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Cases of murders of journalists in Russia

The murder of Russian Forbes Chief Editor Paul Khlebnikov in Moscow at night of July 9 attracted much public attention as he was an American citizen and the Chief Editor of the major magazine.
He became the sixth reporter who found his death in Russia in 2004.

Meanwhile, far more cases of the reporters’ death and abuse remain unnoticed by the public. These reporters were not so lucky to write a bestseller on corrupted oligarchs and become famous. They just did what their conscience said to them: they could not keep silent when seeing injustice of the world.

At night of January 22, 2004 unknown criminals tried to burn down the house of the Chief Editor of Moe Poberezhie newspaper Tatiana Sedykh in village Vanino of Vaninsky District, reported the Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations. Tatiana and her daughter were sleeping in the house, the neighbors saw the fire and woke them up. The ladies got out of the house safely, but the house was burned down. According to Tatiana, she recently started producing her own newspaper “Moe Poberezie” as she had to quit the work of Chief Editor with another paper after the conflict with its owner. All the copies of her own new media outlet burned down in the garage.

In my native city of Ekaterinburg, there was a journalist Eduard Markevitch who was criticizing the policy of the local bosses in Reftinsky village. Eduard was Chief Editor of Novy Reft newspaper. He received threats for his articles, and then was beaten in his office. However, he continued writing his articles. On September 18, 2001 Eduard Markevich was shot to death from the hunting rifle on the street of Asbest town.

He had a wife and 3-year-old son.

In the last 3 years, no reporters were killed in Ekaterinburg. They are “just” beaten from time to time. Chief Editor of “Politsovet” new agency Fedor Krasheninnikov was beaten twice in the last 6 months.

Information of Glasnost Defense Foundation for June 2004: in Russia, 6 reporters and 2 editorial offices were attacked, two TV crew reporters were detained by law-enforcers and one chief editor was fired against the law, courts received new suits against reporters and media outlets – these suits claim pay on the sum of 14,891,600 roubles. Media outlets were  fined for 163,600 roubles, there were 11 cases of denying access to information for reporters, 2 registered threats to reporters, one media outlet was driven out of its office. Two TV programs were cancelled. 

According to Glasnost Defense Foundation, on May 2, 2004 the dead body of Shangysh Mongush, the reporter of the Khemtiktin syldazy newspaper, was found near Kyzyl-Mozhalyk village in Tuva republic. The reporter had been missing since January 19, 2004. There were many wounds made by knife, on his body.  Shangysh Mongush left home on January 19 and never came back. In 2003 he published the article “Black mask must be accountable” on the activity of alcohol-traders. The mother of the killed reporter said that his murder could be the revenge for his article.  

At one point of life, everyone makes a choice. Many people opt for accepting the world as it is, with injustice and people’s suffer, and make his/her own career by ignoring the other people. Money, entertainment and luxury life, and I am a winner in this world. And this person wonders, how the world can accommodate those “weird”, who believe that the world should and can be improved. For some unknown reasons, they reveal some unpleasant facts about those in power, instead of flattering the powerful and benefiting from it, as the majority does. They denounce those corrupted and oppressing others. What do they get for this? Neither money nor power. But they are real heroes of our time.

Andrey Nesterov

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