Human Rights Issues in Eurasia / Правовые Вопросы В Регионах Евразии

Russia: From Journalist Oleg Kashin: “A Beating on My Beat”

Posted by Info on 14/12/2010

Oleg Kashin is a reporter for the Russian newspaper Kommersant.

I don’t mean to compare myself to Anna Politkovskaya or Paul Klebnikov, journalists who were killed probably because of their investigative work. But in a way the attack against me is more disturbing. Unlike most of the reporters who have been attacked in Russia in recent years, I have not engaged in any serious investigations into corruption or human rights abuses. I have not revealed any secret documents or irritated influential figures with embarrassing material.What I have done, though, is criticize Nashi.

ON the night of Nov. 6, I was attacked by two young men armed with steel rods. The assault occurred a few feet from the entrance to my house, which is just a 10-minute walk from the Kremlin.
A month later, I am still in the hospital. One of my fingers has been amputated, one of my legs and both halves of my jaw have been broken, and I have several cranial wounds. According to my doctors, I won’t be able to go back to my job as a reporter and columnist at Kommersant, an independent newspaper, until spring.

Nobody knows for certain whether there is a direct link between the flourishing of Nashi and the increased violence against critics of the state. But it seems indubitable that the atmosphere of hatred and aggression, artificially fomented by the Kremlin, has become the dominant fact in Russian politics, the “reset” in relations with the United States and talk of economic modernization notwithstanding.

A man with a steel rod is standing behind the smiling politicians who speak of democracy. That man is the real defender of the Kremlin and its order. I got to feel that man with my own head.


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