Investigative reporter attacked and robbed of story notes

December 5, 2006
Posted December 12, 2006

Eduard Kitashov, Chelovek i Zakon


An unidentified assailant knocked Kitashov unconscious in Moscow and robbed him of his notes for a story on an attempted corporate takeover in the southern Russian industrial city of Togliatti. The assailant took Kitashov’s briefcase containing a tape recorder and reporting materials but left a mobile phone, money and other valuables, according to local press reports.

Kitashov had been investigating corruption in Moscow’s transport police and the attempted takeover of Tolyattiazot, the largest chemical factory in Togliatti, for an upcoming issue of Chelovek i Zakon, Kitashov and editor Anton Samolenkov told CPJ. Tolyattiazot was raided in September by a group of armed and masked men, said to be local businessmen, in an attempt to take control of the plant, Kitashov told CPJ. The day before he was beaten, Kitashov participated in a Togliatti press conference on the Tolyattiazot raid, where he presented the research for his upcoming article, Kitashov told CPJ.

The stolen briefcase contained reporter’s notes and documents related to Kitashov’s research of Tolyattiazot and his tape recorder, which Kitashov used to tape interview with the factory’s management, he told CPJ. A boy brought the briefcase and tape recorder to the Chelovek i Zakon building on December 6 but the reporter’s notes and documents were missing, and his recordings were erased, according to Kitashov and local press reports. The boy said he found the briefcase and tape recorder near a Moscow subway station. The Moscow Interior Ministry is currently investigating the attack, Kitashov told CPJ.