New York, June 21, 2004—Tagib Abdusalamov, director of the Dagestani bureau of the Russian state radio and television company GTRK, was shot and wounded on Friday, June 18, by unknown assailants, according to local and international reports. Abdusalamov is in critical condition at the hospital in Dagestan’s capital, Makhachkala. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is investigating whether the attack was related to Abdusalamov’s journalistic work.
Abdusalamov was shot at around 3 p.m. when he was leaving a downtown café in Makhachkala. The bullet penetrated the journalist’s diaphragm, only inches from his heart. A sniper may have fired the shot, the Itar-Tass news agency reported. The local prosecutor’s office is exploring possible reasons for the assassination attempt, including Abdusamadov’s professional work, according to the Russian state news agency RIA Novosti.
Abdusalamov, 34, has been the director of GTRK “Dagestan,” Dagestan’s biggest broadcast company, since February 2002.
“We call on Dagestani authorities to investigate the motives behind this attack and to punish the perpetrators accordingly,” said Ann Cooper, executive director of CPJ.
Dagestan, a multiethnic Russian republic, is located on the northern slopes of the Caucasus Mountains, on Chechnya’s eastern border. The republic’s proximity to the conflict in Chechnya has lead to increased occurrences of shootings, disappearances, and other forms of violence in the republic. Since 1999, when Vladimir Putin became president of Russia, the Russian government has had an information embargo on Chechnya that has restricted the ability of Russian and international correspondents to report on the conflict—a move that has affected coverage of the neighboring republics of Dagestan and Ingushetia as well.