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

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid