Russia12 March 2002
Journalist killed, another escapes assassination attempt
In a letter to Interior Minister Boris Gryzlov, RSF expressed
its outrage following the murder of Natalia Skryl, a journalist from "Nashe
Vremia" newspaper in Rostov-sur-le-Don (south-western Russia), on 8 March
2002, and the assassination attempt on "Novaya Gazeta" journalist Sergei
Solovkin and his wife in Sotchi (south-western Russia) on 11 March.
"Journalists who investigate corruption cases in outlying regions of the
country are increasingly threatened. A journalist was killed and another
barely escaped assassination within the space of a few days," stated Robert
Ménard, the organisation’s secretary-general. "We ask that you take all the
necessary measures to ensure that those responsible for the murder and
assassination attempt are identified and tried," he added
According to information collected by RSF, Skryl, a journalist from the
"Nashe Vremia" newspaper’s business section in Rostov-sur-le-Don, was killed
on the evening of 8 March in the area surrounding her home in Taganrog. The
journalist was found unconscious with a head injury. She was transported to
the local hospital and died a short time later. Vera Yujanskaya, the
newspaper’s editor-in-chief, believes that Skryl’s murder is linked to her
professional activities as a journalist. She had been investigating the
activities of several large companies in the region. An investigation into
Skryl’s assassination has been opened.
In addition, Solovkin, a correspondent with the twice-weekly "Novaya Gazeta"
in Sotchi, and his wife were attacked in an assassination attempt on 11
March in Sotchi. Between 10:00 and 11:00 p.m. (local time), two armed men
fired gunshots at them close to their residence, injuring them slightly.
"Novaya Gazeta" has not been able to confirm if the attack was an attempt to
kill the journalist or simply an intimidation tactic. The newspaper has
attributed the attack to Solovkin’s professional activities. The journalist
recently published investigative reports about corruption in the Krasnodar
"Novaya Gazeta" has appealed a sentence that threatens the newspaper’s very
survival. On 22 February, the Basmanni District Court in Moscow ordered the
newspaper to pay thirty million rubles (approx. US$964,617; 1,098,348 euros)
in damages and interest to a Mr. Chernov, who is chairman of the tribunal in
Krasnodar (south-western Russia). Chernov had filed an action for defamation
against the newspaper after its publication of an article in which he was
accused of corruption.