The USA has strongly condemned the “heinous” attack 6 November on Kommersant reporter Oleg Kashin, in which two men savagely beat the reporter with an iron bar. Kashin is in hospital in an induced coma suffering from a fractured skull, with jaw and finger injuries; there reports he has had fingers amputated. US State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told journalists in Washington, that “journalists around the world must feel free to do their jobs without fear of intimidation or physical violence.” No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, although various theories have been put forward, according to Ria-Novosti.
Russian President Dmitri Medvedev said hours after the attack that “whoever is responsible for this crime will be punished, regardless of their position”, and he is asking the state prosecutor’s office to take the case under their “special control”.
Kashin was a political reporter for the well-respected Kommersant newspaper and had had run-ins with youth groups tied to the Kremlin. Two other reporters were attacked in Russia over the weekend in separate incidents, according to the Washington Post. Reporters without Borders, a group that monitors press freedom around the world, puts Russia in 140th place out of 178 countries in its press freedom index.