MOSCOW (Reuters) - A Russian journalist was severely beaten near Moscow on Monday, two days after assailants tried to murder a well-known reporter who worked for the prestigious Kommersant newspaper.
Anatoly Adamchuk, who works for a regional paper, was assaulted by two men outside the newspaper’s office, located southeast of Moscow.
Colleagues say they believe the attack to be linked to his reporting on plans to log a nearby forest to build a controversial highway.
On Saturday the Kommersant’s Oleg Kashin, a 30-year-old political correspondent, was badly beaten in Moscow, leaving him in coma with broken legs, fingers, a damaged skull and fractured jaws.
That attack, classed as attempted murder, prompted President Dmitry Medvedev to instruct the prosecutor general and the interior ministry to “take special control of the investigation.”
Rights groups have previously complained the Kremlin has not done enough to tackle violence against journalists. There have been a string of journalists’ murders that have made Russia one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a reporter.
“Anatoly Adamchuk was beaten up late on Monday night, just ten metres away from our editorial office,” Anastasia Grigoriyeva, a reporter from Zhukovskie Vesti, the weekly where Adamchuk works, told Reuters.
Adamchuk suffered a concussion and other minor injuries after.
Zhukovskie Vesti is a small weekly publication in the town of Zhukovsky with a population of about 100,000 people, 25 km (16 miles) south-east of Moscow.
“He didn’t see their faces, but he heard them cry out the name of our publication several times,” she said.
Adamchuk had recently written about the detention of several youths aged between 11 and 14 last week by local police for protesting against town authorities’ highway construction plans.
There have been 19 unsolved murders of journalists in Russia since 2000, according to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, which ranks Russia as eighth among states where reporters are killed regularly and where the crimes remain unsolved.
Dmitry Medvedev, who took office from Vladimir Putin in 2008, has promised to open up the tightly controlled political system and strengthen the rule of law, but the clampdown on the authoritarian traditions has not gone far beyond rhetoric.
Editing by Matthew Jones