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

    Ugandan Opposition Candidate: Only Intimidation, Vote Buying Can Prevent Victory

    Kizza Besigye says he has been drawing large crowds and claims he has widespred support ahead of Feb. 18 vote

    HRW: Both Sides in Ukraine Conflict Targeted, Used Schools

    Rights group documents how both sides in Ukraine conflict carried out attacks on schools and used them for military purposes

    Sanctions Just Got Real for Over 54,000 North Koreans

    Shuttering of Kaesong complex ends virtually any hope of peaceful settlement to long-standing tensions on Korean peninsula in near future

    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.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.