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Weeks after attack, Russian media owner comes out of coma



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Vadim Rogozhin, the owner of Russian media group Vzglyad Media, has woken from his coma nearly a month after he was brutally attack by unknown assailants in the southern Russian city of Saratov. He is still said to be in a serious condition. Staff said he was targeted because his media had been critical of the authorities.

Meanwhile, preliminary results of the investigation into the death last week of journalist Sergei Protazanov in the Moscow suburb of Khimki indicate that he was poisoned. Colleagues said that he was killed as part of an ongoing assault against the newspaper where he worked, Grazhdanskoye Soglasiye.

Grazhdanskoye Soglasiye is the only opposition newspaper in Khimki, a city of about 180,000 located just northwest of Moscow. Protazanov was one of several local journalists in the area to be attacked in recent months. Grazhdanskoye Soglasiye’s editor-in-chief was stabbed 10 times outside his home in February 2008.

Last November, Mikhail Beketov, editor-in-chief of Khimkinskaya Pravda, was severely beaten. He remained in a coma for weeks and had to have his leg amputated as a result of the attack.

On February 3, the editor-in-chief of Solnechnegorsky Forum, a newspaper in the nearby city of Solnechnogorsk, was assaulted.

On March 12, the managing editor of Molva Yuzhnoye Podmoskove was beaten in the city of Serpukhov.

Meanwhile, prominent Russian human rights activist Lev Ponomaryov, 67, was attacked last week by three unidentified men outside his Moscow apartment. He spoke to Radio Free Europe about the attack.

It is regrettable that these crimes are not receiving more media attention in the West. Many European newspapers are too obsessed with attacking Israel to notice what is going on in the east of their own continent. Russia’s path towards authoritarianism has potentially grave implications for the continent.



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