i was born in 1950, and so I have lived through many wars. As a child of the 1960s, the Vietnam war made a big impression on me. I was too young to understand the Cold War until college, when political science classes opened me to world politics. When Vladimir Putin was first named president of Russia, I joked that the former KGB officer wanted to become the next tsar. How prescient I was. Putin’s small stature, as with many short leaders, has helped him dream of gigantic goals–in his case the reunion of the countries under former Soviet control. i may be underestimating his real motivation. Why not all of Europe? so will there be a world war 3? With Iran as Russia’s protege? So what is Obama’s will? Does Congress regret smashing our military capabilities? As Russia uses lots of boots on the ground and we use drones, the advantage may be with overwhelming soldiers, the grandchildren of Russia’s old army. Do they have the will to die not for their country, but instead for Tsar Putin the First and his corrupt government? I am not ready for another war, but Putin is.
The journalist, Oleg Kashin, 30, is in a medically induced coma in a Moscow hospital with a concussion, a broken jaw, fractures in both legs and broken fingers, the newspaper reported Saturday. At least one finger was severed at the joint.
The newspaper’s editor, Mikhail Mikhailin, said he believed the attack was related to Mr. Kashin’s assignment — covering youth political movements and protest actions, among other political themes.
“The thing that bothers me is that at the moment of the beating, they broke his fingers,” Mr. Mikhailin said in an interview with the Ekho Moskvy radio station. “It is completely obvious that the people who did this did not like what he was saying and what he was writing. I don’t know what specifically they did not like, but I firmly connect this with his professional activities.”
Unlike many Russian journalists who have been targets in recent years, Mr. Kashin works for a newspaper that is popular among Moscow’s elite, and the attack ran as the lead story on government-controlled television channels.
The Kremlin also responded quickly. President Dmitri A. Medvedev ordered Russia’s general prosecutor and interior minister to supervise the investigation, and sent a message on Twitter that said, “The criminals must be found and punished.”
Russian journalists have been the target of repeated attacks in recent years, and in most cases the investigations go nowhere.
No arrest has been made in the murder of Natalya Estemirova, who investigated violence in the north Caucasus for the opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta, or in the beating of Mikhail Beketov, who documented corruption in the Moscow suburb of Khimki for a local newspaper.
Russia’s human rights commissioner, Vladimir P. Lukin, said attacks on journalists “have become systematic” in Russia, largely because they are never punished. “You cannot provide bodyguards to each journalist,” he said, in comments carried on Interfax. “The only way to somehow oppose these attacks is to improve the quality of work of law enforcement.”
Mr. Kashin’s next-door neighbor, Yelena Pogrebizhskaya, a well-known musician, wrote on her blog that two men were seen waiting for the journalist outside his apartment building Friday night with a bouquet of flowers. Writing an hour after he was taken to the hospital, she said, the asphalt outside the apartment was still spattered with blood.
“I think they wanted to kill him,” Mr. Mikhailin said in a phone interview. “They almost certainly followed him for a week, watched him at home, followed him to the editorial office, listened to his phone. Those two people who were waiting for him — that was the final stage of the operation, not its beginning.”
Mr. Kashin’s wife and editor said Saturday that they knew of no threats against him.
But a friend, Mikhail V. Zygar, said that Mr. Kashin, who was an active blogger before he started working for Kommersant, had clashed with “various pro-Kremlin organizations and politicians” in the course of his work, among them Molodaya Gvardiya, a pro-Kremlin youth group associated with United Russia, and Andrei Turchak, the governor of Pskov.
“It is well known that he had been threatened,” said Mr. Zygar, the editor in chief of TVRain, an Internet news site.
Among the topics Mr. Kashin covered was the continuing conflict in Khimki, where protesters have sought to stop the government from building a highway through a forest. In August, after Mr. Kashin published an interview with an activist who had attacked a government building in Khimki, a column headlined “Journalist-Betrayers Should Be Punished” appeared on Molodaya Gvardiya’s Web site.
Representatives of Molodaya Gvardiya were not available for comment on Saturday.
The article calls Kommersant’s reporters “not only enemies of the entire Russian people and all decent and law-abiding people, but — genuine traitors,” and calls on Mr. Kashin to identify his source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The article is illustrated with Mr. Kashin’s photograph stamped with the words “will be punished.”
On Saturday, the organization removed the photo from its site and posted a statement calling the attack a “barbaric crime.”
“Those who attacked the journalist Oleg Kashin should be punished to the full extent of the law,” said the statement, signed by Andrei Tatarinov of the group’s political council. “We are hoping for Oleg to make a fast recovery.”
Andrew Kramer contributed reporting.
another journalist has been attacked in moscow. oleg kashin was beaten within an inch of his life. this happens all too frequently, and the perpetrators are never caught. there are lessons there for journalists who are too critical.
corruption is rampant in russia, and it affects everyone’s daily lives. i’ve been to moscow three times, and in a tour book i read “if you are in trouble, do not go to the police. the police are not your friends.” once in moscow, i asked some people about this, and they agreed. tourists are shaken down for doing nothing at all. russians themselves can be stopped in their cars and told that they had to pay cash for a nonexistent fine.
russia is not a friendly place for americans or russians. especially if they are journalists.
Misha Japaridze/Associated Press
In buying The Independent, Alexander Lebedev has widened his influence.
Lebedev, a billionaire in the new Russia and a KGB agent in the old USSR, is the owner of 2 London newspapers — The Independent recently and The Evening Standard from last year.
He is quoted as valuing democracy and the transparency of government through investigative reporting.
The irony makes my hand shake with its intensity. As this ebbs, you should consider the influences on British — and by extension, all — journalism by this change in ownership of media companies and by potential social system influences, such as culture or ideology. Will the values of the new Russia (increasingly autocratic) seep into the UK? And what might those be?
The purchase of two UK newspapers in two years suggests that Lebedev’s media interests are not finished. As newspapers struggle worldwide, there are many opportunities for previously anti-journalistic members of the world’s über-wealthy to dabble in the creation and flow of information.
Panic in Georgia After a Mock News Broadcast
Shades of Orson Welles! Any similarities between people’s reactions here and to the 1939 Martian invasion radio program? Check out Hadley Cantril’s book about the effects of Welles’ radio show. What variables (i.e., political) might explain why the show was made and broadcast and the show’s effects on people?