Tag Archives: Russia

Foreign Policy: One year on, Oleg Kashin is still waiting for justice

One year on from the brutal beating that left Oleg Kashin with a broken hand, leg, skull, and jawbones, Foreign Policy magazine’s Julia Ioffe talks to the Moscow-based journalist about the failure of the authorities to bring anyone to justice.

Given the volume of the outcry and the apparent sincerity and generosity of the official response, there was, one year ago, some faint reason to hope that this case might be solved. Kashin, after all, was a mainstream, well-connected figure. He was no Anna Politkovskaya, killed on Putin’s birthday in 2006, whose work was so obviously dangerous (Kashin compared her to a suicide bomber). Nor was he like the other journalists and human rights activists whose work in the Caucasus has brought Caucasus-style revenge on their heads.

He was no Paul Klebnikov, gunned down in 2004, or Mikhail Beketov, assaulted and maimed in November 2008, who went against powerful financial interests. Kashin wrote about youth movements. Yet despite the seeming harmlessness of his beat, despite his luck that night, despite the big names and big money that immediately kicked into action, despite the wide shock and wide media coverage — even state news lead with his beating the next day — despite all these advantages that Politkovskaya and Beketov and Klebnikov and Chervochkin and dozens like them didn’t have, in the year since the first photographers arrived to take pictures of the blood-spattered ground in Kashin’s courtyard, Kashin’s case has gone cold, exactly like theirs.

Read the full article here.

Yesterday was the first Day to End Impunity, to mark the second anniversary of the “Maguindanao Massacre” in the Philippines.

Related articles on Journalism.co.uk

More on Oleg Kashin

Second journalist beaten in Moscow

Coverage of Anna Polikovskaya murder

‘The problem with journalism in Russia is not censorship, that would be easy to deal with’


Guardian: How Luke Harding became the reporter Russia hated

The Guardian’s former Moscow correspondent Luke Harding has a lively piece up on his time as the city’s harassed-western-journalist-in-chief.

Ahead of the publication of a book by Harding on his quarrels with Russia’s security forces, he describes being intimidated and having his flat regularly broken into, and his deportation and Russia’s u-turn in letting him back in.

There could be no doubt: someone had broken into my flat. Three months after arriving in Russia as the Guardian’s new Moscow bureau chief, I returned home late from a dinner party. Everything appeared normal. Children’s clothes lying in the corridor, books piled horizontally in the living room, the comforting debris of family life. And then I saw it. The window of my son’s bedroom was wide open…

Read the full article on Guardian.co.uk at this link.

New York Times: No Justice for Anna Politkovskaya

Image by openDemocracy on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Yesterday’s New York Times editorial was devoted to the case of murdered Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya.

Politkovskaya, who became known for her fearless investigative reporting of social issues in Russia and human rights abuses in Chechnya, was killed in her apartment building in 2006.

Five years on, no one has been convicted of her murder.

From the New York Times editorial:

At the time of her murder, Vladimir Putin, who is now the prime minister but was the president then, dismissed her journalism as “insignificant” and said that nobody “currently in office” could possibly have organized a crime that, he said, was committed “to create a wave of anti-Russian feeling.” To many Russians, that sounded like orders from the top that police or judges or prosecutors should take care not to accuse anyone in power.

Read the full article

Read Journalism.co.uk’s coverage of the case


Index on Censorship: Russian journalist defeats libel claim

A Russian journalist, who was placed into an induced coma after being beaten in Moscow last year, has defeated a libel claim against him after speculating on the identity of his attackers, according to Index on Censorship.

Kommersant’s political correspondent Oleg Kashin spent five days in a coma after he was attacked outside his apartment in November.

According to Index, a Moscow court ruled in favour of Kashin as it could not be proven that accusations were made as factual statements.

The attack itself sparked an open letter from 26 media outlets and journalists calling on the president to ensure greater protections for journalists, while the Committee to Protect Journalists‘ executive director also gave a statement condemning the attack and calling for action.

Related content:

Living in limbo: Almost 70 journalists exiled in past year says CPJ

Iraq tops impunity index for fourth time over unsolved journalist killings

Austrian journalist fights to uncover political advertising spend


Defamation conviction against Russian journalist overturned

News broke at the end of last week that a slander verdict delivered last month against Russian journalist Mikhail Beketov has been overturned.

Beketov, who was left handicapped in 2008 by a beating thought to be provoked by his reporting, was convicted of defamation and fined in November.

But on Friday it was widely reported that a Russian court had overturned the verdict. Press freedom organisation Reporters Without Borders said it welcomes the decision.

Nieman Reports: A journalist’s near-death experience in Chechnya

French journalist and author Anne Nivat has reported extensively on Chechnya, its war with Russia and post-war situation. She has also published a book, Chienne de Guerre: A Woman Reporter Behind the Lines of the War in Chechnya, about nine months she spent there during the war.

She tells Nieman Reports editor Melissa Ludtke about a particularly frightening experience when the car in which she was riding was stopped at a checkpoint outside of Grozny and driven away by an armed man.

So you can imagine my situation. Now I was without any possibility to contact the outside world. The guy kept driving in a totally mad way and I was saying to myself, “If this guy is not giving back my phone to me, that means that he has something in mind, something not good, because how come he doesn’t give me my phone back? How come he doesn’t want to explain who he is?”

It was really a terrible situation.

Full story at this link.

Independent.co.uk: Russian journalist crippled by attack now fined for defamation

Russian journalist Mikhail Beketov, who was left handicapped in 2008 after a beating by unidentified assailants thought to be provoked by his reporting, has been convicted of defamation.

According to the Independent’s report, Beketov, who lost a leg in the attack and was left unable to speak, was issued with a fine of 5,000 roubles (£100) for defaming an official that he criticised in his coverage of the destruction of the Khimki forest near Moscow as editor of the Khimkinskaya Pravda newspaper.

Full story on Independent.co.uk at this link…

Related reading: ‘The problem with journalism in Russia is not censorship, that would be easy to deal with’ by Alexey Kovalev

CPJ and Russian media outlets challenge ‘climate of impunity’ after latest attack

Russian media outlets and the Committee to Protect Journalists have called on President Medvedev to deal with unsolved crimes against the media, following an attack on reporter Oleg Kashin this weekend which led to him being placed into an induced coma.

According to a report by AFP, 26 reporters and media outlets, as well as hundreds of others, have signed an open letter demanding protection for journalists’ rights.

“By demanding the protection of reports, what we are talking about is not only our own trade,” the letter said. “One must also protect the rights of our readers. The rights of reporters to fulfill their obligation in a normal fashion and not worry about their lives — this is the right of society to speak and be heard.”

The Committee to Protect Journalists has also called on the government to act. In a statement, CPJ executive director Joel Simon said:

We are outraged by the attack on Kommersant reporter Oleg Kashin. While it is important that President Medvedev has called for the perpetrators to be ‘found and punished,’ we also believe that the government itself has considerable responsibility. By failing to prosecute those who have carried out crimes against journalists in the past – including 19 murders committed in the Putin era – the Russian government has created a climate of impunity. Government statements and expressions of sympathy are simply not sufficient. Arrests, prosecutions and convictions are what are urgently needed.

Russian journalist must travel to court by ambulance to face defamation trial

Chilling reports from Russia this week about the defamation trial of Mikhail Beketov, a former chief editor of Khimkinskaya Pravda. Beketov is being sued by the mayor of Khimki. In 2008 he was beaten so badly by unidentified assailants following publication of reports challenging Khimki authorities that he must travel to court by ambulance, reports Radio Free Europe.

More details of Beketov’s case are reported by The Moscow News.

RSF: RSF reps refused entry to Moscow on eve of Politkovskaya anniversary

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reports that two of its representatives were denied entry to Moscow on the eve of the third anniversary of Novaya Gazeta reporter Anna Politkovskaya’s death.

The press freedom group was planning a news conference and film screening in the city – and will push ahead with these plans.

“We are shocked by this decision, especially as we have always acted openly with the Russian authorities. They decided to prevent us from expressing our solidarity with Russian journalists and human rights activists. Moscow does not want us to address the Russians directly. But we will not give up,” said RSF secretary-general Jean-Francois Julliard, one of the pair denied entry.

Full story at this link…

The Guardian reports on other meetings being held to mark the anniversary of the murder of Politkovskaya.