitenko, said the attack on Kashin was linked to a series of assaults against other journalists and activists connected to the Khimki area.

"Oleg Kashin really systematically wrote about the Khimki Forest," Nikitenko said. "That's why we can't omit this possibility. This is very possible because we see what happens to those who defend Khimki forest."

Two years ago Mikhail Beketov, the former editor of the local paper Khimkinskaya Pravada who wrote critical articles about the proposed road, was beaten so severely he is unable to walk or speak.

More recently there was an attack on a local activist Konstantin Fetisov who was badly beaten and still remains hospitalized. He was attacked just two days before Kashin.

This summer the Khimki forest flared up as one of the hottest political issues of 2010. After a series of high profile protests - including an impromptu concert by one of Russia's best loved rock stars in the center of Moscow - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev called a halt to the logging.

Two weeks ago the Kremlin-controlled NTV television channel ran a critical investigative report into the crimes connected to the Khimki forest. The channel's journalist had an aggressive confrontation with the Mayor of Khimki, Vladimir Strelchenko, one of the road's biggest backers.

Some Russia analysts like Alexei Mukhin of the Center for Political Information see such a TV report as a step by Russian federal authorities to get rid of local powers in Khimki.

Mukhin says that the authorities have left themselves no choice about how to change the relevant persons who have already discredited themselves. Although the Federal authorities are trying to wrap this decision in a legal way and with the support of public opinion.

The federal television channel launched a similar wave of television criticism against former Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov and his wife Elena Baturina. Weeks later the mayor was sacked from his position.

Oleg Kashin, who still remains in the hospital, writes for the Kommersant daily newspaper and is an active blogger. He has been critical not only of the destruction of Khimki Forest, but also of the members of pro-government youth groups such as "Nashi Young Guard".

Several protests in support of Kashin have taken place in the last weeks. In a break with the past, the authorities sanctioned the rallies, and President Medvedev has also been outspoken about the need to find those responsible for the violence against journalists.

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs