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As Obama visits Kremlin, two more Russian democracy activists die

As President Barack Obama continues to cozy up to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in the Kremlin today, on the second day of his trip to Moscow, he might want to raise the cases (ignored, of course, by the American liberal media so he probably doesn’t even know about them) of Rim Shaigalimov and Vyacheslav Yaroshenko. Both have died in recent days.
Rim Shaigalimov (below), a leader of the opposition movement “Other Russia,” died after reportedly falling from a prison window. Shaigalimov, one of the leading pro-democracy activists in the central region of Krasnoyarsk, had led or participated in more than 100 protests, including some in which he demonstrated alone. He was taken into custody seven months ago and held by authorities ever since.

His wife, Lyudmila Shaigalimova, told RFE/RL that his death “must have been an order from above.”
Meanwhile, Vyacheslav Yaroshenko, the editor in chief of an independent newspaper in southern Russia, died on June 30 from injuries he sustained in an attack in April.
He was brutally beaten outside his apartment after he ran a series of articles challenging the authorities. He suffered severe head wounds and brain trauma and had been hospitalized ever since.
Yaroshenko’s deputy, Sergei Sleptsov, told the opposition news website that he didn’t have “even the smallest doubt” that officials associated with Medvedev’s and Putin’s United Russia party were behind the attack. This follows several other deadly attacks on Russian journalists.

Tom GrossTom Gross is a former Middle East correspondent for the London Sunday Telegraph and the New York Daily News.


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