News / Europe

Brutal Attack on Journalist Challenges Russian Liberalization

Russian opposition leader Vladimir Milov with a poster, saying: "Journalist Oleg Kashin has been beaten. I demand to find the persons who attacked him", 06 Nov 2010
Russian opposition leader Vladimir Milov with a poster, saying: "Journalist Oleg Kashin has been beaten. I demand to find the persons who attacked him", 06 Nov 2010
James Brooke

A lead pipe attack on a reporter has led to something new in Russia: public condemnation by the nation's president.  

Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev is taking an attack on a leading Moscow journalist as a direct challenge to his liberalization project for Russia.

In the attack, two men brutally beat Oleg Kashin, breaking his fingers, legs, jaw and fracturing his skull.  They did not steal his wallet or his I-phone.  His editor at Kommersant newspaper charged that Kashin was attacked for his critical coverage of pro-government youth groups and an environmental dispute.

In the past in Russia, official silence greeted murders of critical journalists - 19 in the past decade by one count.

But this near-fatal beating prompted President Medvedev to immediately order the nation's top prosecutor and the interior minister to oversee the investigation.  State television channels, usually mute about attacks on journalists, led their news programs with reports of the beating.

In an interview with Rossiiskaya Gazeta a state-owned newspaper, Russia's president vowed: "These forces must be identified.  Whoever is behind this crime, he will be punished irrespective of his position, social status, or his past merits, if he has any."

The president's position was strengthened by outrage from a video of the beating contained in a 90-second surveillance tape that was posted on the Russian internet.  

Further enraging Russia's largely liberal blogosphere, two more journalists were reportedly beaten by unknown attackers Sunday and Monday.  Hundreds of journalists have signed an online protest petition.

The research director for the Center for Media Studies in Moscow, Alexander Morozov, says attacks on reporters are "a direct challenge to President Medvedev."

He said for President Medvedev's political liberalization project to succeed, the attackers must be found and punished.

On Saturday, Russia's president jolted the nation's ruling party by vetoing a bill approved by Russia's parliament that would have further restricted rights to public protest.  Continuing this new liberal trend, a leader of Russia's upper house of parliament has proposed a bill that would increase penalties for attacks against journalists.

But the press officer for the Russia chapter of Amnesty International, Natalia Sergeeva, says real change will come only when people who attack journalists start going to jail.

"First time that the president was clear about the investigation of the beating of a journalist, but nevertheless it is not the first time that the president claims something, and then we wait for results for years and years," said Sergeeva.

In the Kashin case, the investigation could lead back to government circles.

Three months ago, Molodaya Gvardiya, a pro-Kremlin youth group, posted on its website a column headlined Journalist-Traitors: Who Should be Punished.  The report was illustrated with a photo of Kashin, stamped with the warning: "Will be punished."

On Saturday, minutes after President Medvedev had condemned the attack, the photo was removed the Molodaya Gvardiya site and replaced with a statement calling the attack a 'barbaric crime."

You May Like

WHO: Anti-Ebola Efforts Should Focus on West Africa

Official says WHO is 'reasonably confident' countries bordering those hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak are not seeing the virus crossing their borders More

South Sudan Crisis Threatens Development

Economic costs and lost development opportunities in South Sudan have erased what little progress the country has made since independence in 2011 More

Ukrainian PM Warns: Russia May Try to Disrupt Sunday Poll

Arseniy Yatsenyuk orders full security mobilization for parliamentary election to prevent ‘terrorist acts’ from being carried out 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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid